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Homemade Eel Sauce Recipe (Unagi Sauce)

This versatile eel sauce recipe is a game-changer for seafood lovers, requiring only four ingredients to achieve a sweet and savory flavor profile that’s perfect for pairing with various dishes. Despite its name, the sauce doesn’t actually contain eel, but rather offers a delightful combination of caramelized, salty, and sweet notes reminiscent of high-quality sauces.As a flavorful boost for your favorite recipes, this homemade eel sauce is sure to impress. It’s an excellent way to elevate your sushi or add a tasty twist to seafood dishes, making it a must-try for anyone looking to take their cooking to the next level.If you’re a fan of homemade sauces, be sure to check out my gluten-free sweet and sour sauce recipe for another versatile option. For a seafood-focused recipe, I recommend trying my salmon and fresh vegetables with creamy white wine sauce – it’s a mouthwatering combination that’s sure to please.

Why You’ll Love This Recipe

This unagi sauce, also referred to as eel sauce, is a remarkable condiment that effortlessly elevates the flavor profile of various dishes. With just four ingredients and a mere 10-minute preparation time, it’s an ideal accompaniment for sushi rolls, sashimi, or shrimp ceviche. Its versatility lies not only in its ability to complement a range of culinary creations but also in its simplicity, making it accessible to even the most novice of cooks. Moreover, the sauce can be tailored to suit individual tastes by adjusting its thickness and sweetness levels.

How to Make Homemade Eel Sauce

To prepare the eel sauce, follow these steps: Start by combining mirin, soy sauce, sugar, and rice wine vinegar in a saucepan. Heat the mixture over medium heat, stirring frequently, until it has reduced to a thick syrup-like consistency. This process typically takes around 10 minutes. If the sauce becomes too concentrated, simply add small increments of water to achieve your preferred level of thickness. Once ready, this homemade eel sauce is an excellent accompaniment for dishes like shrimp ceviche, sushi, sashimi, or any seafood-based meal.

Substitutions and Variations

When experimenting with this eel sauce recipe, you can incorporate regional flavors by adding eggs, dashi, or sake. For those adhering to a gluten-free diet, ensure your mirin and soy sauce are gluten-free to maintain the integrity of the recipe. If you prefer a sweeter or saltier taste, adjust the sweetness or saltiness by adding more sugar or soy sauce, respectively. As an alternative to mirin, sweet marsala wine, dry sherry, or even dry white wine can be used as substitutes. However, keep in mind that using dry white wine will require increasing the sugar content to compensate for the lack of natural sweetness.

Serving Suggestions

When it comes to seafood, this eel sauce is a game-changer. Its versatility makes it perfect for drizzling over sushi, sashimi, or any other seafood dishes, whether plain or in a ceviche. The sauce’s bold flavor complements the delicate taste of fish without overpowering it. I’m particularly fond of using it with fresh Mexican-style shrimp ceviche and avocado – the combination is sublime.

But the eel sauce isn’t just limited to seafood. It also pairs beautifully with grilled meats. The sweet and salty flavors of the sauce work in harmony with the charred, smoky notes that come from grilling food. Whether you’re looking for a new way to elevate your BBQ game or seeking inspiration for a summer cookout, this eel sauce is definitely worth exploring.

How to Store Unagi Sauce

When your eel sauce has cooled, consider storing any leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator. The sauce should remain fresh for as long as two weeks. If you’d rather preserve it for later use, freezing is also an option. To freeze, allow the sauce to cool before transferring it to a freezer-safe container. It can be safely stored frozen for up to two months. When you’re ready to enjoy your preserved sauce, simply let it thaw overnight in the refrigerator.

Top Tips

When preparing eel sauce, it’s crucial to select the right soy sauce. If possible, opt for a low-sodium and gluten-free option to maintain control over the saltiness level and ensure dietary restrictions are accommodated. Additionally, this choice allows for flexibility in tailoring the flavor to individual preferences. To achieve the perfect consistency, reduce the sauce in the pan with caution, as it will thicken upon cooling. If necessary, a small amount of water can be added to adjust the thickness. Furthermore, frequent stirring is vital while cooking ingredients, as it ensures even flavor distribution and prevents the sauce from sticking to the pan’s surface.

Homemade Unagi Sauce FAQs

When considering whether eel sauce is gluten-free, the primary focus lies on ensuring that the mirin and soy sauce used in its preparation are themselves gluten-free. By making this adjustment, one can successfully create a gluten-free eel sauce. In terms of appearance and flavor, eel sauce takes on a dark brown syrup-like texture and presents a complex taste profile characterized by notes of saltiness, smokiness, sweetness, and neutrality all at once. Interestingly, the name ‘eel sauce’ does not stem from any actual presence of eel in the mixture – much like duck sauce, which also lacks duck content. To adjust the consistency of this sauce for seafood, one can employ a straightforward process: if the sauce proves too thick, adding small increments of water will gradually achieve a desired syrup-like thickness; conversely, should the sauce be too thin, a brief period of simmering will serve to thicken it further.

Eel Sauce Recipe

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Homemade Eel Sauce – Unagi Sauce

This unagi sauce, also affectionately known as homemade eel sauce, is a remarkably easy and adaptable condiment that requires only four ingredients. With its harmonious balance of sweet and tangy flavors, it’s an ideal accompaniment to your favorite seafood dishes. This recipe’s impressive efficiency allows you to prepare the sauce in just 10 minutes, making it a great addition to any meal. The 5-minute prep time ensures that this condiment can be quickly incorporated into your culinary repertoire.


In a medium-sized saucepan, bring all the ingredients together and simmer over moderate heat for approximately 10 minutes, stirring frequently. As the mixture reduces, it will naturally thicken into a rich syrup-like consistency. It’s essential to monitor its texture closely, as it will continue to thicken upon cooling. If the desired thickness is exceeded, simply add small increments of water until the sauce reaches the ideal consistency. This versatile condiment is perfect for serving alongside shrimp ceviche, sushi, sashimi, or any other seafood dish.