if you read my last post, you know that i am desperate for it to be summer time. since that's not happening for months, i settled for the next best thing. yes, unagi. (you thought i was going to say "a trip to turks and caicos", didn't you? XD)
since eel is out of season it was quite fortuitous that i had seen a recipe for fake unagi using lotus root on "himitsu no kenmin show". according to the show, this mock unagi is made in aisai city in aichi prefecture. it was just too intriguing to not try.
have you ever seen a lotus root? here's a blurry one for you.
we'll get back to the root of the matter (wah waaaah) in a second because here's something brilliant. nori is used to replicate eel skin.
let me repeat that...nori is used to replicate eel skin! and it all starts with roasting.
look, i had no idea if holding a sheet of nori over my stove burner would work but i remembered that in "jiro dreams of sushi", one of the chefs repeatedly flipped a sheet of seaweed really quickly on a grill. adjustments were made, et voila, i'm roasting seaweed on my stove. c'est facile. and now i will stop typing in french.
anyway, lotus root. here it is cut in half.
not pictured: peeling and grating lotus root (cause it was super ugly.) and cutting nori into small strips.
after the unphotograted grating, the lotus pulp is mounded onto the nori strips like so.
you can then use a chopstick to make marks on the goop to make it look more like eel. (that is also not pictured. look, i was hungry. cope.)
here's the part you've been waiting for...the nori and lotus root is fried in vegetable oil heated to 175 c/approx 350 f for about 2 min. make it golden, you know it when you see it.
speaking of seeing it, check out that NORI EEL SKIN HOLY LKJFDS;LKJFDSA
at this point you can do things like, cover the fake unagi in sauce (great recipe and what i used here) and maybe put it on rice for donburi. but if you are hungry and this is just staring you in the face, you will eat it. YOU WILL EAT IT AND LOVE IT
because this...this is spectacular!! i want to give the people of aisai city a huge hug for inventing it!!