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  • Writer's pictureAlice Hama

Ginger Unagi Donabe Rice for Summer

Updated: Jul 22, 2022

In Japan, it is tradition to eat eels (unagi) during the hottest days of summer to fight fatigue caused by humidity and heat.

"Doyo-Ushi-No-Hi" is the national unagi day where people go out to eat unagi to celebrate summer. The day usually falls on the day predicted to be the hottest day of summer each year (usually mid-July), based on the lunar calendar. In the week of Doyo-Ushi-No-Hi, you will find delicious special unagi menus at restaurants and a variety of unagi bentos at department stores throughout Japan. Exciting week for unagi lovers.

I am sharing my favorite unagi recipe for your inspiration.

PS: I added ginger to give some fresh aroma to balance with the sweetness of Unagi sauce.


Ingredients (4 servings)

  • 300g Rice

  • 370 ml Dashi (put 1 dashi pack in 370ml water and let it sit for few hours)

  • 1T Soy sauce

  • 1T Sake

  • 1T Mirin

  • 15g Fresh ginger (thinly sliced)

  • 1 Pre-cooked unagi pack


  • Shiso leaves

  • Chives

  • Edamame

Step 1:

Rinse the rice thoroughly, drain, and transfer to donabe pot.

Step 2:

Add dashi soy sauce, mirin, sake, dashi, and ginger, and let it sit for about 20 minutes. Add unagi sauce if there is any extra.

Step 3:

Place the donabe pot on medium heat till the steam comes out from the lid (about 12-13 minutes).

Step 4:

Turn off the heat and place the unagi on the semi-cooked rice and close the lid again and let it sit for 20 minutes.

Step 5:

Add some greens to add some color and aroma. I highly recommend shiso leaves, edamame, and chives.

Sommelier tip:

This dish pairs well with mild and complex red wines. For example, my go-to is Chateau d'Armailhac, it is a Fifth Growth Bordeaux wine from Pauillac. The sweetness of unagi sauce and fragrant ginger and shiso leaves pair perfectly with the wine's round and integrated tannin, and complex flavors with a hint of exotic spices. The wine is very high quality - very approachable even in young vintages. One of my favorite wines of all time.

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