Unagi Kamameshi

Unagi Kamameshi (rice cooked in an iron pot with eel)

While it’s not exactly a culinary mecca, Texas is loaded with gut bustin’ soul satisfyin’ comfort food. My weekend was filled with elephant sized portions of smokey bbqed sausage, cajun spiced bbq burgers, tender carne asada, and chicken fried steak drowned in creamy gravy, all washed down with margarita’s and Coors light.

Gut busted and soul satisfied, I returned to NYC craving something a little different… something a little more asian and little less cajun… something filling, but not heart-attack inducing… something like kamameshi!

Kamameshi is rice cooked in a cast iron pot along with a flavored broth and some other goodies. It’s similar to takikomi gohan except the pot it’s cooked in encourages the bottom layer of rice to lightly burn (known as “okoge” in Japanese) giving it a nice flavor reminiscent of rice crackers.

Unfortunately I don’t have a kama (iron pot) and I imagine most of my readers don’t either, so I made this using a small Le Creuset (enameled cast iron pot). You could probably use any heavy bottomed pot with a lid you have as long as it’s not teflon.

The rice cooks with a sweet soy sauce flavored broth and is topped with a layer of mitsuba (which I talk about more in this post) and unagi while it steams. After it’s all done, I mix it all together before serving which helps integrate all the flavors.

2 rice cooker cups of short grain Japanese rice (360 ml or about 1.5 US cups)
1/3 C chopped Japanese bamboo (takenoko)
1 2/3 C dashi
1 Tbs mirin
1 Tbs sugar
1 Tbs soy sauce
1/4 C mitsuba roughly chopped
1 package grilled unagi (eel)

Rinse the rice by filling the bowl containing the rice with cold water then draining and repeat until the water is almost clear. Drain the water using a colander.

In a heavy iron pot with a lid, bring the dashi, sugar, mirin and soy sauce to a boil.

Add the bamboo and rice and let it return to a boil. Cover and turn the heat down to low, cooking until you don’t see any more steam escaping, about 15 minutes.

Add the mitsuba and unagi on top of the rice, turn off the heat, cover and allow it to steam for 10 minutes.

Break up the unagi and fold it into the rice then serve immediately with some Japanese pickles.

  • http://voodoolily.blogspot.com/ Heather

    Oishi! Gah, why have I not found your blog until now? It’s a good one, and one I’ll hafta keep an eye on.

  • http://voodoolily.blogspot.com Heather

    Oishi! Gah, why have I not found your blog until now? It’s a good one, and one I’ll hafta keep an eye on.

  • http://newlywedcooking.blogspot.com/ sharon

    Wow, that looks amazing. I’m embarrassed to admit that I’ve never had eel that’s not draped in that yummy eel sauce. I’d love to try this!

  • http://newlywedcooking.blogspot.com sharon

    Wow, that looks amazing. I’m embarrassed to admit that I’ve never had eel that’s not draped in that yummy eel sauce. I’d love to try this!

  • http://manggy.blogspot.com/ Manggy

    Oboy, this is a painfully delicious reminder of how long it’s been since I’ve had kamameshi… :P““`
    I love eel! I just wish it weren’t so expensive :/

  • http://manggy.blogspot.com manggy

    Oboy, this is a painfully delicious reminder of how long it’s been since I’ve had kamameshi… :P““`
    I love eel! I just wish it weren’t so expensive :/

  • http://www.sugarbar.org/ diva

    firstly, le creuset rules. secondly, that broth sounds fantastic! imagine it gives the rice so much flavour. lastly, unagi is delicious. although we usually just have it with plain white rice. oh well….;)

  • http://www.sugarbar.org diva

    firstly, le creuset rules. secondly, that broth sounds fantastic! imagine it gives the rice so much flavour. lastly, unagi is delicious. although we usually just have it with plain white rice. oh well….;)

  • http://www.culinarydisaster.com/wordpress Jeff

    drool…..eel.

    Looks awesome and I just checked Mr. Magic 8-ball and he says a trip to the Asian market (the joy of a smaller town we have a Asian market) is in my immediate future.

  • http://www.culinarydisaster.com/wordpress Jeff

    drool…..eel.

    Looks awesome and I just checked Mr. Magic 8-ball and he says a trip to the Asian market (the joy of a smaller town we have a Asian market) is in my immediate future.

  • http://www.noblepig.com/ noble pig

    Holey moley, I’m in a trance…just beautiful!

  • http://www.noblepig.com/ noble pig

    Holey moley, I’m in a trance…just beautiful!

  • http://kitchenmusings.typepad.com/ veron

    I love unagi. It’s my favorite dish to order in a japanese restaurant. So you can just imagine how much I’m drooling over this!

  • http://kitchenmusings.typepad.com veron

    I love unagi. It’s my favorite dish to order in a japanese restaurant. So you can just imagine how much I’m drooling over this!

  • joyce

    This is exactly what I am looking for. I ate this in the restaurant once and it was SO good, now I can make it at home..THANK YOU SOO SOO MUCH!!!! YOU ARE WONDERFUL!!!

  • joyce

    This is exactly what I am looking for. I ate this in the restaurant once and it was SO good, now I can make it at home..THANK YOU SOO SOO MUCH!!!! YOU ARE WONDERFUL!!!

  • http://www.hungryandfrozen.blogspot.com/ Laura @ Hungry and Frozen

    That looks so delicious. Love the cooking method. Glad you had fun in Texas! I’m guessing you don’t eat the bamboo? ;)

  • http://www.hungryandfrozen.blogspot.com Laura @ Hungry and Frozen

    That looks so delicious. Love the cooking method. Glad you had fun in Texas! I’m guessing you don’t eat the bamboo? ;)

  • http://www.realepicurean.com/ Scott at Realepicurean

    For some reason I’ve never had eel but would love to try it. Your recipe looks delicious, by the way.

  • http://www.realepicurean.com Scott at Realepicurean

    For some reason I’ve never had eel but would love to try it. Your recipe looks delicious, by the way.

  • http://closetcooking.blogspot.com/ Kevin

    That looks really good. I have been wanting to try cooking unagi at home but I have been unable to find it so far.

  • http://closetcooking.blogspot.com/ Kevin

    That looks really good. I have been wanting to try cooking unagi at home but I have been unable to find it so far.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/05752371044060690705 cakewardrobe

    I usually push all my rice to the side so that all of it is crispy! I love it!!!

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/05752371044060690705 cakewardrobe

    I usually push all my rice to the side so that all of it is crispy! I love it!!!

  • marc

    Thanks Heather!

    Sharon, the grilled unagi I used actually has the “yummy unagi sauce” on it.

    Manggy, I’m not sure what part of the world you’re in, but here in NYC you can get a whole grilled unagi for about $6.

    Thanks Diva, I love my Le Creuset, I use it for everything! It even makes a great weight when I’m curing fish or making pickles.

    Jeff, hope you were able to find some eel.

    Thanks Noble Pig and Veron

    Joyce, I’m glad I could help:-) Any other mystery dishes you’ve been trying to figure out?

    Laura, you do eat the bamboo. Bamboo shoots are tender and edible when they are young.

    Scott, eel’s great. It’s not fishy at all, but people who don’t like it usually complain about 2 things. First, it’s got a ton of little bones that are edible, but some people have issues with this. Also it’s very oily, so some people don’t dig that. If you’re cool with either of those things, give it a go.

    Kevin, you’re in Toronto right? Based on a quick Google search it looks like there’s a Japanese market called Sanko in downtown Toronto. Otherwise, other asian markets might have it in their frozen food section (they usually come in flat vacuum sealed packs.

    cakewardrobe, it’s the best part isn’t it?

  • marc

    Thanks Heather!

    Sharon, the grilled unagi I used actually has the “yummy unagi sauce” on it.

    Manggy, I’m not sure what part of the world you’re in, but here in NYC you can get a whole grilled unagi for about $6.

    Thanks Diva, I love my Le Creuset, I use it for everything! It even makes a great weight when I’m curing fish or making pickles.

    Jeff, hope you were able to find some eel.

    Thanks Noble Pig and Veron

    Joyce, I’m glad I could help:-) Any other mystery dishes you’ve been trying to figure out?

    Laura, you do eat the bamboo. Bamboo shoots are tender and edible when they are young.

    Scott, eel’s great. It’s not fishy at all, but people who don’t like it usually complain about 2 things. First, it’s got a ton of little bones that are edible, but some people have issues with this. Also it’s very oily, so some people don’t dig that. If you’re cool with either of those things, give it a go.

    Kevin, you’re in Toronto right? Based on a quick Google search it looks like there’s a Japanese market called Sanko in downtown Toronto. Otherwise, other asian markets might have it in their frozen food section (they usually come in flat vacuum sealed packs.

    cakewardrobe, it’s the best part isn’t it?

  • http://www.coffeeandvanilla.com/ Coffee and Vanilla

    Hi Marc,

    Thank you for your visiting my site and your comment on Physalis, I replied here:
    http://www.coffeeandvanilla.com/?p=2280

    Wonderful site! I’m glad to discover it :)

    Margot

  • http://www.coffeeandvanilla.com Coffee and Vanilla

    Hi Marc,

    Thank you for your visiting my site and your comment on Physalis, I replied here:
    http://www.coffeeandvanilla.com/?p=2280

    Wonderful site! I’m glad to discover it :)

    Margot

  • http://www.tartelette.blogspot.com/ Tartelette

    My aut’s specialty was eel and watercress soup all creamy all good..:)
    I just can’t find eel here except in sushi….living vicariously through you Marc!

  • http://www.tartelette.blogspot.com Tartelette

    My aut’s specialty was eel and watercress soup all creamy all good..:)
    I just can’t find eel here except in sushi….living vicariously through you Marc!

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