All recipes are for 2 servings unless noted. Oil is canola oil and salt is kosher salt.


Uzaku / grilled eel and cucumber in light broth with sweetened vinegar

Rich unagi no kabayaki grilled eel becomes a light dish accompanied by cucumber slices. The combination of warm eel and cool cucumber lets you enjoy the rich mouth feel of eel and refreshing cucumber at the same time.


70-100 g unagi no kabayaki grilled eel (100 g in photo)
1/2 kyuri Japanese cucumber
Pinch salt (not in photo; for sprinkling on cucumber to get out of excess water)
1 tsp rice vinegar + 1 tsp water
Generous pinch of sugar (not in photo)

For light broth with sweetened vinegar
2 tbsp dashi
2 tbsp rice vinegar
1/2 tsp + 1/4 tsp sugar
1 tsp soy sauce


Thinly slice cucumber.
Sprinkle salt, gently mix, and let sit for 10+ minutes until water comes out. 


Meanwhile, mix all ingredients for light broth with sweetened vinegar.

Microwave for 45-60 seconds.
Alternatively, put everything in a small pot and bring to boil.

Let cool.


Squeeze out excess water from cucumber, and place in another bowl (or rinse same bowl).

Mix rice vinegar, water and sugar, and pour over cucumber.

Mix, and let sit until serving.


Place grilled eel on foil and heat up in frying pan on low heat.


Lightly squeeze excess vinegar from cucumber, and place in individual bowls.

Slice warm eel into desired width.
Serve eel next to cucumber.
Pour light broth and sweetened vinegar, and serve immediately.

  • Heating light broth with sweetened vinegar ensures that all ingredients come together and give it depth. However, if in hurry or too bothersome, you can skip heating and cooling it.
  • When heating up grilled eel, microwaving is best avoided, as it tends to make eel firm. A buttery soft texture is the key to this dish, and heating on low heat in a frying pan or on a grill works much better.
  • Because eel is sliced or cut into small pieces, the tail end works fine. The head end of even width is best used for other dishes that look better with larger cuts.
  • Cucumber slices can be placed on top of eel slices or they can be mixed and served.  There is no rule how these two items are arranged.
  • Use English cucumber if Japanese cucumber is not available. 
  • The “u” in uzaku implies unagi [eel]. "Zaku" is said to be based on an onomatopoeic expression, zakuzaku, which in this case implies how eel is sliced (roughly, into thin pieces), how cucumber is rhythmically sliced or how cucumber sounds when biting in.

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