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Gluten-Free (and eel-free) Eel Sauce


I wing it in the kitchen ... often. If I don't have a particular ingredient on hand or have a strong distaste for an ingredient a recipe calls for, I improvise. And that's just what I've done with this Eel Sauce—a tasty drizzle for sushi and one I recommend to serve at your next Hand Roll Sushi Party.

This is not your traditional Eel Sauce. There's nothing "eel-y" about it. I wouldn't have it. You see, I am not a snake person and eels fall into the same category of "creepy and slithery" and I'd rather not eat them.

I shudder when I think back to the day my friend Aldina and I (we were 5 or 6) came screeching to a halt in her grandfather's kitchen. There in the middle of the linoleum floor was a five gallon bucket. Coiled inside that five gallon bucket was THE biggest, fattest eel I'd ever seen—a 6-footer at least! He was icky and slimy, and grinned at us with razor-sharp teeth, I was thoroughly grossed out. I remember not asking what was for dinner.

And then there was the time off Wailupe Circle. Us kids would dive off the pier into deep blue. To get back ON the pier you had to swim over a bit of reef. I'll never forget coming face-to-face with a sizeable Moray eel. If I could have walked on water, I would've that day. 

So long story short, when I set out to mix up a version of eel sauce you can bet I left the eel part out. And you know what? Fish sauce worked juuuust fine.

Gluten-Free Eel Sauce Recipe (to Serve with Sushi)


2 tablespoons RICE WINE
2 tablespoons gluten-free SOY SAUCE or coconut aminos
2 tablespoons HONEY or sugar
1 teaspoon FISH SAUCE (available from Thai Kitchen or Asian markets)
1/2 cup WATER
1 tablespoon ARROWROOT STARCH or corn starch



  1. In a small saucepan bring rice wine, soy sauce, honey, and fish sauce to a gentle simmer.
  2. In a small bowl combine water and arrowroot starch to make a slurry.
  3. Wisk starch slurry into simmering mixture. Heat just until thickened and remove from heat.
  4. Let cool and drizzle over sushi. 


More Sushi from Lexie's Kitchen

Throw a Hand Roll Sushi Party

Spicy Shrimp Sushi Filling (coming soon!)

Inari Sushi

Inside Out California Roll

Reader Comments (3)

This made me laugh...and I needed that today!

November 28, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterCarolyn

I just thought I'd mention that traditional eel sauce doesn't have eel in it :) It's called eel sauce because it's what they put on eel (I asked because I feel the same way you do about eating eel!)

November 29, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterMichelle

Some preparations use eel extract ... however that's made:

November 29, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterJennie

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