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How to Make Eel Sauce at Home

Eel sauce is a thick and sweet sauce that is eaten with eel rolls, sushi, or dragon rolls. Now you can easily make it at home as well, with some guidance from this story.

Special Day!

The midsummer day of the Ox (doyo no ushi no hi) is a special day in Japan when unagi (eel) is eaten.
Fish is a staple ingredient of Japanese cuisine. Freshwater eel, also called unagi in Japanese, is very popular not only in Japan, but all over the world. Eel dishes are served in specialty restaurants as they are very expensive. Usually, eel is cooked and served on a bed of rice.
Unagi sauce is a thick and sweet sauce that is eaten with grilled eel, eel rolls, dragon rolls, or nigiri (sushi). It has soy sauce, which is used on a huge scale in Japanese dishes as its base ingredient. Fish broths are popularly used to give a distinct flavor to the food.
Although eel sauce is easily available in the market, it is just a base sauce. You can make eel sauce easily at home. It requires a few basic ingredients and very less time. It can be combined with many different traditional as well as modern dishes. Moreover, it can be stored in the refrigerator.

How to Make Unagi Sauce at Home

Basic Recipe
♨ Soy sauce, ½ cup
♨ Mirin (sweet rice wine), ½ cup
♨ Sugar, ¼ cup
♨ Eel bones
♨ Grill the eel bones.
♨ Measure and pour rice wine in a pan, and put the pan on high heat.
♨ Once it starts boiling, add the eel bones and reduce the heat.
♨ Add sugar and soy sauce. You can substitute sugar with honey.
♨ Let it simmer for a few minutes.
♨ Stir properly, and ensure that all the sugar has dissolved.
♨ Once it becomes syrupy, discard the bones.
♨ Let the sauce cool. You can store it in the refrigerator.

An Alternative

In case eel is not available, you can still make eel sauce! Wanna know how? Check out the recipe below.

♨ Dashi (fish stock), 1 cup
♨ Soy sauce, ½ cup
♨ Mirin (sweet rice wine), ½ cup
♨ Honey, ¼ cup
♨ Add all the ingredients in a pan.
♨ Cook till the sauce thickens.
♨ Let it cool.
♨ Your delicious eel sauce is ready to serve.

A Recipe Using Unagi Sauce

Stir-fried Eel
♨ Eel, 180 g
♨ Eel sauce, ½ cup
♨ Sesame oil, 2 tsp.
♨ Water, 2 tsp.
♨ Ginger root, ½ tsp. (crushed)
♨ Chili flakes, ¼ tsp.
♨ Salt, for taste

♨ Make 1-inch pieces of eel.
♨ Mix sesame oil, crushed ginger root, and chili flakes with water in a small bowl.
♨ Heat a pan, and add the mixture and the eel pieces in it.
♨ Stir-fry for a couple of minutes.
♨ Add the eel sauce, and fry till the eel is cooked.
♨ Serve hot with plain rice.


Traditionally, eel sauce is eaten with sushi or eel rolls.
♨ It can also be eaten with grilled chicken or fish for a different twist.
♨ Combine with fried noodles for a tangy taste.
If you love the sweet and tangy flavors, then eel sauce is perfect for you. Its sweetness makes it milder as well. All health-conscious people can opt for low-sodium soy sauce to reduce the salt intake, and still enjoy the flavor. You can use this sauce in many recipes of your own. Do share some of your own recipes that use eel sauce as well. Keep cooking ! Keep experimenting !

 Buzzle Staff

Caroline Attwood