If you love Japanese cuisine, you’ve probably heard of eel sauce, also known as unagi sauce.
This sweet and savory sauce is made with soy sauce, mirin, sugar, and eel or fish stock.
Eel sauce is often used as a glaze for grilled eel, but it’s also a popular condiment for sushi, rice bowls, and other Japanese dishes.
However, if you’re a vegetarian, vegan, or simply don’t like the taste of eel, you may be wondering what are the best substitutes for eel sauce.
Luckily, there are many alternatives to eel sauce that can add a similar umami flavor to your dishes.
Some of the best substitutes for eel sauce include teriyaki sauce, hoisin sauce, soy sauce, ponzu sauce, and Korean galbi sauce. Each of these sauces has a unique flavor profile and can be used in a variety of dishes, from stir-fries to marinades to dipping sauces.
In this article, we’ll explore the top 5 substitutes for eel sauce and how to use them in your favorite Japanese recipes.
Whether you’re a vegetarian looking for a meat-free alternative or simply want to try something new, these sauces are sure to add a delicious flavor to your dishes.
So, let’s dive in and discover the best substitutes for eel sauce!
Substitute 1: Teriyaki Sauce
Teriyaki sauce is a versatile sauce that can be used as a substitute for eel sauce. It is a sweet and savory sauce that is made from soy sauce, sugar, and mirin.
Teriyaki sauce has a similar flavor profile as eel sauce but is less thick and has a lighter consistency. It is commonly used as a marinade for grilled meats and fish, but it can also be used as a dipping sauce for sushi and other Japanese dishes.
When using teriyaki sauce as a substitute for eel sauce, it is important to note that it may not be as rich and flavorful as eel sauce. However, it is a good alternative for those who are unable to find eel sauce or prefer a lighter sauce.
Here are some dishes that teriyaki sauce can be used as a substitute for eel sauce:
- Unagi Don (grilled eel over rice)
- Dragon Roll (sushi roll with eel and avocado)
- Teriyaki Salmon
- Teriyaki Chicken
Overall, teriyaki sauce is a great substitute for eel sauce and can be used in a variety of dishes. It has a similar flavor profile and can be found in most grocery stores or made at home with simple ingredients.
Substitute 2: Hoisin Sauce
Hoisin sauce is a popular Chinese sauce that is made from soybeans, garlic, vinegar, and chili peppers. It has a sweet and salty flavor that makes it a great alternative to eel sauce.
Hoisin sauce is thicker than eel sauce, but it can be thinned out with a little bit of water or soy sauce.
You can use hoisin sauce as a marinade for meats or as a dipping sauce for sushi. It can also be used as a glaze for roasted vegetables or tofu.
When using hoisin sauce as a substitute for eel sauce, keep in mind that it is sweeter and thicker. You may need to adjust the amount of sauce you use, or thin it out with water or soy sauce.
Substitute 3: Oyster Sauce
Oyster sauce is a thick, rich, and savory sauce that is commonly used in Asian cuisine. It is made by simmering oysters in water and soy sauce until the liquid is reduced and thickened.
Although it does not have the same sweet and salty flavor as eel sauce, oyster sauce can be a great substitute because it has a similar umami flavor profile. It is also readily available in most grocery stores and can be used in a variety of dishes.
Here are some dishes that can be made with oyster sauce:
- Stir-fry vegetables and meat with oyster sauce
- Use oyster sauce in marinades for meats
- Add oyster sauce to soups and stews for added depth of flavor
When using oyster sauce as a substitute for eel sauce, keep in mind that it is saltier and less sweet. You may need to adjust the amount of sugar or honey in your recipe to balance out the flavors.
Substitute 4: Worcestershire Sauce
Worcestershire sauce is a popular condiment that is often used in marinades, sauces, and dressings. It has a tangy, savory flavor that is similar to eel sauce. If you don’t have eel sauce on hand, Worcestershire sauce can be a great substitute.
Here are some ways you can use Worcestershire sauce as a substitute for eel sauce:
- Use it as a marinade for grilled meats, such as chicken or steak.
- Add it to stir-fry dishes for an extra burst of flavor.
- Mix it with mayonnaise and spread it on a sandwich or burger.
- Use it as a dipping sauce for sushi or dumplings.
Keep in mind that Worcestershire sauce does have a stronger flavor than eel sauce, so you may want to use it sparingly at first and adjust the amount to your taste.
If you’re looking for a vegetarian or vegan alternative to Worcestershire sauce, you can try using soy sauce or tamari sauce instead. These sauces have a similar umami flavor and can be used in many of the same ways as Worcestershire sauce.
Substitute 5: Soy Sauce
Soy sauce is a popular condiment in many Asian cuisines, and it can be used as a substitute for eel sauce. While it doesn’t have the same sweet and savory flavor as eel sauce, soy sauce can add a salty umami flavor to your dish. It’s also readily available in most grocery stores, making it a convenient option.
When using soy sauce as a substitute, keep in mind that it’s thinner and less viscous than eel sauce. You may need to use more soy sauce to achieve a similar flavor and consistency. You can also add a little bit of sugar or honey to the soy sauce to enhance the sweetness and mimic the flavor of eel sauce.
Here are some dishes that you can use soy sauce as a substitute for eel sauce:
- Sushi rolls
- Stir-fry dishes
- Grilled meats and vegetables
The 5 Best Substitutes for Eel Sauce
- Teriyaki Sauce
- Hoisin Sauce
- Oyster Sauce
- Worcestershire Sauce
- Soy Sauce
- Pick your favorite substitute from the list above.
- Follow cooking directions for your selected substitute with the proper ratio of ingredients.
Jenny has always been passionate about cooking, and she uses her platform to share her joy of food with others. Her recipes are easy to follow, and she loves giving tips and tricks to help others create their own unique culinary creations.