14 Apr 2016

WASHOKU - eel unagi and ukiyo-e



Eel (unagi)

***** Location: Japan
***** Season: See below.
***** Category: Humanity


eel, unagi, 鰻、うなぎ, Aal
Anguilla japonica
. . . CLICK here for Photos !

Utagawa Kuniyoshi 歌川国芳

pike conger eel, hamo 鱧
..... Hamo sashimi, a speciality of the Kyoto area in Summer. It is hacked very finely because of the many small bones and takes an experienced cook to prepare it properly.
Hamo 鱧 pike conger eel History and Food

both are kigo for all summer


Doyo eel, doyoo unagi 土用鰻 (どよううなぎ)
day of the eal, unagi no hi 鰻の日(うなぎのひ)
kigo for late summer
and doctor Hiraga Gennai 平賀源内


ochiunagi, ochi unagi 落鰻 (おちうなぎ)
eel coming downriver
kudari unagi 下り鰻(くだりうなぎ)
kigo for late autumn


Yatsume unagi 八目鰻 (やつめうなぎ, 八つ目鰻) lamprey (eel)
Lampetra japonica
Despite its name, this in not a member of the eel family.
kigo for all winter


- - - - - The following are NOT kigo.

aounagi, ao-unagi アオウナギ, アオ鰻、青鰻
blue eel

a speciality of the Bizen Kojima Bay, Okayama prefecture
It has been eaten in Osaka since olden times. This eel can be caught all year round, but it is hard nowadays to feed them properly. The fish likes the mix of seawater and river water that he has in the wetlands of the bay. Fishermen go out to catch small prawns during the ebb tide and put it back into the water to feed the eels, but this is very hard work.
(I was lucky to meet Mr. Shimizu who is a famous fisherman and catches them.)
. . . CLICK here for Photos !


mizore-ae みぞれあえ (霙和え) with grated radish
The fish is blanched. A dressing is of vinegar and soy sauce. Decorated with grated rasish and cucumbers.
Mizore-ae is also used for other ingredients like chicken meat.

CLICK for more photos

unagidon, unagi don, unagi donburi うなぎどんぶり ( 鰻丼/ うなぎ丼) grilled eel on rice
One of the most famous eel dishes. Here the sauce is poored directly over the eel and the rice.
. . . CLICK here for Photos !
gegrillter Aal auf einer Schüssel mit Reis.

unagimeshi, unagi meshi うなぎめし(鰻飯) eel with rice
manmeshi 鰻飯(まんめし)
. . . CLICK here for Photos !


kabayaki in Edo

unagi no kabayaki うなぎのかばやき ( 鰻の蒲焼き/ うなぎの蒲焼)
skewered grilled eel with a soy and mirin sauce, charcoal-broiled eel
Sometimes the eel is served in a separate laquer box and the rice, soup and pickles come in separate dishes.
Kabayaki was already prepared in the Muromachi period. First the whole fish was put on a pole and grilled (Ujimaru kabayaki 宇治丸, uchimaru うちまる), but that did not go well so it was cut open and put on skewers.
Sometimes it was also grilled with salt only (shioyaki 塩焼) or (shirayaki 白焼, white grilling).
covered with miso, a kind of fish dengaku
uo dengaku 魚田楽(うおでんがく)
. . . CLICK here for Photos !
Grillaal, gegrillter Aal
more :  japanesefood.about.com: Japanese Eel Recipes

Preparing kabayaki in Edo

This dealer, kabayaki uri 蒲焼売 could carry his "shop" on a pole over the shoulders.
He could set up shop at any place. Other dealers grilled the fish at home and sold only the pieces.

In Edo, eel was cut open from the backside, whereas in Osaka (Kamigata) and Kyoto it was sliced open from the stomach.
In Edo there lived many Samurai and "harakiri", cutting the stomach, was notfavored.
In Edo the bones are taken out, then the fish is cut in three pieces, which are put on skewers and grilled separately. They are served with the skewers.
In Kamigata / Osaka fish is cut from the stomach, the bones are taken out, the whole fish is put on skewers from head to tail, and after grilling the skewers are taken out and the pieces placed on a broad dish.

In Tokyo it is first simmered, then grilled.
In Osaka it is not simmered.

Unagi was often featured in Ukiyo-e prints of Edo.

CLICK for more photos !

猫の当て字 うなぎ - cats forming the letters for u na gi うなぎ
Utagawa Kuniyoshi 歌川国芳

. Food vendors in Edo .

The fishing ground for Unagi in Edo was in the river around Asakusa, at that time called
Miyatogawa 宮戸川, now Sumidagawa. Eel was taken out with poles.
This river fish was called Edomae Unagi 江戸前うなぎ, here meaning "The best Unagi of Edo"。

source : kabuki-za.com/syoku/2
歌川国芳 Utagawa Kuniyoshi

In a book published in 1697, the author already praized the eel from Miyatogawa in Edo 江都(えど)as the best in all Japan.
『本朝食鑑』(1697 年刊)


unagi manjuu うなぎ饅頭 bun with eel filling
from Mishima, Shizuoka.
. . . CLICK here for Photos !

unagisuupu, unagi suupu うなぎスープ 鰻スープ eel soup
unagijiru ウナギ汁, kimo sui 肝吸い
Often with red miso. Or a clear broth with some eel liver.
. . . CLICK here for kimosui clear broth Photos !

unagi no tare うなぎのたれ (鰻のたれ)
sauce for eel
Many restaurants have a sauce which is the strict secret of the generations.
Ready-made sauces are also available in the stores.
. . . CLICK here for Photos !


unagiya うなぎ屋 (鰻屋) eel restaurant

There were quite a few in Edo where women prepared the fish, from cutting it to grilling it.
The Ukiyo-E prints were often in the format of a summer hand-fan, to be used to feel cool, spread the delicious smell of grilled fish and attract customers.

source : blog.goo.ne.jp/yousan02/e
by 近藤清春 - Unagiya in Edo - around 1720

The characters on their kanban shop signs are usually very typical.
. . . CLICK here for Photos !


unajuu うな重 (うなじゅう)
grilled eel on rice in a square box, grilled eel on a rice bed
. . . CLICK here for Photos !
gegrillter Aal auf Reis in einer Lackschachtel
gegrillter Aal auf Reis in viereckigem Kasten

Uzaku うざく(鰻ざく) Uzaku eel with vinegar dressing
CLICK for more photos A dish from the Kansai area.
Similar to mizore-ae, but the fish has been broiled. The sauce is quite sweet. Sanbaizu vinegar is used.

Yahata-maki. Yawatamaki やはたまき (八幡巻き) anago roll
The fish is rolled around pieces of goboo burdock.
. . . CLICK here for Photos !
yahata maki can also be made with other ingredients like pork meat or dojoo loach.
Fresh burdock from the area of Iwashimizu Hachimangu 石清水八幡宮 is usually used. A speciality of Yahata town, Kyoto.
In the beginning it was the other way around, on days when fish was not to be eaten for religious regions during the Hojo-e ritual of releasing fish into the river. cooks prepared small river fish and wrapped it in stripes of burdock to hide it. The river where the fish were released often clogged and was cleaned. The mud was taken to the nearby fields as compost for the burdock.
The preparation of Yawata maki dates back to the area of the warring states, maybe invented by the merchant Yodoya Joan (Yodoya Jooan)
淀屋常安 (よどやじょうあん).

Many eel dishes are flavored with
Sansho, Sanshoo, Japanese pepper, "Mountain pepper"

Lake Hamanako 浜名 near Hamamatsu, Shizuoka is famous for its eel farming. Many shirasu elvers are raised here.

shirasu no kama-age しらすの釜揚げ boiled shirasu.
they are boiled in salt water, which can be heated a bit higher than 100 degrees centigrade. After skimming off the foam various times they are put on nets to dry.
CLICK here for PHOTOS !

Worldwide use

It seems eel is not eaten much in America.

The American eel, Anguilla rostrata, is a catadromous fish found on the eastern coast of North America. It has a snake-like body with a small sharp pointed head. It is brown on top and a tan-yellow color on the bottom. It has sharp pointed teeth but no pelvic fins. It is very similar to the European eel, but the two species differ in number of chromosomes and vertebrae.

In 2010, Greenpeace International has added the american eel to its seafood red list. "
The Greenpeace International seafood red list is a list of fish that are commonly sold in supermarkets around the world, and which have a very high risk of being sourced from unsustainable fisheries."
© More in the WIKIPEDIA !

Aal in Deutschland
Aal auf Stroh - eel on straw
Hamburger Aalsuppe - eel soup
Kräuteraal - eel in herb sauce
... Grüner Aal in Kräutersauce
Räucheraal - smoked eel
source : www.chefkoch.de

Spickaal (smoked eel)
Schillerlocke (strip of smoked rock salmon)
Räucheraal, smoked eel, was especially popular during the Christmas holidays.
kigo for all winter

Things found on the way

. Eel catch problems .
February 2012


なぎやのうの字 鰻のように書き 
unagiya no u no ji man no yoo ni kaki

the letter U
of the unagi restaurant
written just like the fish

Kaboo 佳宝

鰻屋のうの字 三尺余り伸び   
unagiya no u no ji sanshaku amari nobi

the letter U
of the unagi restaurant ...
almost one meter long    

Tennan 天南


saabisu no kimosui kimo ga miatarazu

this free liver soup
does not have one bit
of eel liver ! 

Ganjiroo 頑治郎

Related words

***** Donburi丼 Bowl of rice with topping

***** hamo 鱧 (はも) pike conger pike, pike eel
Muraenesox cinereus. dragontooth



- #unagi #eelunagi -

No comments: