How to make Hitsumabushi (Nagoya style grilled eel on rice)
- 3 tbsp turbinado sugar (light brown with coarse texture)
- 1 tsp dark brown sugar (muscovado)
- 5 tbsp sake
- 5 tbsp mirin
- 5 tbsp soy sauce
- 2 filleted eels (approx 300g)
- 2 tbsp sake
- 300g cooked rice
- A sprinkle of sansho pepper (optional)
Extra condiments / toppings for hitsumabushi
- 1/2 tbsp unagi sauce (to mix with rice)
- 300ml hot dashi (for ochazuke)
- green tea bag (2g) (for ochazuke)
- 2 tsp soy sauce (for ochazuke)
- chopped spring onion
- kizami nori
- white sesame seeds
- Add turbinado sugar and dark brown sugar to a sauce pan. Place the pan on the stove and turn on the heat to medium-high.
- Once the sugar starts to melt, add sake and mirin. Bring to boil and allow to bubble for 1-2 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Add soy sauce and lower the heat to a simmer.
- Simmer until thickened slightly (about 10 minutes). Stir occasionally to prevent the sugar from burning. Remove the scum/foam that forms on top.
- Remove from the heat and allow to cool while preparing the eel.
- Wash the filleted eel with cold running water.
- Cover a chopping board with a sheet of plastic wrap and place the eel on top. Cut each eel into 2-3 pieces by pressing a sharp knife into the area you want to cut, and pushing the eel back and forth over the plastic wrap.
- Place the eel in a frying pan with the skin side down and add sake.
- Turn on the heat to medium and steam for 5 minutes with the lid on.
- Remove it from the heat and line the grill with aluminium foil. Preheat the grill on medium-high for 5 minutes.
- Place the eel on the foil with the skin side down and grill for 6 minutes.
- Turn the eel over and grill the skin side for 5 minutes.
- Apply the sauce generously but evenly over the skin and grill for 30 seconds.
- Turn the eel over and apply the sauce on the meat side and grill for 30 seconds.
- Repeat steps 8 and 9 twice more (3 times on each side in total).
- Cut the grilled eel into strips.
- Mix some of the left over unagi sauce with the rice. (Approx 1/2 tbsp per 2 portions of rice.)
- Divide the rice into wooden bowls and top with the grilled eel. Brush liberally with more unagi sauce.
How to enjoy hitsumabushi (3 ways)
- Brew a green tea bag in hot dashi (approx 80C/175F) and add soy sauce. Brew for 2-4 minutes then remove the teabag. Serve in a teapot or jug placed on the table.
- Divide the eel and rice into quarters using a rice paddle.
- Take out the first quarter and place it in an individual rice bowl. Eat as it is. (Optional - Sprinkle with sansho pepper to taste.)
- Place the second quarter into the same bowl and add toppings such as chopped spring onion, kizami nori or wasabi.
- For the third quarter, add it to the bowl and then pour the dashi tea over the top. (This is also good with wasabi and additional toppings.)
- Enjoy the final quarter using your favourite from the 3 above.
- Prep Time: 30 minutes
- Cook Time: 30 minutes
- Category: Seafood
- Method: Grilling
- Cuisine: Japanese
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