Oranda Zushi (Hand Rolled Sushi with Dutch Smoked Eel)

Smoked eel fillets are a delicacy easily found in Dutch delicatessens and supermarkets. They are even sold at the airport. Whenever Ro-Ri San stops over Schiphol Airport in Amsterdam, he will buy a pack together with my favorite Gouda cheese to bring home. Smoked eel is usually eaten on buttered toast and is offered as part of a Dutch style fish platter with smoked mackerel and other seafood.

The long thin strips of fillet remind me of sushi quality fish suitable for hand rolled sushi. Instead of serving them on toasts, I combined them with Japanese vinegar rice to make a fusion sushi. The creamy wasabi mayo helped bind the two together and the salty capers gave the sushi a contrast of taste and texture. I must say they turned out really well and were a quite a treat!

Why have I called this dish Oranda Sushi? Well, the Dutch were the second group of Europeans after the Portuguese to trade with the Japanese. In the aftermath of the expulsion of the Catholic missionaries from Japan, only the Dutch were allowed to remain at their trading post on an island off the port of Nagasaki. Despite the separation, the Japanese were intrigued by many Dutch things and collectively labeled them “Oranda”, a corruption of the name of Holland. So, there you have it. πŸ˜€

This hand rolled method of sushi was adapted from the book, Sushi, Taste and Technique.

Oranda Zushi (Hand Rolled Sushi with Dutch Eel)
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Serves: 4 servings
  • 1 tbsp vegenaise or mayonnaise
  • Β½ tsp wasabi paste
  • 4 strips (2 oz /55g) smoked Dutch eel fillet
  • 2 tsp lemon juice
  • ΒΌtsp dried dill weed
  • 2 cups sushi rice from 1 cup uncooked rice
  • 1 tsp capers (optional)
  1. Combine vegenaise or mayonnaise with wasabi paste in a small bowl. Set aside. Cut each strip of eel into 4 pieces of 2 inch lengths. Drizzle lemon juice and sprinkle dill weed over eel.
  2. Fill a large bowl with water. Add 2 tablespoons of vinegar to the water. Use this to wet hands to prevent rice from sticking to them. Take a small handful of rice in one hand and gently mold into a rounded oblong. Place it down on a plate.
  3. Lay a piece of eel across fingers and dab a little wasabi mayo on the bottom side. Gently press ball of rice onto eel.
  4. Turn the sushi around so that the topping is on the top. Squeeze the sides of the sushi between index finger and thumb to shape and compact rice. Cup the sushi in left hand and use two fingers to press gently on the topping to further compact it.
  5. Repeat to shape sushi. Decorate with capers if desired.

Enjoy…..and have a wonderful day! 😎

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    • Biren says

      The smoked eel actually paired really nicely with the vinegar rice. Will definitely make it again if I get more smoked ell.

  1. says

    dutch smoked eye! That sounds so amazing.I love your creativity Biren. I just had sushi this weekend but I am telling you the truth yours looks wayyyy better than even our favorite sushi restaurant!

  2. says

    Interesting history of the food and the name. Dutch and Japanese fusion – that’s a first! I love Japanese smoked eel, but have never had Dutch smoked eel. It looks lighter in taste and texture from your pictures (which are lovely BTW). Wonderful looking Zushi!

    • Biren says

      Dutch eel has a lighter texture and the meat is quite delicate. That is why I thought it will pair well with the vinegar rice. I am pleased with the results.

  3. says

    I love the flavour of smoked eel, but find the bones really irksome! Is this Dutch smoked eel as bony as unagi and French smoked eel? Your sushi looks really delicious and makes me wish I could taste your Japanese cooking – it always looks gorgeous and I do think Japanese food is my most favoured kind of all, even more so than the sambals and gulais I love so much πŸ˜‰

    • Biren says

      So far, all the eel I have tasted did not have bones in them. This one is light and delicate with no bones either. I wouldn’t like it if it had bones.

      I am still very much a novice but I do enjoy preparing and eating Japanese food. I love my sambals and gulais! Don’t think I can live without the spicy stuff. πŸ˜€

    • Biren says

      Thank you! This Dutch smoked eel is quite light and has a delicate texture. Paired really well with the vinegar rice.

  4. Dongxing says

    I have never tasted smoked Dutch eel before. I enjoyed learning the step by step instructions on the shaped rice, mine had never turned out properly – they were always wonky and lopsided. I like the name too, and learning a little about the history. That’s the amazing thing about your blog, not just good food but very informative. Thanks for sharing, Biren.

    • Biren says

      It takes a little practice but you will eventually get the hang of it. Don’t worry if it doesn’t come out perfect. You know where it will all end up anyway, right?

      Thank you always for your kind words and support. It is a great source of encouragement for me. Hugs…xx

  5. says

    Wow! What a great way of working around with the “paling” – Dutch for eel. BTW, the Dutch may eat a lot of “paling” but their eels come from the UK (England, Scotland, Wales…)!! Surprise! Surprise! Neighbouring Belgium has her own “paling” recipe as well.
    Well done, Biren, for making these eels look so appetising πŸ˜€

    • Biren says

      Thanks for the info! I guess there is not much space along the coastline of the Netherlands to raise “paling”. That’s what neighbors are for. I will have to try Belgian “paling” one of these days.

      The smoked eel paired surprisingly well with the vinegar rice. :)

  6. says

    I so wanted to have some eel and also dome heering in the Netherlands, but I was brought to a Moroccan place :( Will have to find the time to buy some eel next time I am at schipol running from one gate to the next…

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