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This above is Ingen no Gomae or, as we call it here in English speaking countries, Green Beans with Sesame Sauce. This came out fine, though my wife thought I should have added more peanut butter to the mix (tahini would make more sense). The dish is simple and uncomplicated; boil some green beans for about three minutes, douse in ice water so they keep their cool, and then add sugar, mirin, soy sauce and a couple of tablespoons of mortar-and-pestle-ground sesame seeds and you’re golden. You have the option of adding tahini to step up the flavor and make it creamier, of course. It would have made my wife happier, but she dubbed the food ‘acceptable’ (meaning that there wasn’t anything about the dish that made it to ‘we must serve it at a party’ gushing). No arguments there.

The big letdown was my attempt at unagi Donburi. I had some frozen eel from a Vietnamese producer I had gotten at a local Asian grocery, but sadly, it wasn’t anywhere close to the Japanese fillets of same, already cooked and marinated. This, as it turned out on the cutting board, wasn’t just raw and uncooked, but upon finishing its broiling period, it still had bones. Bummer, as I had to pick it apart, effectively shredding the meat in the bone-removal process.

Moreover, the flesh was kinda more rubberier than expected, so neither of us made much headway through much more than the rice and the green beans. The marinade for the eel came out fine…though wasted. While I have no objection to uncooked eel and preparing it myself, this evening’s meal made me long for the real thing. Alas, unagi prices have gotten crazy in recent years, so I’ll have to figure out something. Much as I enjoy eel, there are enough other fish out there more reasonably priced to pursue.

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