How Do You Cook American Eel For Sushi?

  • By: fishlovers
  • Date: July 15, 2023
  • Time to read: 9 min.
american sushi

It’s easy to discover a sushi restaurant these days.

I’ve wanted to make my sushi lately, and when I saw eel sushi for the first time at a sushi restaurant recently, which made me want to know how to transform American eel into a delectable sushi roll. Eel sushi is a common and accessible dish that may be prepared almost anywhere, even at home.

The procedure of preparing your own fish starts with careful preparations and ends with a wonderful sushi meal.

If you’re interested in learning how to start, follow these steps outlined in this post.


To prepare American eel for sushi, cleaning, filleting, and removing the bones are necessary steps. These steps ensure that the eel is safe to consume and has the desired texture and appearance for sushi.

Cleaning the American eel

Preparing an American eel for consumption? Follow these three steps for optimal enjoyment!

  1. Start at the head and peel the skin off towards the tail.
  2. Cut the head with a sharp knife. Make sure to remove all gills and viscera.
  3. Rinse under running water before cooking.

Handle the eel with care, as they have a slimy protective coating. Remove all organs, as they may contain toxins. Enjoy the unique taste and texture of an American eel. Try grilling, frying or smoking it! Don’t miss out on this crucial cleaning process.

Filleting the American eel

Ready to fillet an American eel? Here’s what you need to do:

  1. Start with a cut from head to tail.
  2. Peel off the skin and discard any bones.
  3. Slice filets close to the spine and lift them away.

For extra flavor, marinate before cooking.

Pro Tip: Use a flexible knife for an easier job.

Removing the bones from the American eel

American eels are a tasty treat found in many cuisines around the world, but their bones can be a nuisance. Knowing how to remove them is key. Here’s how:

  1. Step 1: Cut the head and tail off.
  2. Step 2: Cut along the eel’s belly.
  3. Step 3: Use your fingers or a spoon to take out the guts.
  4. Step 4: Scrape off the membrane from both sides of the flesh with a knife.
  5. Step 5: Cut between each bone with a fillet knife and separate each section from the bone.
  6. Step 6: Pluck out any smaller bones with tweezers.

Remember to do these steps on a stable surface, and wear disposable gloves to avoid fish slime on your skin. Now you are ready to enjoy some delicious American eel. Happy Cooking!

Cooking methods

To cook the American eel for sushi, master the cooking methods. Grilling, steaming, boiling, and frying are the solutions to consider. These methods ensure that your sushi tastes perfect.

Grilling the American eel

Grilling American eel is a unique experience! It has an amazing flavor that you must try. Here are the steps to help you grill it.

  1. Clean the eel and take off its head.
  2. Make cuts on its skin for even cooking.
  3. Marinate with oil, salt, pepper, herbs and lemon for 1 hour.
  4. Preheat your grill to medium-high heat.
  5. Cook the eel on an oiled rack for 6 minutes each side.

Be careful when handling American eels as they are slippery. Moreover, they are seasonal and may be hard to source. However, it is worth the effort.

See Also:  Best tasting freshwater fish

Native Americans introduced grilled American eel centuries ago by roasting it on fire pits. The dish became popular among early colonists from Europe and is still enjoyed in many American restaurants today.

Steaming the American eel

Cooking American eel with steam is a great way to make it tasty. The flavor will be improved and it’ll have plenty of nutrients.

Here are the steps to follow:

  1. Start by cleaning, then scaling the eel and getting rid of its insides.
  2. Cut it into pieces and sprinkle some salt, pepper, and other spices.
  3. Put the pieces in a steaming basket over boiling water.
  4. Cover the pot securely to keep the steam inside.
  5. Steam for about 20-30 minutes per pound.
  6. Take it off heat and let it cool down before serving.

Be careful not to overcook; otherwise, the eel will be rubbery.

Serve with rice or any side dish.

Plus, steaming intensifies flavor and preserves nutrients. Add your favorite marinade or spices for extra flavor.

Boiling the American eel

Boiling is a popular cooking method for the American eel, due to its simplicity and ability to keep the eel’s delicate flavor and texture. Here’s how to do it: fill a large pot with enough water to submerge the eel; bring the water to a rolling boil; then gently place the eel in and let it cook for 8-10 minutes or until done. Boiling can also remove the eel’s muddy taste. Plus, you can marinate it in soy sauce, Mirin rice wine, ginger, and garlic for extra flavor.

Legend has it that Chinese chefs used to boil live animals from lakes and rivers. To make sure they were fresh, they’d hold a cup of hot water on top of their spear. If the fish swam towards it without escaping, it was good!

In the end, boiling yields a delicious and healthy meal with protein and healthy fats.

Frying the American eel

Preparing American eel is a breeze! Pan-frying is one of the most popular methods. Here’s a quick guide:

  1. Rinse and dry with paper towels.
  2. Cut into bite-size pieces.
  3. Season with salt and pepper.
  4. Heat oil in a skillet over medium-high heat.
  5. Cook for 4-5 minutes per side, until golden brown.
  6. Transfer to a plate lined with paper towels to remove excess oil.

Nutrition-wise, American eel is high in omega-3 fatty acids and protein, making it a healthy choice.

Fishermen also have a superstition about this fish. They say if you catch an American eel, never release it back into the wild. It will haunt you, causing bad luck in future fishing trips. Fascinating!

Sushi making

To master the art of sushi making with American eel, you need to understand its various steps. The section ‘Sushi making’ with the sub-sections ‘Preparing the sushi rice, Rolling the sushi with American eel, Presentation and garnishes’ gives you a solution. These sub-sections cover all the necessary aspects of making sushi with American eel, from selecting the rice to presenting it on the plate with appropriate garnishes.

Preparing the sushi rice

For the best sushi, the rice must be prepped correctly. Rice Treatment is the key to making this Japanese dish just right. Here are 6 steps to follow:

  1. Wash the rice till the water is clear.
  2. Soak it in fresh water for 30 minutes.
  3. Add equal amount of water to rice (1:1 ratio).
  4. Cook on high till boiling.
  5. Set heat to low and cook for 15 minutes with a lid on.
  6. Turn off heat and leave covered for 10 mins before adding vinegar.
See Also:  Best tasting freshwater fish

Remember, seasoned rice vinegar should only be added after the rice has cooled down.

For perfect sushi, use short-grain Japanese-style white or brown rice cooked with filtered water. Pro Tip: Use your palms in a circular motion when mixing in sugar and vinegar to coat each grain of rice.

Rolling the sushi with American eel

Roll Fresh Sushi with Succulent American Eel!

Experience the taste of fresh sushi and exotic flavour. Learn to roll the perfect sticky rice and crispy seaweed sheet around meaty chunks of American eel. Here’s how:

  1. Boil sushi rice
  2. Cut American eels into thin slices
  3. Spread cooked sushi rice onto a nori seaweed paper. Place sliced American eel on top.
  4. Roll tight with a bamboo mat.

Keep the pressure tight while rolling. Enjoy this delectable delicacy warm. Take your culinary skills to the next level! Impress your guests and get Instagram-worthy photos. Try this today!

Presentation and garnishes

Presentation and garnishes matter when making sushi. They show the skills of the chef.

So, to elevate a dish, colorful vegetables like bell peppers and carrots can be used. Nori, wasabi, ginger and soy sauce can add to the flavor.

Cutting techniques also make a difference. Arranging sushi can bring joy to diners.

An experienced sushi chef told me of his early days. He served plain nigiri and his guests were not as excited as those at restaurants with more attention to presentation and garnish. This drove him to master the art of presentation and garnishing to bring visual and gustatory pleasure to his patrons.

Safety considerations

To ensure the safety of your diners, it’s crucial to follow the necessary safety considerations when preparing American eel for sushi. With the proper handling and storage techniques, you can prevent any contamination or spoilage of the eel. Additionally, cooking the eel to the appropriate temperature is crucial to eliminate any potential health risks associated with consuming raw or undercooked seafood. We’ll also discuss the potential risks and precautions to take when handling American eel.

Properly handling and storing American eel

To preserve American eels correctly, follow these rules:

  1. Wear gloves when handling them. Eels can be difficult to grip and gloves provide a better hold.
  2. Keep the eels refrigerated at 4°C or below until processing.
  3. Before cooking, cut off the head and make a cut an inch behind the gills across the body. Pull out the entrails and leave the liver if desired.
  4. Store the eel at 0°C – 4°C in an airtight container until ready for use. Don’t freeze it.

Be aware: some people may have an allergic reaction to eels’ slime. If you come into contact with it, rinse your skin with cold water.

Pro Tip: Store eel away from other seafood due to its strong odour.

Cooking American eel to the appropriate temperature

Cooking American eel correctly is essential for safety. To avoid any health risks, the internal temperature of the fish must reach 145°F (63°C). Here’s a 5-step guide:

  1. Thaw and clean the eel.
  2. Check the internal temperature with a meat thermometer.
  3. Choose the cooking method: baking, frying, or grilling.
  4. Time and temperature must be adjusted depending on the thickness of the fish.
  5. Don’t overcook it – this makes the eel dry and tough.
See Also:  Best tasting freshwater fish

Handle raw fish with care and practice proper sanitation. Fishermen usually share their catches. I still remember going fishing with my dad and catching over fifty American eels! We followed safety measures while cooking, and the dinner with family and friends was incredible.

Potential risks and precautions

Potential Hazards and Safety Measures – Be Aware!

It’s essential to learn of any potential risks associated with activities. Here are a few risks and procedures to be mindful of:

  • Equipment – Inspect and maintain tools for safety before use.
  • Chemicals – Follow guidelines when using them and store in designated area.
  • Falls – Utilize safety harnesses, ladders, and scaffolding when working at heights.
  • Electricity – Be aware of electrocution risk. Never touch live wires or faulty electrical connections without proper knowledge and PPE.
  • Fire – Have a clear evacuation path. Keep fire extinguishers and smoke detectors close and functioning.

In confined spaces, make sure ventilation is sufficient. It’s wise to have an emergency contact person in case of an emergency.

Plus, 80% of industrial equipment failures can be avoided with proper equipment maintenance!


To conclude your journey on how to cook American eel for sushi, the following are the solutions: A brief summary of the cooking process which you can use as reference in the future, and additional tips to ensure your success in cooking American eel for sushi.

Summary of the cooking process for American eel sushi

Cooking American eel sushi requires several steps for the perfect taste and texture. Here’s how to do it:

  1. Fillet the eel and take away its head, skin, and bones.
  2. Wash the fillets in cold water and dry them with paper towels.
  3. Cut into small strips and season with salt. Leave to rest for 30 minutes.
  4. Place the strips on a wooden board and cover with a piece of kombu seaweed.
  5. Roast over an open flame until cooked evenly.
  6. Once cooled, slice the roasted eel into pieces and put on top of a ball of vinegared rice.

It is important to remember that American eel sushi is usually served with a sweet soy sauce glaze for additional flavor.

Picking high-quality ingredients is essential when preparing any type of sushi.

Also, did you know that American Eels are endangered because of habitat loss and overfishing? It is very important to only get eels from sustainable sources when making American eel sushi.

Additional tips for successfully cooking American eel for sushi.

Cooking American eel for sushi requires tips to get the best results. Here’s what to remember:

  1. Check the quality and freshness before purchase.
  2. Remove slime with saltwater or a torch.
  3. Smoke thin slices before slicing for rolls or nigiri.
  4. Use seasoning and sauces for more flavor.
  5. Serve at room temp. for the best taste.

Following these steps makes cooking American eel easier. Plus, it’s a healthy choice packed with vitamin A, B12, and omega-3s.

Sadly, overfishing caused the population of American eels to drop up to 99%. This has had a major impact on food traditions and the global food chain in many states along the Eastern Seaboard.

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