Unagi sushi (Japanese eel) rolls are delicious, rich, and sweet and are an excellent choice for a dinner or lunch that your family and friends will enjoy. A great recipe for making sushi at home.
Today, I’m sharing a delicious and well-received Japanese takeout recipe. Unagi (Japanese Eel) rolls are my favorite sushi roll. Unagi is a sweet, bold, and rich-tasting fish. Unagi, a Japanese term for freshwater eel, is what you’d call it. This delicious unagi sauce, we’ve already made a recipe and you can check it here, is what you’ll find on the unagi.
You can find frozen unagi vacuum-packed at your local Asian grocery. I should’ve shared this recipe with you a long time ago, but it’s never too late. So, without further ado, let’s make these amazing Unagi sushi rolls. Also, be sure to check the whole article for some helpful tips.
Unagi Sushi Rolls Recipe
For the Rice
- 1 Cup of sushi rice (short-grain)
- 2 TBSP of sushi vinegar
- 1 Cup of water
- 4 oz of Unagi
- 2 nori seaweed sheets
- ½ of cucumber (cut into ½-inch strips)
- sesame seeds (to your liking)
- 2 onions
- Unagi sauce (see recipe here)
For the sushi rice:
- First, rinse the rice nicely, then add it to the rice cooker. Add water.
- Once the rice has been cooked, move it to a large bowl. Let it cool slightly. Combine and mix the sushi vinegar or the mixture of rice vinegar, sugar, and salt while it is still warm.
- Bake the unagi in the oven at 360F for around 10 minutes or as directed on the packaging. Cut it into strips of 1/2-inch.
Unagi Sushi Roll
- Place a piece of plastic wrap over the bamboo mat to make cleanup easier and keep rice from sticking to it.
- Use scissors to cut the nori sheets in half.
- Take half of the nori sheet and put on the bamboo shining side down.
- Spread rice evenly (approximately 3/4 cup) on top of nori. Sprinkle sesame seeds. To prevent sticking, dip your hands in Tezu water*.
- Flip the sheet over and add unagi and cucumber slices, onions, or any other fillings like avocado to the middle.
- The thumbs should be placed underneath the bamboo mat. Lift the edge upwards and roll over the filling. The bamboo mat should be rolled away from you. Press the rice and filling together. Continue rolling until you reach the end.
- Each roll should be cut into eight pieces.
- For an extra flavorful touch, drizzle unagi sauce over the top of your roll. Enjoy immediately.
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What is Unagi?
Unagi, a freshwater eel, is a Japanese favorite fish and is also a popular Japanese dish. It’s often served in sushi restaurants as nigiri, or as rolls.
Kabayaki and unadon are popular Japanese dishes. However, they’re more difficult to find outside Japan.
Broiled eels can be served with just a small amount of salt. However, it is best served with Eel sauce.
What does Unagi taste like?
Unagi is loved for its rich, sweet, and fatty taste. It has a soft, slightly oily texture.
What’s Unagi Sushi?
Unagi Sushi (or Maki sushi) is a type that uses seasoned rice and nori seaweed to roll ingredients. Unagi, or freshwater eel is the key ingredient. It is well-known for its bold, rich, naturally sweet taste and soft texture. It is a common ingredient in many Japanese cuisines.
This recipe was made into an inside-out roll, with the rice on the outside and nori on the inside. The filling is wrapped in foil.
Unagi sauce, also known as eel sauce and kabayaki is a sweet and salty sauce used to glaze grilled fish or chicken in Japanese cuisine. They can be purchased at your local Japanese grocery store or ordered online.
Ingredients for Unagi Sushi
- Unagi: Traditional sushi uses grilled BBQ unagi (eel), which is a fish that has been cooked in teriyaki or unagi sauce. You can find it in frozen sections at Japanese grocery stores or online at Amazon.
- Sushi rice: For the best results, use Japanese short-grain rice.
- Cucumber : Besides cucumber, you also have the option to add avocado slices. For extra flavor, I added the onions.
- Sushi Vinegar To season the rice and add more flavor. You can substitute with rice vinegar, sugar and salt.
- Nori Seaweed sheet: Search for seaweed sheets in a dark color with a slight green hue.
- Unagi Sauce : Although it is optional, it will elevate your unagi roll to a whole new level. You can buy it in a Japanese grocery shop or order it online.
- Sesame: You have the option of using white, black or a combination. Toasting the seeds in a pan for five minutes will give them a lovely nutty taste and aroma.
How do you select Nori sheets?
Nori sheets are best if they have a dark color with a slight green tint. They should be the same thickness and have no holes. When folded in half, the fresh ones will be crisp and breakable.
Pairing recommendations for Unagi Beverage
The umami and sweetness of eels is a big plus. This is a great match for rich, earthy sake. Unagi is a great pairing with honjozo and yamahai-style junmai. These sake are full of umami, with a refreshing, sour finish.
Rich is the key word for sake pairings. Eel can also enjoy fruity sake. Make sure they are rich. This is often found in junmai ginjo sake grade ginjo.
Pairing Wine With Unagi
Eel can be used with red, white and fortified wine.
Wines made with Gewürztraminer grape are my top choice.
Because eel is similar in texture to chicken but with a hint of sweetness. It has a strong flavor that calls for wine with similar strength. For wines that don’t go overboard on sugar, look for wines from higher altitude areas (such as northern Italy).
Vouvray and pinot noir white wines can be exceptional, especially if they have a little residual sugar.
Unagi can also go well with pinot noir wines that are fruity. You should look for wines from Oregon and California as well as New Zealand. Beaujolais Crus, made with gamay, are also worth looking out.
It is also worth noting Albariño wine. This Spanish and Portuguese wine can be enjoyed with many kinds of seafood. Dry Oloroso is particularly fond of unagi.
- *For making Tezu water, combine and mix 1/3 cup water with 2 teaspoons rice vinegar.
- Do not put hot sushi rice in the refrigerator to cool off, as this can affect its taste and texture.
- My sushi roll is falling apart. You could have used the wrong rice or not squeezed the sushi rolls tight enough. While rolling, you need to make sure that the bamboo mat is pulled in while you tuck in.