Unagi: Shirayaki vs. Kabayaki
When it comes to the Japanese dish using the freshwater eel Unagi, Unagi no Kabayaki (うなぎの蒲焼) is quintessential and one of the exquisite, as you may know.
But have you ever heard of Unagi no Shirayaki (うなぎの白焼き)?
Unagi no Shirayaki (うなぎの白焼き)
Anago no ShirayakiImage: Wikipedia
Unagi no Shirayaki is a dish made of Unagi eel using the cooking method called Shirayaki (白焼き).
The style is like being on the opposite side of Kabayaki (蒲焼).
Unagi no Kabayaki
For people unfamiliar with Japanese food, Unagi no Kabayaki is a dish of Unagi eel whose preparation is like this.
- The eel is split down the back (or belly), gutted and boned, butterflied, cut into rectangle fillets, skewered, and grilled over a direct flame without using oil.
- Then, it is dipped in a thick sweet Tare sauce made from dark soy sauce, mirin, sugar, and sake and further cooked over the fire.
In contrast, Unagi no Shirayaki doesn’t use any seasoning or sauce during cooking.
Shirayaki, a Japanese cooking style where food is cooked over a direct flame without using oil and is neither seasoned nor flavored, has another name Suyaki (素焼き).
Since Shirayaki doesn’t use any seasoning or flavoring, the most crucial element in the dish Unagi no Shirayaki is the eel itself (Ex. whether it is wild or raised, the production area, the water and feed used for it).
By the way, Japanese people often eat Unagi no Shirayaki with Wasabi Shoyu (ワサビ醤油: grated Japanese horseradish and soy sauce).