Unagi sushi faux-nagi sablefish sushi recipe

This unagi sushi recipe uses sustainable sablefish in place of traditional and unsustainable freshwater eel. If you love unagi, this will be a close cousin that you’ll feel a lot better about eating, when considering the sustainability issues of fishing eel.

Seared sablefish unagi sushi sustainable
Sustainable unagi sushi recipe – use sablefish (black cod) instead of eel. Source: Twitter, @GindaraSable.


  • 1 1/2 lbs. sablefish fillet (or black cod)
  • 1 large sheet konbu (kelp)
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 1/2 tbsp. mirin
  • 1 handful katsuobushi (skipjack flakes)
  • potato starch
  • sesame seeds
  • extra sake
  • extra water
  • steamed rice

Serves 8 People


  • Dust both sides of the sablefish with sea salt. Cover the fillets in plastic wrap and transfer to fridge. Let sit 15-20 min.
  • Wash salt off of fillets with cold water. Blot dry.
  • Tear konbu into fillet size pieces. Wet paper towel with sake and moisten konbu. Sandwich sablefish between pieces of konbu. Cover fillet in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30-40 min. Remove konbu and return fillet to fridge.
  • Mix soy sauce, sugar, mirin, and katsuobushi with 1 1/2 tbsp of sake, and 1 1/2 tbsp water in saucepan.
  • Bring to a boil, then lower heat and simmer 10 min.
  • Drain and remove katsuobushi and set sauce aside.
  • In small bowl, combine 8 tbsp. cold water with 2 tbsp. potato starch. Return the soy/mirin sauce to a boil then lower heat to simmer. Add potato starch gradually to sauce until desired consistency is reached. Remove and let cool.
  • Slice sablefish into 1 in by 2 in pieces.
  • Lightly char one side of fish with small butane torch or sear in hot saucepan briefly.
  • Top fish with drizzle of sauce and sesame seeds.
  • Serve slices over hot steamed rice.
Recipe for unagi sushi eel sashimi
Unagi sushi – Photo by Cloris Ying on Unsplash

Next time you want to experience unagi sushi, check out sablefish or black cod instead. These are much more sustainable options.

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