How to Make Eel Sauce | Sushi Lessons
How to Make Eel Sauce
If you love the salty sweet sauce that's served with unagi sushi, make some at home! Because eel sauce, also known as nitsume, doesn't actually contain eel, you can easily mix it up at home using basic Asian ingredients. Heat the sauce with a bit of cornstarch to make a thickened eel sauce or whisk together a thinner sauce that doesn't contain mirin or alcohol. Use your eel sauce on sushi, as a marinade, or as a flavoring for cooked noodles.
Thick Eel Sauce
2/3 cup (130 g) sugar
4 teaspoons (8 g) dashi
1 cup (240 ml) soy sauce
1 cup (240 ml) mirin
1/2 cup (120 ml) sake
1 tablespoon (9 g) cornstarch
2 tablespoons (30 ml) water
Makes 1 1/2 cups (375 ml)
Mirin-Free Eel Sauce
1/2 cup (120 ml) soy sauce
1/2 cup (120 ml) rice vinegar
1/4 cup plus 4 teaspoons (64 g) sugar
Makes about 1 cup (240 ml)
Making Thick Eel Sauce
Measure the liquids and sugar into a pot.Pour 2/3 cup (130 g) of sugar into a medium-sized pot and add 4 teaspoons (8 g) of dashi, 1 cup (240 ml) of mirin, and 1/2 cup (120 ml) of sake.
- Ensure that you're using dashi granules, not already dissolved dashi.
Stir and heat the mixture over high heat.Turn the heat on to high and stir until the sugar is dissolved. The liquids should begin to boil.
Add the soy sauce and bring the sauce to a boil.Stir in 1 cup (240 ml) of soy sauce and keep heating the sauce over high heat until it comes to a boil again.
Reduce the heat and simmer the sauce for 15 to 20 minutes.Turn the heat down to medium or lower, so the sauce bubbles gently. Stir the sauce occasionally and let it simmer for 15 to 20 minutes.
Dissolve the cornstarch in the water.Measure 1 tablespoon (9 g) of cornstarch into a small prep bowl. Stir in 2 tablespoons (30 ml) of cold water until the cornstarch dissolves into a slurry.
Whisk the cornstarch slurry into the sauce.Turn the heat to medium-low and slowly whisk the cornstarch slurry into the eel sauce. Keep whisking to prevent lumps of cornstarch from forming.
Bring the sauce to a boil.Keep whisking and heating the sauce until it comes to a boil. The sauce should thicken quickly and make bigger bubbles. Turn off the heat and let the sauce cool completely.
Use or store the cooled eel sauce.The eel sauce will thicken even more as it cools. Transfer the sauce to a squeeze bottle or storage container. Drizzle the sauce over unagi sushi rolls, grilled meats, or rice noodles. You can also use it as a dipping sauce.
- Store the eel sauce in the refrigerator and use it within 5 days. It may become even thicker as it's chilled.
Making Mirin-Free Eel Sauce
Measure the ingredients into a pan.Pour 1/2 cup (120 ml) of soy sauce, 1/2 cup (120 ml) of rice vinegar, and 1/4 cup plus 4 teaspoons (64 g) of sugar into a small saucepan.
- If you don't want to use rice vinegar, you can substitute dry sherry, sweet marsala wine, or dry white wine.
Stir and simmer the sauce.Turn the heat on to low and stir the sauce until the sugar dissolves. Let the sauce bubble gently and simmer it until it's as thick as you want it to be.
- For example, for a thin sauce, turn off the heat as soon as the sugar dissolves. For a thicker sauce, simmer it for 10 to 20 minutes.
Cool and use the sauce.Let the eel sauce cool completely before you pour it into a squirt bottle or storage container. Drizzle the eel sauce over your favorite sushi, cooked noodles, or grilled meats.
- Store the eel sauce in the refrigerator and use it within 5 days.
To make eel sauce, stir together ⅔ cup of sugar, 4 teaspoons of dashi, 1 cup of mirin, and 1/2 a cup of sake into a pot on high heat. When the liquid boils, mix in 1 cup of soy sauce and keep heating the mixture. Once it starts to boil, turn the heat down so the sauce simmers for 15 to 20 minutes. In a separate bowl, mix 1 tablespoon of cornstarch with 2 tablespoons of cold water. Add the cornstarch mixture into the sauce and bring it to a boil again. Let the sauce cool before using or storing it.
Video: How to Make Eel Sauce
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