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If you’re an ardent sushi fan, you’d know that sushi dishes simply aren’t complete without the essential eel sauce served as a condiment. But does it even belong on a vegan-friendly menu? ‘Vegan or Not? Investigating Eel Sauce’ will delve deep into this subject, connecting all the dots and ensuring that you make informed decisions about veganism. Read on to discover what the answer is!
Vegan or Not? Investigating Eel Sauce

1. Is Eel Sauce Really Vegan?

Did you know that eel sauce is surprisingly vegan? Though the name may suggest otherwise, the truth is that there’s no eel involved in this classic Japanese dipping sauce. The sauce consists mainly of soy sauce, sugar, sake or mirin (rice wine), and some spices!

Whether or not eel sauce is a vegan-friendly condiment is a common source of confusion amongst vegans, but the good news is that it doesn’t contain any animal products. Here are some reasons you can enjoy the flavor of eel sauce guilt-free:

  • No Animals: The main ingredient in eel sauce is a combination of soy sauce, sugar, and spices, making it vegan-friendly!
  • Versatility: Eel sauce can be used as a dipping sauce, marinade, or cooking ingredient in many dishes.
  • Flavor: The umami-rich sauce has a tangy and sweet taste that adds complexity to all kinds of dishes.

So yes, it goes without saying that eel sauce is indeed vegan-friendly!
1. Is Eel Sauce Really Vegan?

2. Investigating the Ingredients of Eel Sauce

Many home chefs are curious about the unique flavor of eel sauce. What are the ingredients that make this sauce so delightful? Let’s investigate!


  • Soy Sauce – provides the sweetness and a hint of saltiness
  • Vinegar – enhances the umami flavor
  • Sugar – balances the vinegar and adds the right sweetness
  • Scallions – adds freshness and a slight onion flavor
  • Garlic – gives a sharp touch of flavor

Once these ingredients are mixed, they create an unforgettable flavor profile. This is why eel sauce is so beloved. The seasonings are carefully selected to enhance, rather than detract, from the other ingredients. With just a few ingredients, home chefs can create a truly special sauce that complements any dish.

3. What is the Origin of Eel Sauce?

Eel sauce, or unagi no tare in Japanese, is a sweet, rich and savory condiment made up of soy sauce, sake, mirin, and chopped anago or eel – hence its name! Its origins remain shrouded in mystery and debate has raged for decades as to where and when it first appeared.

One theory suggests that it was developed in Edo during the late 19th century. It was served on the side with sushi to cut through the flavors; a rather useful tool to have in the culinary arsenal of any sushi chef. It is said to have been very popular with the locals and gained notability until it eventually became a staple of Japanese cuisine.

  • It is believed that eel sauce was invented in Edo, Japan during the 19th century
  • It is a sweet, savory condiment made from soy sauce, sake, mirin, and diced anago or eel
  • Eel sauce was served on the side with sushi to cut through intense flavors
  • It is now an essential part of Japanese cuisine
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Alternatively, there is a story that links the invention of eel sauce to American occupation. The trainees at the American military base around Kisarazu region were served sushi with a certain kind of sauce. This sauce was made of soy sauce, sugar and sake, and this recipe was the origin of the modern eel sauce we know and love today.

4. Why is Eel Sauce Popular As a Vegan-Friendly Sauce?

Eel sauce is popular among vegan eaters for a few key reasons. First and foremost, the ingredients used in eel sauce are entirely plant-based. Soy sauce is made from fermented soybeans, Mirin is a type of rice wine, and sugar is derived from sugar cane or beets. This makes eel sauce vegan-friendly for those who are looking for alternative condiments to add flavor to their meals.

Eel sauce also has a robust flavor profile that is perfect for jazzing up vegan dishes. The sweet and savory combination of soy sauce and Mirin makes this sauce irresistible! Plus, it is a great way to add some umami to vegan dishes in need of a flavor boost. Whether used as a dip, marinade, or dressing, eel sauce can make vegan dishes more delicious and exciting. And with its creamy texture, it can also be used as a topping or garnish.

    The Benefits of Eel Sauce Include:

  • It is completely vegan-friendly.
  • It is sweet and savory.
  • It adds umami flavor.
  • It has a creamy texture.
  • It adds excitement to dishes.

5. Debunking Myths About Eel Sauce

1. Does eel sauce contain eel?

Contrary to popular belief, eel sauce does not actually contain any eels. Instead, this sweet and tangy condiment is a mixture of soy and Worcestershire sauces, vinegar, sugar, and other seasonings. This combination gives the sauce its unique flavor and is likely why it is often confused for an sauce made from eels.

2. Is eel sauce expensive?

The cost of eel sauce can vary depending on the brand and where it is purchased from, but it is rarely considered expensive. Most bottles of eel sauce can be found on grocery store shelves for three dollars or less. Furthermore, a bottle will usually last a long time since it typically requires only a small amount to achieve desired taste.

6. How to Cook With Eel Sauce in a Vegan Kitchen

Eel sauce may not appear as a classic vegan ingredient, but with a few tips and tricks, it can be a tasty addition to any vegan kitchen. Here are some basics on using eel sauce:

  • Substitute soy sauce – If you want to lighten up on the fishy flavor, substitute soy sauce with the eel sauce.
  • Bake it with vegetables – For a low-fat and vegan take on classic eel sauce dishes, try baking vegetables in a mixture of eel sauce and water – it will cook off some of the fishy flavor.
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Vegan sushi can be a bit more difficult to make but with a flavorful eel sauce addition, you can spice up that avocado roll and give it an extra kick. Keep in mind that it is best served with a light soy sauce and a touch of rice vinegar or citrus. You can also try making vegan teriyaki eel with a combination of honey, rice vinegar, garlic and ginger. However you choose to add the eel sauce, it’s sure to be a tasty and creative addition to your vegan kitchen.

6. How to Cook With Eel Sauce in a Vegan Kitchen

7. Is Eating Eel Sauce a Healthy Choice?

Eel sauce is a popular condiment in many Asian cuisines and is used to enhance the flavor of sushi. But is it a healthy choice for dieters and health-conscious individuals?

First of all, eel sauce is generally limited to being used as a topping or sauce, so it usually isn’t a major part of your regular diet. Still, it can have an impact on your nutritional intake. To understand if it is a healthy choice, let’s break eel sauce down into its components. Eel sauce typically consists of:

  • Soy sauce – It can be high in sodium, so use it sparingly
  • Sugar – Too much sugar can lead to weight gain and health issues
  • Mirin – It is a type of low-alcohol rice wine that adds sweetness and flavour

The nutritional value of a single serving of eel sauce is generally low, containing zero fat and protein but few essential vitamins and minerals. A tablespoon of eel sauce contains about 15 calories, mainly from sugar. This sugar is used to balance out the salt content and is not generally enough to add to your daily sugar intake. However, if you’re eating sushi topped with eel sauce regularly, the calories will add up.

8. Is Eel Sauce Safe For Allergies?

Eel sauce is a delicious condiment often used for sushi, but is it safe for those with allergies? The answer depends on the ingredients included in the eel sauce.

  • Soy Sauce – Most eel sauces contain soy sauce, one of the most common allergens. If you’re allergic to soy, it’s best to steer clear of eel sauce.
  • Fish – Many brands of eel sauce also include fish, so it’s important to check labels before consuming any.
  • Eggs – Eel sauce isn’t always made with a base of eggs, but if it is, the egg content will be listed on the label.

If you’re worried about eel sauce, try looking for sauce recipes made from ingredients that suit your dietary needs. There are often varieties of eel sauce available that don’t contain eggs, fish, or soy, making them safe for those dealing with allergies. While eel sauce is often delicious, be smart about what type you choose when dealing with allergies.

9. Making Vegan-Friendly Eel Sauce at Home

Vegan eel sauce might sound strange, but with the right ingredients, it’s as delicious as the traditional Japanese version. Here’s how to make a vegan-friendly eel sauce at home:

  • In a small pot, mix ¼ cup maple syrup and ½ cup gluten-free tamari
  • Add 1 tablespoon of rice vinegar and a pinch of white pepper
  • Stir to combine and simmer over low heat for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally
  • Add 1 teaspoon of garlic powder, 1 teaspoon of sesame oil and 1 teaspoon of nutritional yeast
  • Stir together until all ingredients are combined and simmer for 5 more minutes
  • Remove from heat and let cool before transferring to a container
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Your vegan-friendly eel sauce is now ready to be enjoyed! Pair it with noodles or steamed veggies for a flavorful, vegan-friendly meal. With the right ingredients and a few easy steps, you can recreate the traditional Japanese flavor in a vegan-friendly way!

10. How to Find Vegan-Friendly Eel Sauce Options

Traditional eel sauce usually contains mirin, sake, soy sauce, and sometimes sugar, making it an off-limits condiment for most vegans. However, with the rising appeal of vegan cooking, you don’t have to give up on the flavor of eel sauce completely.

Here are some top tips on finding vegan-friendly eel sauce options:

  • Do your research online. The internet is a great place to start your research into vegan-friendly eel sauce options. Use trustworthy websites to read reviews and check ingredients.
  • Reach out to local stores. Seek out stores in your area that carry vegan-friendly condiments. Ask the staff what their suggestions are and request samples to be sure you like it.
  • Consider making your own. Arguably, the most fool-proof way to ensure your eel sauce is vegan-friendly is to make it yourself. There are many recipes online that you can use to create your own sauce at home.

The verdict is in – eel sauce is not vegan. But just because it might not be vegan in all cases, this doesn’t mean that it can’t be enjoyed by those who follow a plant-based diet. With the help of vegan eel sauce recipes, such as a combination of soy sauce, water, sugar, and mushroom extract, everyone can have a delicious vegan version of eel sauce on their plate. Whether you choose to go vegan or not, there’s no doubt that eel sauce will make the perfect complement to any meal.