15 minute Unagi Don

Delicious and impressive rice dish that you can make from your pantry.

This is a simplification of the Japanese Unagi Don that can be made from your pantry in just 15 minutes. Unagi means eel in Japanese, which is not available as a canned good, so I decided to replace it for canned Sardines. Feel free to replace it with the “real eel”.

I found this recipe somewhere and edited it a little bit, but I couldn’t find the original source anymore. This is what I remember.


for 1 serving

  • 100 grams Steamed Sushi or Jasmin Rice

  • 100 grams Canned Sardine Fillets.- use MSC certified brands (this is why)

  • 1 tbsp Soy Sauce

  • 1 tbsp Mirin

  • 0.5 tbsp Sake

  • 0.5 tbsp Sugar

  • 1 tsp Cornstarch

  • 1 tsp Red Pepper Powder


  1. Cook or steam the rice in any way you want. I use a rice cooker for this, but you can do it without it just as well, instructions are all over youtube. For example here.

  2. Combine all the other ingredients except the sardine fillets in a pan and put it on the stove and wait until it starts simmering.

  3. After it simmers for a while it will become a bit of a paste, that’s when you take the pan off the heat:

  1. Remove the sardines from the can and coat them in the paste. Optionally you can use a blow torch to slightly burn the coating.

  2. Serve the sardines over rice. If you have it at home, I recommend adding some chopped scallions and sesame seeds as well.