Let's make the dashi stock. Brush off the dust and sand from the dried kombu seaweed. Put the kombu pieces in a tea pot with a fine mesh strainer.
Put in the dried bonito flakes. Pour hot water and leave it for 5 minutes in order to make dashi stock.
Remove the kombu seaweed and bonito flakes along with the mesh strainer. This is simple and easy way to make dashi stock in a small amount.
Pour the stock into a smal pot. You can remove the remaining bonito flakes by straining it with a paper towel. Turn on the burner.
Add the sake, salt and usukuchi soy sauce to the stock. Stir with a set of saibashi chopsticks. Bring it to a boil and turn off the burner.
Let's make some additional unagi sauce. Put the mirin and sake in another pot and turn on the burner. Lightly boil and let the alcohol evaporate. Keep close eye on the sauce to avoid any danger of the alcohol ignition.
When all the alcohol has evaporated, add the soy sauce and honey. Stir and bring the sauce to a boil. Turn off the burner and pour the sauce in a separate container.
Let's reheat the roasted unagi. Thaw the unagi beforehand and place it on a heated grill with the skin side face down. Coating with sake will make the unagi tender. Shift the unagi's position on the grill in order to roast evenly.
When the skin gets a bit crispy and aromatic, flip it over. Like before, brush the skin side with sake. Keep your eye on the unagi as it is easily burnt. Shift the position of unagi to roast evenly.
When the flesh side becomes soft and lightly-browned, flip it over.
Place the unagi on a cuting board and cut it into 1.5cm (0.6") strips.
Now, the fresh steamed rice is ready. Lightly mix the rice with a paddle. Serve it in a bowl for 2 people. Pour over 5 teaspoonful of the unagi sauce.
Serve the unagi strips on the rice.
Here is how to enjoy Hitsumabushi. Reheat the dashi stock and pour it into a tea pot. Serve the unagi and rice in a small bowl.
For the first bowl, sprinkle on the sansho pepper and simply enjoy the unagi bowl.
For the second bowl, season with the chopped spring onions, crumbled toasted nori and wasabi paste.
For the third bowl, pour the hot dashi stock onto the unagi bowl topped with the seasonings.
We don't usually find ourselves cooking raw unagi at home. For this recipe, we are using frozen roasted unagi which can be easily purchased.
We have tried various ways to reheat unagi and we think grilling brings out the flavor the most.