Hideki Hiwatashi's delicate unagi nigiri recipe (freshwater eel sushi), makes an elegant canapé, but could easily be made into more of a meal with the addition of other seared nigri. Unagi nigiri is one of the most popular varities of Japanese sushi because of its rich flavour and unique, meaty texture.
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To prepare the sushi rice, put the rice in a medium saucepan and wash thoroughly with cold water 5 or 6 times. Refill the pan with clean water and leave the rice to soak for 20 minutes
150g of sushi rice
Using a very fine mesh sieve, drain the soaked rice, return to the saucepan and pour over the measured water. Bring to the boil, then cover the pan with a tightly fitting lid and reduce the heat to very low. Gently steam and simmer the rice for 20 minutes
180ml of water
When the rice is nearly cooked, prepare the sushi vinegar. In a large bowl combine the vinegar, sugar and salt and place in a microwave for 10 seconds, or until warmed through. Stir the mixture until fully combined
7g of sugar
3g of salt
12ml of sushi vinegar
Once the rice is cooked, turn off the heat and transfer the rice to the mixing bowl with the sushi vinegar. Mix thoroughly with a wooden spoon to combine, then leave the rice to cool to room temperature
Meanwhile, prepare the fish. Using a very sharp knife, thinly slice the eel into even strips, each weighing 10–12g
125g of eel, freshwater (unagi)
To assemble the sushi, measure out 10 portions of sushi rice, each weighing 12g. Using the palm of your hands, form the rice balls into even sized oblongs and place on a metal tray
Place the sliced fish on top of the rice, brush with a little soy sauce and sear with a blowtorch until lightly charred. Once seared, divide the nigiri evenly between serving dishes
To serve, sprinkle a small pinch of sanshō over the eel. Place a little sushi ginger and wasabi on each plate and serve immediately
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