Thursday, July 4, 2013

Eat eel? Unagi and Anago

BBQ freshwater eel is know as "unagi" in Japan. "Anago" is a sea eel that is often grilled in a similar fashion. Both unagi and anago are cooked and seasoned, often with a slightly sweet sauce called "kabayaki"

                             Unagi (left) and anago (right) nigiri sushi

The popularity of unagi has meant nowadays most freshwater eel is farmed. Japanese eels are small and slender, spending time in both fresh and saltwater.

                                                       Unagi before the BBQ......

Anago are larger than unagi but are also frequently farmed in ocean pens.

                    Farmed Conger eels (anago) are used in Chinese and other cuisines

  Anago is less fatty and rich than unagi. The flesh has a delicate, slightly sweet flavour. It is served as sushi, with rice or on it's own.

                        Anago is also lighter in colour than unagi but served in a similar fashion

                                  Nothing goes to waste! Deep fried eel bones....

Europeans have their own recipes for eel. Jellied or "potted eel" can be found in the United Kingdom. Smoked eel is popular in Scandinavia as well as mainland Europe. Sadly the popularity of European eel has led to its classification as critically endangered by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature. Amazingly, eels can live over 70 years!

                                        Smoked eel is a European delicacy

Unagi is a summertime favourite in Japan. High in protein, calcium and vitamins A and B; unagi is thought to to provide energy and replenish the body in hot and humid weather.

                                               UNADON is an unagi rice bowl

That's all for this time...Sanbiki has unagi on the menu and Mori Mori sells frozen unagi fillets that are cooked and seasoned. Easy for DIY sushi/rice bowl!