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(Courtesy of Gyokusen Eel Restaurant)

1. Go to the fish market early in the morning so that you can begin preparing the eel at about 10 a.m.

2. Hit the eel on the head with an special "eel knife" until it stops moving. Use a meuchi (prick punch) to attach the eel to the chopping block.

3. Cut off the head.

4. Split the back of the eel and remove the liver, backbone and tail, as well as the bone in front.
In the Kansai district, they split the stomach instead of the back.
The liver is made into grilled liver, while the bones are dried and made into bone crackers.

5. Before sticking the eel on skewers, cut it into a head-tail ratio of 4:6.

6. Insert bamboo skewers between the skin of the eel and the meat. Wear protective covers on your fingertips so that you don't prick yourself while inserting the skewers.

7. Grill the eel so that it is browned on both sides but without letting the fat melt away.
Remove the gills at this time.

8. Steam the grilled eel for about 20 minuets in a steamer.

9. Once again grill the eel, this time while basting with sauce. Baste with sauce three times so that the flavor sinks in.

10. Remove the skewers and the kabayaki is done.
For unaju, pour some sauce on top of rice and then place the kabayaki on top.

*Some Japanese people also like to sprinkle these dishes with sansho (Japanese pepper).