How To Make Eel Sauce: A couple of weeks ago, my boyfriend and I went out for sushi when we stumbled upon a truly delicious appetizer plate, which was a combination of crunchy rice and raw fish with an eel sauce drizzle.
He asked me what eel sauce was as he (literally) licked the plate clean of the dark brown syrup. I answered: It is similar to duck sauce in that it is named after a dish, but is not made of eel at all.
It was honestly the first time I was unfamiliar with what it was actually made of… or if I could replicate it at home.
Upon starting a search for eel sauce online, I discovered there isn’t much information available. There isn’t even a Wikipedia entry. Even searching indexes of Japanese cookbooks didn’t provide me with much information.
Since eel sauce is named for its use, I went looking for recipes of Japanese barbecue eel with a honey-like dark brown sauce. Thus, I found the eel sauce I was looking for, though not as I had anticipated.
When I realized that eel sauce is named for its purpose, I began searching for Japanese barbecue eel recipes… but discovered most ended with a dark brown sauce in the honey-like family. I had found exactly what I wanted, even if it wasn’t called that.
What is Eel Sauce?
In addition to grilled eel, this sauce is commonly used in other dishes such as unagi don (Unadon), unagi sushi, or unagi don.
The sauce is a thick and sweetened type of soy sauce. The best eel sauce, however, is a homemade recipe. Commercial brands are available in the market, but the best is homemade.
Why this Recipe Works
It can be made in just 10 minutes or less. The sauce is incredibly versatile and can be served with meat, fish, or vegetables, vegan sushi, or veg sushi rolls.
My personal favourite dip for deep-fried shrimp or vegetables that have been battered in Japanese tempura batter!
Where to Buy Eel Sauce (Unagi Sauce)
If you don’t have the confidence to make it at home or you are short on time, you may want to skip making homemade sauce. Those who live in Japan can buy pre-bottled ones in the condiments section of their local grocers; Asian grocers have it too.
If you don’t have an option nearby, order it from Amazon.
Ingredients for Eel Sauce
I’m using 100ml of mirin, which is about 6 1/2 teaspoons, to add sweet and acidic notes and create a sticky texture.
I use 3 1/2 tablespoons to give the sauce a sweet taste and give it a sticky texture. You can always add more to the taste if you want it to be sweeter. I recommend adding 1 more teaspoon at a time after tasting.
What better way to add umami to this sauce than with soy sauce. I’m using 100 ml, which will equal about 6 1/2 tablespoons.
Incorporate 2 1/2 tablespoons of cooking sake or your favorite sake to give the sauce a touch of fruitiness and bitterness.
How to Make Eel Sauce?
- Cook the sauce for 15-20 minutes on low heat until it is still bubbling.
- In a small saucepan, combine the sauce ingredients and bring it to a boil. When the mixture has thickened, remove it from the heat and let it cool to room temperature (it will thicken as it cools).
- Refrigerate your sauce once it has been bottled or stored in a container. Enjoy!
- To make eel sauce vegetarian, use soy sauce or tamari instead of water. If you’re looking for gluten-free options, try tamari instead of liquid amino.
How To Make Eel Sauce Without Mirin?
- In a small saucepan add 1/4 cup plus 4 teaspoons (64 g) of sugar, 1/2 cup (120 ml) of soy sauce, and 1/2 cup (120 ml) of rice vinegar. The dishes can be prepared using several different types of wine instead of rice vinegar, including dry sherry, sweet marsala wine, or white dry wine.
- Slowly stir the sauce until the sugar dissolves and let it simmer until you have reached the desired thickness. Turn the heat down to low and simmer until the sauce is as thick as you like it. When the sugar dissolves, stop cooking as soon as the sauce is thin. When it is thicker, simmer it for ten to twenty minutes.
- Cool and then, proceed to use the sauce. Before you pour the eel sauce into a storage container or squirt bottle, let it cool completely.
- Drizzle the eel sauce over your favorite noodles or sushi or any other dish. Store it in the refrigerator and use it any time you want.
What To Serve Eel Sauce With?
- Sweet and savoury sauces can be used in so many ways!
- A few of the most common items to use unagi sauce on are grilled eels, but there are so many other uses for it as well.
- This sauce tastes great on grilled vegetables, fish, beef, and tofu (perfect for barbecue season). It can even be used on sandwiches and pasta dishes. pizzas (it’s so good on pizza!), lightly brushed on yaki onigiri (grilled rice ball), and drizzled on sushi.
Here are some recipes you can pair eel sauce with:
- Baked chicken katsu
- California rolls
- Temari sushi
- Onigiri (how to make onigiri – 4 different flavours)
- Reduce the sauce a bit more if it is too thin.
- Over-reducing it can be easily fixed by slowly adding water until the proper consistency is achieved. You will see some thinning when it is heated.
1. How Long does Eel Sauce Last?
Eel sauce can be kept in the fridge for about two weeks. Eel sauce bought from a store is preserved with preservatives so it can keep for several months.
Even if you don’t use it frequently, you can freeze eel sauce. You can thaw your frozen sauce by putting it in a small saucepan and heating it on low until it is hot. It should be stored in an airtight container.
2. Does This Unagi Sauce Taste Fishy?
Even though this sauce is just right for eel sushi, it does not taste fishy. This sauce is frequently considered to be made of eel, and this is an untrue belief. That’s not the case.
Originally named after the freshwater eel it is used for (eel sushi), this sauce has become one of the most popular sauces.