Grilled Eel – Unagi Kabayaki – Recipe

Grilled eel , does it taste good? Unagi Kabayaki Recipe is the ingenious answer to this question. Often anglers catch eels and later don’t really know what to do with the slippery fellows. I felt the same way. Smoked eel is certainly delicious, but not everyone has the opportunity to smoke in the garden. The question quickly arises what to do with the eels.

I’ve personally found my favorite recipe for caught and frozen eel, so I want to share it with you here.

A little tip:

If you don’t feel like going to the fishing shop all the time to fish for eel, you can find them cheaply on Amazon and the worms come home fresh:

Kanadische Tauwürmer 24 Stück Würmer Lebend Lebendköder Tauwurm Tau Wurm

Is eel poisonous? Is eel blood poisonous? Freeze Eel?

The question is often asked whether eel blood is poisonous. The correct answer here is yes and no. Eel blood or the blood serum of the eel contains proteins which cause muscle spasms in mammals. But if you should be careful not to go to the eel blood with open wounds and not to let eel blood splash into your eyes, nothing can actually happen.

Furthermore, it is often asked whether eels are edible in the Rhine . Due to its high fat concentration, the eel absorbs many pollutants that are in the water and stores them for a long time. Other fish species do not store toxins as reliably due to the lean white meat. The last measurements were taken in 2017 and a ban on consumption was then issued. For my part, I eat maybe 2-3 eels a year and consider it acceptable.

Another question that is often asked is whether eel can be frozen. Here I can answer a resounding yes from my own experience. I take out my freshly caught eels and vacuum them. Then you can put it in the freezer at -18 degrees Celsius. They stay there for several months. After about 3-6 months, however, you should be careful: Eels get rancid over time due to their high fat content (similar to rancid butter).


Eel Filleting InstructionsEel Hitsumabushi

First you should fillet the eel, so that this can be done easily. I looked over the shoulder of a professional eel seller in Spain to see his tricks, here is the result

You could peel off the skin of the eel by severing the head just behind the pectoral fins. Now make cuts just below the skin on both sides and above the spine. The next thing you need is a pair of pliers and a lot of strength. Grab the eel by the spine and pull the skin off the incised areas backwards like a sock. The fresher the eel, the easier it is.


Part 1 – Unagi Kabayakigrilled eel preparation

Ingredients for two people, part 1:

  • 2 eels at least 60cm
  • 300ml mirin (rice wine)
  • 2 pieces of star anise
  • 300ml soy sauce
  • honey

Now comes the nicest part of the grilled eel, the grilling. Take your time and a nice ice-cold beer (if you like, as is the case in Asia, occasionally with ice). Celebrate the barbecue, you deserve it and the eel too.

  1. First, boil 350ml mini rice wine, 350ml soy sauce and 2 star anise and 2 tablespoons honey together in a saucepan
  2. put the eels in this marinade, put them in the fridge overnight and let them steep if you don’t have time A few hours (or less) are enough.
  3. Preheat the grill, ideally in original Japanese style with charcoal
  4. Skewer eel fillets, this prevents the eel fillet from curling up when grilling
  5. Grill the eel for 10-15 minutes (meat side first), toss briefly between, preferably a little less heat, but not burnt
  6. put again in the marinade and let it steep for 1 hour

Now go to part two of the recipe (see below), when you’re done with it, continue. Grilling in 2 steps ensures that the eel loses most of its fat.

  1. Grill the eel a second time
  2. While you are grilling, repeatedly brush the delicious Unagi sauce over the eel with a brush, the result is a thick, golden yellow marinade

Either serve the eel as mentioned in part 2 or make Sushi Unagi Nigiri.

You can find a barbecue party for grilling on Amazon:

G.a HOMEFAVOR Grillkorb Fischbräter Gemüsekorb BBQ Grillrost Grill mit Abnehmbarem Holzgriff, aus 304 Edelstahl für Fisch, Gemüse, Garnelen, mit Backbürste, 3 Metallspießen und Aufbewahrungstasche*


Part 2 – Unagi HitsumabushiOriginal Japanese recipe for grilled eel

Once you’ve grilled your eel, it’s time for part 2 of the recipe: Unagi Hitsumabushi is a specialty from Nagoya and consists of rice, grilled eel in Unagi sauce with various delicious ingredients. Traditionally it consists of three parts to fully capture and celebrate the eel taste. The first part consists of eel with rice, the second from eel with rice and selected ingredients and the third from eel, rice, the following ingredients and the famous Dashi broth . Sometimes you are the last to serve the guest the round that he liked best.

Ingredients for 2 people

  • the eel grilled as above, Unagi Kabayaki ( roasted eel fillet )
  • Unagi sauce (as described above)
  • Rice (Japanese)
  • Wasabi

For the dashi broth you need the following (everything available in the well-stocked Asian supermarket)

  • 400ml hot water
  • 6 square centimeters combination seaweed algae
  • 1 packet of bonito flakes (Katsuobushi)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • Light soy sauce (described in Asiashop as “light soy sauce”
  • Spring onions
  • Nori seaweed leaves
  • Sansho pepper or normal pepper

Preparation of dashi broth

  1. take the combination algae, it contains a lot of salts, it gives the dashi broth its taste, cut it up and put it in a teapot with a sieve
  2. also give a packet of bonito flakes (approx ) into the sieve
  3. Let the whole thing stand for 5 minutes and then take out the sieve, the dashi broth is ready
  4. Put the broth in a saucepan and add some sake, light soy sauce and a little salt, heat once to a boil and you’re done

Now the eel from part 1 should be grilled for the first time, let’s get to rice cooking

The best way to cook rice

Please, right now, forget everything you have ever learned about making rice. Really please, forget everything. So far you’ve always got it wrong. No really, switch off your brain and read, imitate, be happy.

One of my best friends, a two-meter Chinese, once showed me how to prepare rice correctly, it’s so easy and uncomplicated and always works. Meanwhile I get the moth every time I see my German friends rape rice, it is so easy. Just have faith in these instructions and they will change your rice life, I promise!

  1. Pour the rice into the pot
  2. cold water, the water must be 1.5 to 2 cm above the rice
  3. add a little salt
  4. the pot on the stove, set to almost the maximum setting, without the lid
  5. Wait until it boils and bubbles, stir occasionally (takes 1-2 minutes)
  6. Put the lid on
  7. Turn the stove down to the lowest level
  8. DO NOT OPEN THE POT !!!!
  9. after 20-25 minutes the rice is perfect, please only then open the pot
  10. Spread the word

This means that every rice turns out perfectly, really every one. Don’t even look at the packaging for cooking times or anything, it doesn’t matter, just like the above and be happy.

Hitsumabushi – grilled eel – unagi in 3 ways

Now all the ingredients for the Hitsumabushi should be ready, serve the dish as follows:

Gear 1:

Rice in a bowl, over it 5 tablespoons Unagi sauce, drape the cut eel on the rice, enjoy the real taste of the eel with a little Sancho pepper

Bowl 2:

Rice in a bowl, topped with 5 tablespoons of unagi sauce, draped over eel, topped with spring onions, finely chopped nori leaves and wasabi

Bowl 3:

Rice in a bowl, over it 5 tablespoons unagi sauce, grilled eel draped over it, over it spring onions, finely chopped nori leaves and wasabi

After preparation, pour dashi broth over the bowl

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