Eel Sauce



Eel sauce, also known as Nitsume, is a thick, sweet and salty sauce prepared with or made to enhance eel. It is very dark in color and the flavor is extremely concentrated. This Japanese sauce is served with sushi, more specifically eel rolls and can also be used as a marinade for fish and chicken. Today, many make eel sauce by combining mirin, soy sauce, and sugar since very few have access to eel bones or stock so achieving that concentrated flavor depends solely on the ingredients used, cook time and ratios. Nitsume actually means “boiling down” which is how the sauce is made. Since the original recipe includes eel, authentic eel sauce is almost never made at home but the simpler version is easy to prepare and you still get all the important layers in addition to the thick consistency. All you have to do is replace the eel with fish stock so the sauce still has that element of the sea.

Place of Origin: Recipe difficulty:
Japan Medium
Preparation Time: Cook Time:
2 minutes 20 minutes
Yields: 1 cup of sauce, servings vary

!!!! Ingredients

  • 4 tablespoons of fish or eel stock (if you can find it)
  • 1 cup mirin
  • 2/3 cup light brown sugar
  • 1 cup dark soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 1 teaspoon cornstarch
  • Black pepper, optional

How to Make !!!!?

!!!! Sauce – Step by Step Instructions:

1. Pour the stock and mirin in a saucepan with the brown sugar.
2. Stir and bring to a boil over medium-high heat.
3. When boiling and the sugar has dissolved, add the soy sauce.
4. Bring to a boil again and reduce to a simmer.
5. Leave to simmer for 12-15 minutes. Cook time is up when the sauce changes color and begins to boil again.
6. Combine the water and cornstarch in a small bowl. This will thicken the sauce.
7. When boiling again, stir in the cornstarch slurry.
8. Remove the sauce from the heat and add some black pepper if desired.
9. Serve.

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Ideas to Use – !!!

Eel sauce and unagi (eel) sushi complement each other beautifully although any sushi will do. Pour the sauce into a small bowl for dipping, serve and eat. Even though the sauce is often served alongside sushi, it pairs surprisingly well with duck and as you may have guessed, char grilled eel and fish. Use it as a dipping sauce or brush onto the product as you would a glaze. As for sides, edamame and eel sauce is a must try.


!!! is fit for:

Pescatarian, low-fat and gluten-free diets (just use real mirin).

Eel sauce is probably unlike any sauce you have tasted before, especially if you get your hands on some eel stock. Eel has a unique flavor and translates that flavor to the sauce. As stated in the ingredients list, fish stock will do. Other substitutions include replacing sugar with honey and mirin with rice vinegar or white wine. The slurry can also be omitted if desired but it is recommended that you increase cook time to achieve the desired thickness.

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Category: Savory sauces

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