You know it from your sushi, but what is actually in Japanese unagi sauce?

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So you like Japanese food and eel? Then you have probably already seen unagi sauce on menus and in recipes. But what exactly is it, what is it made of and what does it taste like? Culy has all the saucy answers ready for you.

What is unagi sauce?

Unagi sauce, also known as Unagi no Tare or eel sauce , is a sweet, sticky sauce packed with umami. It’s a type of thickened and sweetened soy sauce that is traditionally served with grilled eel, but these days it’s seen on many more barbecue dishes, even appearing in a bowl of unagi sauce next to a bowl of noodles or a Japanese snack.

What’s in it?

You don’t expect this, but no eel is involved in making unagi sauce. Compare it with fries sauce: you dip fries in it, you don’t put the fries in the sauce itself. So what’s in it?

Unagi sauce is usually made with a combination of soy sauce, sugar and mirin that gives the sauce body with its subtle sweet taste. Some chefs also add a dash of sake for a touch of umami. To make the sauce gluten-free, you can replace the soy sauce with tamari.

How do you make unagi sauce yourself?

Add 1/2 cup mirin, 1/2 cup soy sauce, and 5 tablespoons sugar and 3 tablespoons sake (if using) to a small saucepan and bring to a boil. Once the sauce boils, turn the heat down and let the sauce reduce for about 10 minutes, stirring constantly. Let the sauce cool and store in a jar in the fridge, it will keep for about two weeks.

Of course you have to make the sauce yourself. It is ready-made on the shelf at the toko, or order a bottle of the Yama brand at Tjin’s .

The best combinations

Traditionally, unagi sauce is used as a topping for dishes with eel, such as grilled eel, unaju (a rice dish with grilled eel fillet marinated in unagi sauce) or sushi with unagi. Today it has become so popular that it is also served with tofu, yaki onigiri and all kinds of barbecue dishes. You can also use it to glaze shrimp, on a Japanese rice bowl, or anywhere you would use a sweeter soy sauce.

Are you looking for a good replacement? Then use a teriyaki sauce, oyster sauce or stir a little soy sauce through some dark salty soy sauce.

Source: Culy by
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