Why Is It Called Eel Sauce?

Eel sauce, also known as unagi sauce, is a sweet and savory Japanese sauce that is often used as a condiment for sushi, sashimi, and other Japanese dishes. Despite its name, eel sauce does not actually contain eel as an ingredient. In this article, we will explore the origins of eel sauce and why it is called that way.

Origins of Eel Sauce

Eel sauce was originally created in Japan as a condiment for grilled eel, which is a popular dish in Japanese cuisine. The sauce was made by simmering eel bones and other ingredients in a mixture of soy sauce, sake, and sugar. Over time, the sauce was refined and the use of eel bones was eliminated, resulting in a sauce that was suitable for use with a variety of dishes, not just eel.

Ingredients of Eel Sauce

While eel sauce does not contain eel, it is made using ingredients that are commonly used in Japanese cuisine. The primary ingredients of eel sauce are soy sauce, mirin, sugar, and sometimes sake or rice vinegar. The soy sauce provides the base flavor of the sauce, while the mirin and sugar add sweetness and depth of flavor.

Why is it called Eel Sauce?

Despite the fact that eel sauce does not contain eel, it is called eel sauce because it was originally created as a condiment for grilled eel. The sweet and savory flavor of the sauce complemented the rich and oily flavor of the eel, making it a popular condiment for the dish.

Over time, the popularity of eel sauce spread beyond its use with eel and it became a popular condiment for other Japanese dishes such as sushi, sashimi, and tempura. Today, eel sauce is a common condiment in Japanese restaurants around the world.

Variations of Eel Sauce

While the basic recipe for eel sauce remains the same, there are variations of the sauce that incorporate additional ingredients to create different flavors. For example, some recipes call for the addition of ginger or garlic to the sauce to add a spicy or pungent flavor. Other variations may use different types of sugar, such as brown sugar or honey, to add a different level of sweetness.

Conclusion

In conclusion, eel sauce is a popular Japanese condiment that is known for its sweet and savory flavor. Despite its name, eel sauce does not actually contain eel as an ingredient, but rather was originally created as a condiment for grilled eel. Today, eel sauce is used as a condiment for a variety of Japanese dishes and has become a popular ingredient in many fusion dishes around the world.

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