Unagi is not as ‘Friends’ would have us believe a state of total awareness, but the Japanese for freshwater eel. A real delicacy in Japan, it features in many of our most popular dishes here at Yuhoki, from sushi to delicious Una Don. In this blog, we want to talk a little about this (slightly misunderstood) ingredient and introduce you to some of our delicious eel dishes.
Eel may at first glance seem to be an alien dish in Britain, but it’s been eaten here from as far back as the 18th century (when they used to just fish them out of the Thames!) in the form of jellied eels. Still popular in the east end of London, these are chopped eels boiled in aspic and then allowed to set. So, know we’ve established eel is very much part of London’s culinary landscape we can proceed without fear into the delicious world of Unagi!
Unagi is valued in Japan for its strength giving properties and is commonly eaten during hot summers and particularly on the midsummer day of the Ox. Possibly because Unagi is high in protein so is a great energy booster. Japanese Restaurants will serve unagi crispy on the outside and soft and flaky in the middle, it has a rich flavour and is often coated in a sweet sticky soy sauce making it a real treat.
Unagi can be a great gateway sushi for those a little uncertain about raw fish as it is always cooked. With eel nigiri, for example, the eel is first grilled in the sweet soy based sauce before being added to the rice. Unagi is also a delicious filling for many of our sushi rolls, with the sweet flavourful meat matching perfectly with so many different ingredients. One of our most popular unagi sushi rolls is the salmon fusion roll. The sweet crispy eel is mixed with soft cream cheese and creamy avocado, wrapped in rice and topped with grilled salmon the unagi sauce and tobiko. With the perfect combination of flavours and textures, it’s no wonder this dish is quite so popular.
In our opinion, the very best way to try unagi for the first time is with una don! A crispy eel fillet grilled to perfection (ever so crispy on the outside and soft and flaky in the middle) sat on top of sticky rice and drizzled in the sweet yet savoury unagi sauce and topped with crunchy seaweed. There is just something about how the deliciously sticky sauce seeps down toward the rice that just makes this dish unforgettable.
In Canary Wharf for lunch? Why not give our eel teriyaki bento box a whirl, the sticky sweet teriyaki sauce is a perfect accompaniment to the crispy eel fillet and eaten with rice, dumplings, salad and miso soup it will definitely set you up for the afternoon!
So, don’t be shy book a table for tonight or even order some takeaway for an office lunch that is sure to make all your colleagues jealous!