I've always love eating this dark eel sauce that goes with eel rolls at our favorite sushi restaurants. It's got a dark color it's sweet, a little salty, and slightly savory.

What is in eel sauce? What makes it sweet and so concentrated with flavor? Also, why is it called eel sauce?

  • I am sad to hear that there is soy in eel sauce. It is tough to do sushi while avoiding soy. – user17250 Mar 13 '13 at 20:40


  • sweet -> sugar+mirin (rice wine)
  • salt -> soy
  • savory -> soy+mirin+eel bones

At home, you probably won't be able to manage eel bones boiled down into stock. Ignoring that, it's all a matter of mixing and reducing.

Sugar+soy+mirin, reduce to 1/3, revel in the joy of caramel and salt and sharpness.

  • You could also just reduce teriyaki or tempura sauce if you have them lying around - they're all pretty similar in taste, minus the eel bones. – Aaronut Nov 26 '11 at 17:46
  • You could also possibly add some powdered dashi stock, for savory - it's not eel but it is made from fish and tends to add an umami flavor. – Yamikuronue Nov 29 '11 at 13:51
  • Heck, you might even be able to get away with sardines, very finely processed and strained, if you really cut the amount of soy. Experiment! – user14208 Nov 7 '12 at 14:31
  • 1
    @Dave Griffith, Mirin is not rice wine vinegar; but rather a type of rice wine, that is similar to sake (en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mirin). Rice wine vinegar is something else (en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rice_vinegar). – user14269 Nov 12 '12 at 15:08
  • @TheDude I edited the answer to reflect this. – Preston Mar 13 '13 at 22:02

The preparation is called Kabayaki, hence the Eel sauce is also called Kabayaki sauce.

Ingredients list:

  1. Hon Mirin: Alcohol & sweetness
  2. Naturally fermented soy sauce: Umami & saltiness
  3. Eel / fish bones: flavour(smell)

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