Tuesday, November 10, 2009

What’s In My Frig?

One of my favorite things to get when eating sushi is unagi or eel. But what it boils down to is that I really love the barbeque sauce that’s slathered on the eel, sometimes caramelized with a blow torch. Good stuff.

I try to recreate the experience at home (because you know sushi can really add up) by buying a bottle of unagi sauce from a Japanese grocery store. I got this bottle awhile back when I was shopping at a Nijiya Market, one of the largest chain of Japanese grocery stores in the Bay Area.

I can’t say this particular brand of unagi sauce from Shirakiku is the best I’ve ever had. It was on sale, so I can't complain. I think it’s a bit lighter than other unagi sauce I’ve had, but it does the trick.

Unagi sauce is really just teriyaki sauce, which is the combination of soy sauce, sugar and mirin (sweet rice wine). But it’s slightly different with the addition of eel extract, giving it a bit of the seafood flavor.

I actually don’t use it on unagi at home because I’ve never really cooked and prepared eel. So instead, I’ll use it on any other fish like salmon or tilapia. In this case, I used some fresh sand dabs. Have you ever had them? They’re like tiny fish that reminds me of eel in texture, so it worked out well with the unagi sauce.

All I do is broil the sand dabs for 5 minutes and then coat them with a generous amount of the unagi sauce and finish broiling for another 3 to 5 minutes (they’re so small they don’t need to cook that long). The reason why I coat the fish with the unagi sauce mid-way in the cooking process is because the sugar in the unagi sauce burns fast, so if you coat your fish with the unagi sauce too soon, you’ll have a blackened fish before the meat is ready to eat.

Serve your unagi-lathered fish over some steamed rice with sprinkling of furikake (rice seasoning) and you’ve got yourself a quick and easy dinner for the night! Enjoy!


Jenster said...

What a great idea for fish! I had no idea you could buy unagi sauce in the stores ... I'll have to look for it in my local Asian supermarkets. Just hope I don't end up drinking it straight out of the bottle.

Nate @ House of Annie said...

You can buy frozen unagi at the Asian grocery store. You can just microwave reheat the whole eel right in the bag. So easy.

Sanddabs are great. We used to get them every so often from our fish monger. We have a recipe for fried sanddabs with oyster sauce


Hungry Dog said...

I had no idea you could buy "unagi sauce." Wow. I must look for this. I'm with you--I love unagi in sushi restaurants but probably mostly for the sauce. Your dish looks like a great, speedy, satisfying weeknight dinner!

Sophia said...

oh dear, I do love a good unagi...and you're right, it's all about the sauce! I would eat my own liver if it's smothered with that good sauce!

Indu said...

hey, this is a great way to have unagi.

Carolyn Jung said...

I, of course, was heartbroken to hear that unagi is listed as unsustainable in the new Monterey Bay Aquarium "Sushi Guide.'' It's one of my fave things to eat. But I'm glad you've turned me on to this sauce, which I can use on other seafood that hasn't been overfished. This way, I can have my unagi and eat it, too. Well, sort of. ;)

3 hungry tummies said...