Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Unagi Sushi Rice Bowl

from the archives
Unagi Sushi Rice Bowl
I bought some adorable bento boxes over Christmas break.

When Steven and I go out to sushi, we always have to get something with unagi. Steven usually goes for the unagi rice bowl, unagi fillet over a bed of steamy rice served in a handsome, black lacquered box – simple, refined, and elegant. Whereas I love the truly ostentatious, completely over-the-top rolls with unagi, avocado, deep fried soft shell crab, you name it, preferably with some sort of vegetable antenna sticking out.

As a compromise, with these sushi bowls aka lazy sushi, Steven gets his unagi on rice and I get to add a bunch of extras to jazz things up. It has to have avocado because I heart avocado and the textural contrast between the creamy avocado, soft unagi, and crunchy cucumber, and crisp nori is amazing. It’s perfect for when we get a sushi craving but I’m too lazy to stand there rolling sushi, especially when my rolling skills leave much to be desired.

Unagi Sushi Rice Bowl
Wow look at this ooolllddddd picture from June 07. Hopefully my photography has improved since then.

If you live close to an Asian grocery store, like 99 Ranch, you can find unagi precooked and vacuumed sealed in the frozen section. You can microwave, bake, or boil the unagi directly in the bag to heat it up. A 7 oz. fillet will usually make around 3 servings. If you don't have eel, you can use crab or shrimp.

Unagi Sushi Rice Bowl
7 oz. unagi fillet cooked according to package instructions
1 large egg, beaten
Cucumber slices
Avocado slices
Nori, cut into thin slivers (I used kitchen shears)
2 tsp toasted white sesame seeds
Kabayaki Sauce (recipe follows)
Sushi Rice (recipe follows)

Usually unagi is fully cooked so you just need to warm it up in the oven. Prepare it to package instructions, mine said to bake it in a 400ºF oven for about 10 minutes.

Beat the egg with a pinch of salt. Heat about a teaspoon of oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Pour in the beaten egg and swirl the pan to cover the pan evenly with a thin sheet of egg. When the egg looks almost set, shake the thin egg sheet onto a large plate then flip the egg into the skillet again to cook the second side. The entire process will take about 2 minutes because the egg will cook really quickly. Julienne the egg into thin strips.

Add a portion of sushi rice in a bowl then top with egg strips, cucumber slices, avocado slices, nori slivers, and unagi. Drizzle with kabayaki sauce to taste and sprinkle with sesame seeds.

Unagi Kabayaki Sauce
1/4 C soy sauce
1/4 C mirin
1 Tbsp white sugar

Add the mixture to a small saucepan and simmer gently until slightly thickened, be careful to not burn the soy sauce.

Sushi Rice
2 C short grain or sushi rice
2 C water
1/4 C rice vinegar
2 Tbsp sugar
1/2 tsp salt

I usually cook rice in the rice cooker so I honestly have no idea how to cook it on the stovetop.

Dissolve the vinegar, sugar, and salt either in a saucepan over low heat or microwave for 30 seconds until the solution is warm and whisk to dissolve.

When the rice is finished cooking, pour the vinegar mixture over the rice and use a rice paddle or spatula to gently fold the rice. Don’t smash the rice. Let the rice cool until it is body temperature.


Anonymous said...

mmm...delicious. I'm hungry already and I just had breakfast.

Lydia (The Perfect Pantry) said...

This sounds like it could be a great use for leftover sushi rice -- a cold rice bowl on a hot summer day? Your dish looks delicious!

Kalyn Denny said...

I also love unagi, and this looks wonderful.

Mandy said...

unagi!!!!! yours look so good. I don't remember seeing unagi at my local Asian grocery stores though. Maybe I should look more carefully when I go there next time.

Anh said...

This is sooo good! I am lazy at rolling, too. So this is my type of dish for a relaxing day!

SteamyKitchen said...

jdI love love love unagi-don! Its ONE serving for me! eeeek!

Anonymous said...

ehehe, I do that too, lazy sushi :) I do mine with luncheon meat/spam, fried sushi rice, with nori and sprinkles with furatake. I've to watch out for the BBQ eel at the market next time, thx, Amy :)

Anonymous said...

I'm for unagi don too and like you, won't be bothered doing sushi out of it. Eat like this - a big piece of unagi with rice seems more satisfying. :)

Amy said...

Cooking Ninja,
I always get hungry when I read food blogs too. ;)

Thanks! It definitely is a good way to use up leftover sushi rice. The bowls are probably best slightly cold or at room temp because otherwise the sushi rice is a bit hard.

Thank you!

Thanks! I found the unagi in the frozen section.


Lol, I could eat this all day too.

Your sushi bowl sounds delish too!

I totally agree! I make the rolls out of roasted eel I buy in cans, which isn't technically unagi. The good unagi I eat with rice. Yum!

fween said...

yummmm! i love unagi too especially donburi! the source is really tasty. so my blog will introduce many japanese so id you don't mind please link to me. thanks!

pigpigscorner said...

Looks really delicious! I love unagi on rice!

amycaseycooks said...

I am making a trip to my Asian market to look for unagi. It is a favorite when we go for sushi. I can't wait to make this recipe.

Anonymous said...

This looks freakin' awesome. Unagi is some good stuff. When you're torn between sushi and a bento box, just get both! :)

shanna said...

I really love that top picture---your bento box is GORGEOUS and so is the placemat or tablecloth beneath it!

diva said...

love the bento boxes. i think they're the perfect shape and colour. hope i can find some myself :) i adore unagi. quick and so tasty.

Anonymous said...

Hi! I just found your site and wanted to let you know that it is one of the most beautiful and interesting recipes sites I've come across. I'll definitely keep returning for those recipes and pictures. Thank you so much for them all!!

Sharon said...

I never liked taking those mini bites of maki anyway! Love this idea. I'm thinking I'll make this for Valentine's day.

The Sports Chef said...

I had a Unagi roll last night for dinner and now I want this.

Anonymous said...

oh my goodness, these pictures are amazing! i love the vivid blue! and the unagi, of course!

Maria said...

Oh, what a tasty rice bowl!! I wish I had this for lunch!

Unknown said...

my girlfriend and i bought some unagi and had to eat around alot of tiny fish bones. from all of the posts i read, no one mentioned have to deal with fish bones. did we not really get unagi? are there different types of eel out there: boneless and with bone?

Amy said...

Hi Anthony,
The unagi we get has tiny bones too, we just eat them because they're soft enough.

Unknown said...

I made this yesterday and it was amazing. Thanks for posting the recipe!


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