Unagi Chazuke (Hitsumabushi) 鰻茶漬け

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  • Unagi Chazuke (Hitsumabushi) is a popular rice bowl from Nagoya which features broiled eel on top of the steamed rice. Piping hot broth is poured on the rice to enjoy. It’s perfect comfort food on a busy weeknight!

    Unagi Chazuke in a Japanese donburi bowl.

    Unagi Chazuke (鰻茶漬け) is one of Mr. JOC’s favorite dishes. Before we were married, the only unagi dish he knew was Unagi Don (Unadon/Broiled Eel over Rice). After I introduced Unagi Chazuke to him, he loved it so much that he only requests this dish whenever we buy unagi. It’s a light and comforting dish that can be prepared easily on a busy weeknight!

    The rice bowl is very alike to Hitsumabushi (櫃まぶし), a specialty dish from Nagoya prefecture. I will talk about the differences between the two in today’s post.

    Unagi Chazuke in a Japanese donburi bowl.

    What is Unagi Chazuke?

    As most of you already know, unagi (うなぎ or 鰻) is a freshwater eel in Japanese. Chazuke or ochazuke (お茶漬け) is a dish where green tea or dashi broth is poured over steamed rice. I have a classic Ochazuke recipe on the website if you’re interested.

    So Unagi Chazuke is simply grilled or broiled unagi placed over steamed rice (which is called Unadon) and served with hot broth.

    You can use either dashi or green tea for the hot broth. For today’s recipe, I used both dashi and konbucha (昆布茶), which is powdered kombu tea. The saltiness and umami from konbucha make a very delicious soup broth.

    Hitsumabushi at Atsuta Horaiken | Easy Japanese Recipes at JustOneCookbook.com

    Is Unagi Chazuke Similar to Hitsumabushi?

    If you have been to Nagoya, Japan, you probably had a chance to try the popular Hitsumabushi (櫃まぶし) that looks rather similar to Unagi Chazuke. There are popular Hitsumabushi restaurants everywhere in Nagoya, and some big chains have branches in the Tokyo area as well.

    Let’s take a look at the differences between the two dishes.

    Hitsumabushi at Atsuta Horaiken | Easy Japanese Recipes at JustOneCookbook.com

    Unagi Chazuke

    • Served in a donburi (a large bowl).
    • Unagi is served without cutting into smaller pieces.
    • The soup broth can be green tea or dashi or sometimes a combination.

    Hitsumabushi

    • Originated in Nagoya.
    • Served in Ohitsu (a round, wooden container to keep cooked rice).
    • Unagi is cut into smaller pieces (1 cm).
    • The soup broth is dashi.
    • Enjoy the dish in 3 steps (Step 1 – eat only unagi and rice. Step 2 – eat with toppings and condiments (green onion, wasabi, and nori seaweed). Step 3 – pour the side broth (ochazuke) over rice and enjoy!

    Unagi Chazuke in a Japanese donburi bowl.

    Quick and Easy Weeknight Meal!

    This recipe was from my mother’s where she learned it from a friend. As my parents love unagi, I grew up eating Unagi Chazuke when my mom was too busy to cook.

    This recipe was my very first recipe on Just One Cookbook and originally published on January 3rd, 2011, the third day after I started blogging. I remember we had many Western-style meals over the holidays, so it was nice to have a comforting Japanese dish again.

    If you like Unadon, I hope you give this unagi dish a try next time!

    Unagi Chazuke in a Japanese donburi bowl.

    Japanese Ingredient Substitution: If you want to look for substitutes for Japanese condiments and ingredients, click here.

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    4.75 from 4 votes
    Unagi Chazuke in a Japanese donburi bowl.
    Unagi Chazuke (Hitsumabushi)
    Prep Time
    5 mins
    Cook Time
    10 mins
    Total Time
    15 mins
     

    Unagi Chazuke is a popular rice bowl featuring grilled/broiled eel and a hot broth is poured over to enjoy. A perfect meal for busy weeknights!

    Course: Main Course
    Cuisine: Japanese
    Keyword: donburi, unagi
    Servings: 2
    Author: Nami
    Ingredients
    For Broth
    For Unagi Donburi
    For Garnish
    Instructions
    1. Gather all the ingredients.

      Unagi Chazuke Ingredients
    To Make Broth
    1. In a small saucepan, combine dashi and konbucha.

      Unagi Chazuke 1
    2. Heat the broth over medium heat and whisk well. Taste the broth and adjust with more konbucha or salt if necessary.

      Unagi Chazuke 2
    To Prepare Unagi
    1. Cut unagi in half (or maybe third) to fit inside your serving bowls.

      Unagi Chazuke 3
    2. Line the baking sheet with parchment paper. Place unagi on top. WITHOUT preheating, put the baking sheet in the middle rack of your oven, and broil on high for 7 minutes (no need to flip).

      Unagi Chazuke 4
    3. After 7 minutes or so, take it out and brush the Unagi Sauce over the fillet. Broil for another 30 to 60 seconds until you see bubbles on top of Unagi.

      Unagi Chazuke 5
    To Serve
    1. Cut the mitsuba and green onion into small pieces.

      Unagi Chazuke 6
    2. Serve steamed rice in bowls and brush Unagi Sauce on the rice. Place unagi on top. You can cut Unagi into 1-inch pieces (easier to eat with chopsticks). Pour/brush more Unagi Sauce, if you like.

      Unagi Chazuke 7
    3. Right before you serve, pour the broth over the Unagi and garnish with green onions, mitsuba and sesame seeds. Enjoy!

      Unagi Chazuke 8
    Recipe Notes

    Homemade unagi sauce recipe, click here.

     

    Recipe by Namiko Chen of Just One Cookbook. All images and content on this site are copyright protected. Please do not use my images without my permission. If you’d like to share this recipe on your site, please re-write the recipe and link to this post as the original source. Thank you.

    Editor’s Note: The post was originally published on January 3, 2011. The images have been updated in January 2020.

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