Unagi, the Japanese word for freshwater eel, is an elongated, oily fish, rich and bold in flavor. Unlike Anago, its saltwater cousin, Unagi is commonly used in Asian cuisine and can never be eaten raw as eel blood contains toxins that can kill all animals
Raw eel can be deadly
According to Boston.com, eels have toxic blood that contains a toxic protein that causes muscles (like the heart) to spasm, which is why it’s raw Eel should not be eaten under any circumstances. However, when eel is cooked, these proteins are broken down, making the fish edible.
Because eel is poisonous unless cooked, eels are always cooked and are often served with tare sauce in Japanese cuisine. Unagi roasted without tara and seasoned only with salt is known as “Shirayaki”.
Is the unagi raw? No, you cannot consume raw unagi. Unagi eel sushi is fully cooked — usually smoked or grilled. The freshwater eel for nigiri is filleted, grilled and basted with a thick, sweet soy sauce.
Raw eel blood can wreak havoc on your health. “Although the toxic effects of eel blood are neutralized when cooked (hence unagi is served grilled rather than raw in sushi), it still says a lot about the fish and its diet, whose blood is poison,” she says. p>
If the infected eels are eaten uncooked or raw, the parasite can cause mild to serious consequences in humans, including blindness, paralysis, or even death.
In Japanese, the ox is usually called ushi, or cow, and so it is believed that all foods beginning with the syllable “u” – including unagi – carry a chilled feeling. (Ume – salty plums – are also often eaten in summer, but unagi is the most popular.)
Usually served hot, either as a starter or with Belgian fries or bread; but can also be eaten cold. Unagi is the Japanese word for freshwater eels, specifically the Japanese eel. Saltwater eels are known as anago. Unagi are a common ingredient in Japanese cuisine.
Eel is always prepared grilled and steamed. Most sushi chefs don’t try to cook eel because if it’s not done right, the flavors will be off-putting and the texture will be rough. Eel blood can be poisonous if eaten raw.
Why is Japanese eel so expensive? Japanese eel – or unagi – is more expensive than gold. At up to $35,000 per kilogram, it is the most expensive fish in Japan and it can take 6 to 12 months for the eels to grow big enough to sell. And cooking is just as challenging as the chefs who prepare it take years of training.
First, while anago are fairly lean and have a lower fat content, unagi are loaded with delicious fat that makes the meat juicy and tender even after grilling. If you like other fatty fish like tuna or mackerel, you’ll probably love unagi too.
Anago (conger eels) averaged 0.048 PPM (parts per million) of mercury and unagi (freshwater eel) was only slightly higher at 0.052 PPM. In both cases, this is considered to be very low in mercury (Source: Food Sanitation Council of Japan).
Health Benefits of Unagi
The omega-3 fatty acid in Unagi may help improve blood pressure, lower cholesterol, maintain bone health, and even relieve menstrual pain . This and vitamin A are believed to reduce wrinkles and keep skin supple.
Although the filleted eel is boneless, an unagi can still contain many fine, tiny bones. Most of the time these fine bones are harmless if swallowed. However, there are cases where larger bones are left in the unagi that should not be swallowed.
Some people claim that eels taste bland, but it’s not. It combines the sweetness and the soft but fairly firm texture, creating the deliciousness of eel meat. Somehow it tastes like raw salmon, squid or lobster. They also have high oiliness.
Poison is injected while a poison is ingested. So the eel is poisonous, but not poisonous. An eel is poisonous. Eel blood is poisonous.
How does Unagi taste? If you already enjoy Unagi, you are of course familiar with the fine sweet taste, which is slightly chewy and reminds of raw salmon. Others may say that the taste is more like catfish.
Raw scallops aren’t just edible; you are unbelievable. The natural sweetness of scallops is never more evident than before cooking. And the uses for raw scallops are endless: carpaccio, crudo, tartare, sushi or, like that day, just popped in your mouth like candy.