Deceptively simple, this combination of rich, almost earthy eel, delicate rice, sweet sauce and tingly hot pepper is a deeply satisfying comfort dish, whether you’re camping, glamping or cooking at home. Sansho pepper is actually the ground green berries of the prickly ash; the citrusy flavor and numbing effect is similar to that of Sichuan peppercorns, which may be easier to find and can be substituted.
Slideshow:More Japanese Recipes
1/3 cup soy sauce
1/3 cup plus 1 tablespoon mirin
2 tablespoons sugar
Two 6-ounce chargrilled unagi (eel; see Note)
2 cups steamed sushi rice
Sansho pepper or Sichuan peppercorns, for garnish (optional)
How to Make It
Preheat the oven to 425° or prepare your grill or campfire for cooking over moderate heat. In a small saucepan, whisk the soy sauce with 1/3 cup of the mirin and the sugar and bring to a boil over high heat. Simmer over moderate heat for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the sauce is reduced by about half and lightly coats the back of a spoon.
Meanwhile, line a baking sheet with foil and set the unagi on it. Sprinkle with the remaining 1 tablespoon of mirin. If using a grill or campfire, sprinkle the unagi with mirin before wrapping loosely in foil. Cook for about 6 to 8 minutes, until heated through.
Divide the steamed rice among 4 bowls. Cut each unagi fillet in half and divide among the bowls, skin side down. Drizzle each bowl with some of the warm sauce and sprinkle with some sansho pepper or Sichuan peppercorns, if desired. Serve.
Unagi can be found in Asian grocery stores. Smoked trout can be substituted.
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