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The 5 Best Substitutes for Unagi Sauce

When it comes to eel sauce, there are two schools of thought: those who love it and those who think it’s too fishy.

But regardless of your opinion on the matter, there’s no denying that unagi sauce is a delicious and versatile ingredient that can be used in various dishes.

If you’ve never had unagi sauce before, it’s a sweet and savory sauce made from eel often used in Japanese cuisine.

And while it may sound strange to some, trust us when we say that it’s truly delicious.

So what are some dishes that you can make with unagi sauce? Well, it’s commonly used as a dipping sauce for tempura or sushi.

But it can also be used as a marinade for grilled meats or vegetables.

Trust us; once you try unagi sauce, you’ll be hooked.

However, we understand that not everyone is a fan of eel sauce.

So if you’re looking for a substitute, read on for our five best substitutes for unagi sauce.

What is Unagi Sauce?

what is unagi sauce

First of all, what is unagi sauce? It’s a type of dark, sweet soy sauce that’s commonly used in Japanese cuisine.

The word “unagi” actually means “eel” in Japanese, but don’t let that fool you – there’s no eel in the sauce.

Unagi sauce is made from various ingredients, including soy sauce, mirin, sake, sugar, and sometimes even fruits and vegetables.

While the exact recipe can vary depending on who’s making it, unagi sauce is typically a thick, dark brown color with a sweet and savory flavor.

It’s commonly used as a dipping sauce for grilled eel (hence the name), but it can also be used in various other dishes.

In terms of consistency, unagi sauce is similar to other thick sauces like teriyaki or BBQ sauce.

It’s smooth and slightly sticky, making it perfect for coating grilled meats or vegetables.

Depending on how it’s used, unagi sauce can either be a dipping sauce or a glaze.

If you’re interested in trying unagi sauce, there are a few different ways to cook with it.

One of the most common is to use it as a marinade for grilled meats or vegetables.

Brush the sauce on whatever you’re grilling and let it sit for a few minutes before cooking.

Another popular way to use unagi sauce is in stir-fries or noodle dishes.

Just add a few spoonfuls to your dish while cooking to boost flavor.

You can also use it as a dipping sauce for tempura or sushi.

The 5 Best Substitutes for Unagi Sauce

For those times when you can’t find unagi sauce, or you’re just looking for something different, there are a few good substitutes to choose from.

1. Teriyaki Sauce

teriyaki sauce

First on our list is teriyaki sauce.

This is a popular Japanese sauce made from soy sauce, mirin, sake, and sugar.

While unagi and teriyaki sauces are similar, teriyaki is slightly sweeter and not as smoky.

In terms of consistency, teriyaki sauce is thinner than unagi sauce and has a more watery texture.

It’s also less sticky, making it ideal for use as a marinade or glaze.

Teriyaki sauce has a versatile flavor with chicken, seafood, and vegetables.

It’s also a popular ingredient in Japanese cooking, so you’ll often find it used in sushi rolls or served as a dipping sauce for tempura.

2. BBQ Sauce

bbq sauce

The next time you’re at the grocery store, take a look at the BBQ sauce aisle.

You’ll find a variety of different flavors, all of which can be used as a substitute for unagi sauce.

When choosing a BBQ sauce to use as a substitute, it’s important to consider the flavor profile you’re looking for.

If you want something sweet and savory, look for a honey-based BBQ sauce.

For something smoky, go for a sauce that contains chipotle peppers.

And if you’re feeling adventurous, you can always make your BBQ sauce at home.

Experiment with different ingredients until you find a flavor combination that you love.

Who knows, you might even come up with a new favorite recipe.

3. Hoisin Sauce

hoisin sauce

Since its creation, hoisin sauce has become a popular ingredient in many cuisines.

It is commonly used as a dipping sauce, a marinade, or even an ingredient in other sauces.

Hoisin sauce is made from various ingredients, including soybeans, sweet potatoes, wheat flour, sugar, salt, and various spices.

The sauce is typically a dark brown or red and has a thick, sticky consistency.

It is also quite sweet, with healthy soybeans and spices.

Hoisin sauce can be found in most Asian markets and many supermarkets.

There are many ways to use hoisin sauce in cooking.

It is often used as a dipping sauce for dumplings or spring rolls.

It can also be used as a marinade for meats, such as chicken or pork.

Hoisin sauce can also be added to other sauces to add a more complex flavor.

4. Soy Sauce

soy sauce

One of the most commonly used condiments globally, soy sauce is a staple in many pantries.

But what exactly is soy sauce?

Soy sauce is a fermented liquid made from soybeans, wheat, salt, and water.

It has a salty, umami flavor that can enhance other foods.

Soy sauce is used in many Asian cuisines, including Chinese, Japanese, and Korean.

Soy sauce is a good substitute if you’re out of unagi sauce.

It has a similar salty, umami flavor.

Soy sauce is also thinner than unagi sauce, so it may not be ideal for dipping sushi.

But it can be used in dishes that call for unagi sauce, such as stir-fries or marinades.

5. Worcestershire Sauce

worcestershire sauce

The last on our list of substitutes is Worcestershire sauce.

This sauce is made from various ingredients, including vinegar, tamarind, molasses, sugar, and spices.

It has a complex flavor that is both sweet and sour, with a hint of umami.

Worcestershire sauce can be used to substitute for unagi sauce in many dishes.

It has a similar flavor profile and can add depth and complexity to a dish.

However, it is important to remember that Worcestershire sauce is much saltier than unagi sauce.

Therefore, you may need to adjust the amount of salt in your recipe accordingly.

Depending on the other ingredients in your dish, Worcestershire sauce can also substitute for soy sauce.

It has a similar umami flavor and can help round out the flavors in a dish.

However, it is important to remember that Worcestershire sauce is much sweeter than soy sauce.

Conclusion

Unagi sauce is an umami-rich soy sauce-based condiment commonly used in Japanese cuisine.

However, it can be difficult to find and expensive.

Fortunately, a few substitutes can be used in its place.

Hoisin sauce, soy sauce, and Worcestershire sauce are good substitutes for unagi sauce.

Each has a similar flavor profile and can be used in many of the same dishes.

When choosing a substitute for unagi sauce, it’s important to consider the other flavors in your dish.

If you’re looking for a sweeter flavor, hoisin sauce or Worcestershire sauce would be a good choice.

If you’re looking for a saltier flavor, soy sauce would be a better choice.

Yield: 1 Serving

The 5 Best Substitutes for Unagi Sauce

The 5 Best Substitutes for Unagi Sauce
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes

Ingredients

  • Teriyaki Sauce
  • BBQ Sauce
  • Hoisin Sauce
  • Soy Sauce
  • Worcestershire Sauce

Instructions

  1. Pick your favorite substitute from the list above.
  2. Follow cooking directions for your selected substitute with the proper ratio of ingredients.
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