Sunday, April 8, 2012

Unagi Rice (Unadon) 鰻鱼丼

3 weeks ago, Max requested for Unagi Rice. But I was like "Hell! This is something difficult can?!"....  But still, I will do it lah. Maybe in a easier way? I'm quite good at cheating you know? Hahas!

Unadon is s a popular donburi (rice bowl) dish made with unagi kabayaki (grilled eel coated with a sweet sauce). I like it alot. But I always refrain from ordering this when I visit Japanese Restaurant. Because they always gives me miserable portion of Unagi!

Since I've promised him to do it, he will also have to put in effort to assist me to get my mission accomplished lah. So, I get him to drive me to Chinatown to hunt for fresh eel.

There's 2 shops located at Chinatown wet market sells fresh eel, catfish, frogs, turtles, & etc. Sometimes they have seasonal item too. This is one of the shop... 

And I spotted fresh eel! :)

I bought 3 eel at S$9.00. I get the fish monger to prepare it and removed the bones. The size of this eel is just fine. Not too small and not too big. If you were to get a bigger eel, the meat & the skin of the eel might not be that tender. And moreover, with this size, it's easier to pan-fry it. I'll show you later...

All I need to do is to wash it, and cut it into 5 inch length. This is a very slimy fish. It's really difficult to grab it when I'm doing the cutting. It must be done in a very careful way. I almost cut myself while I'm doing the cutting. How I wish the fish monger could do this for me too. Anyway, this is good enough to serve 3 adults.

Lightly pan sear it. The trick is that I have to kept pressing it using potato mashers. Or else, the fish will shrink like nobody's business! And it won't be in a flat piece that we used to see in the Unadon selling in Japanese Restaurant. If you are going for grilling method, use a satay stick to stick them together, this is the olden days method, to ensure the shrunk eels are still in shape. I wanted to do that actually, but Max bought the super thick satay stick! And I have hard time using the satay stick to join the eels together. So, I don't bother anymore..

You see, when the eel is on the pan, it will shrink, and the size of the potato masher is just nice to get the shrunk eel pressed evenly. Not too big, not too small. This is one of the reason why I say, the size of the eel is just nice.

Don't you ever think that I really will make this from scratch. I don't have the time. And putting effort to get fresh eels is already very big effort ok? Hahahs.. Anyway, I use this...

But, if you intend to make the glazing sauce from scratch, here it is.. 
  • 3 tablespoons sake
  • 2 tablespoons mirin (sweet rice wine)
  • 2 tablespoons Japanese soy sauce
  • 4 teaspoons sugar
  • 1/2 cup fish stock
Buying the smallest bottle of sake itself could cost me $8.00. I'm not gonna do that for sure. Bottled prepared glazing sauce is good enough. This cost me S$6.00 I think.

Dip the lightly pan-fried Unagi into the glazing sauce. We're gonna baste the fish now.
Dip it in... Don't be stingy. You will want the Unagi get evenly coated yea...
Once the Unagi dipped with the sauce evenly, put it back to the pan, with medium low heat, slowly pan sear it. The sauce will kinda get thickened, and stick to the Unagi. Alternatively, you can use a brush to brush the sauce on the Unagi while pan frying. Either  basting way works. It depends on you... But I personally find that dipping it into the sauce is the lazier way.

Dip the Unagi into the sauce, pan-fry it a minute on each side. Dip the Unagi into the sauce again, and pan-fry it another minute on each side, and the Unagi is done!

If you have more time, you could go ahead and leave the Unagi in the glazing sauce longer. Probably 15mins? I guess it would be tastier. I didn't do that, because I don't have the time tho. Probably next time...

I cooked 1.5 cups of Koshihikari Rice using rice cooker at another side. With the good quality Japanese rice, this gives me a complete Unadon. I sprinkled some Japanese chilli powder, to give it a mild spiciness.

Here's the full ingredient that I used...
  • 1.5 cups of Koshihikari Rice, cook it using rice cooker
  • 3 small sized eels. You should have 6 eels fillet at 5 inch length.
  • half bottles of shop bought Unagi Basting Sauce
  • some cooking oil for pan-frying Unagi
  • some Japanese chilli flakes (optional)
  • some spring onions & japanese cucumber for garnishing
Look at the beautiful color of this Unagi. It's thin, soft, sweet and savoury.

How much does a bowl of Unadon cost you in Japanese Restaurant? S$12.90?

Yea. He's happy. That's obvious isn't it?

Stay tuned!


  1. Like the style of cooking unagi...

  2. Hi Sofyan, Thanks. Do try it at home when u are free :D

  3. Hi,
    I also bought a similar bottle of the sauce to try on pan fried dory fish. However, I feel that the sauce doesn't taste like the unagi sauce we get from restaurants.

    1. Hi Anonymous, Different restaurant has different chefs. Hence, it definitely gives you different experience and different taste :)

  4. haha.I was never a eel eater even I kinda really like unadon ( My friend introduced it to me thou ) but after reading your post, I feel super hyped and motivated , I might go out and try to do it myself.Very tempting result I must say.Though I'm dead scared of all the preparation stuff TT_TT