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grilled unagi with eel sauce recipe

Grilled Unagi with Japanese Eel Sauce

This wonderful grilled unagi with eel sauce recipe is a fusion between Japanese and Vietnamese cuisine. This also a perfect option for canape ideas if you're indeed of a one of a kind canape.
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 30 mins
Cook Time 30 mins
Resting time 30 mins
Total Time 2 hrs
Course Appetizer
Cuisine Asian fusion, Japanese, Vietnamese
Servings 2 people


Eel sauce

  • 2 c water
  • eel bones from one eel
  • ½ c cooking sake
  • 1 c mirin
  • 2 oz soy sauce

Grilled unagi

  • 1 fresh eel or frozen uncooked/cooked eel
  • bamboo skewers for canape if needed
  • eel sauce for glazing
  • Vietnamese fine rice vermicelli banh hoi, as needed
  • pineapple as needed
  • culantro as needed
  • scallion oil
  • rice paddy herb
  • Chili garlic fish sauce dipping sauce recipe mentioned above


Eel sauce

  • Ina small pot, bring 2 c of water to boil, put in eel bones then simmer until the liquid reduce to ½ c. Strain and discard bones.
  • In a medium pan, put together ½ c eel broth with cooking sake, mirin, soy sauce.Bring to boil and simmer until the mixture is thick enough to coat the back of the spoon. Taste, and adjust seasoning if needed (add sugar if need more sweetness and more water if it's too salty).

Grilled unagi. First grill.

  • Skew 2-3 skewers across eel body to make sure it's not curl up while grilling.

For fresh and frozen uncooked eel:

  • Season 1 small dash salt and pepper, make sure your grill is hot, brush one thin layer of vegetable oil on each side and grill each side for 5-8 minutes.
  • Set aside and let sit for 30 minutes or keep in the fridge until you're ready to grill the second time.

For frozen pre-cooked eel:

  • Take the precooked eel out of package, wipe down excess sauce, put skewers across the body and be ready to grill. Just don't put too much glaze as you do fresh and uncooked frozen eel.

Grilled unagi. Second grill.

  • Continue to grilled the second time, the skin side down first, when it gets crispy, glaze the top with eel sauce. Turn the eel, then glaze the skin side. Try not to over turn the eel, only need to flip it one to two time. Use eel sauce to glaze whenever you flip.
  • Take it off the grill and let it rest for 5 minutes before serving. Eat with Vietnamese fine rice noodle, pineapple, fish sauce and herb.


  • Assemble following this order if you decide to serve this as canape: pineapple square, vermicelli, herb, grilled eel, and pineapple square again.