The sauce is a fundamental part of any dish in any cuisine. In a traditional sense, sauces are rarely ever used for sushi. This is, of course, with the exception of soy sauce. However, modern sushi chefs have discovered the merits of adding a sauce to glaze over a sushi dish. It’s an additional element to the aesthetics as well as the flavor of the dish. While most sauces are in-house family secrets, there are some sushi sauces available in supermarkets, and sushi sauce recipes available online. Just don’t expect them to be as good as the homemade ones that are made by grandmas and sushi chefs.
If you want to make your own sushi sauces at home, try out these easy recipes:
Japanese Ginger Dressing
Typically used for salads but can also be used for marinating meat
DIRECTIONS: Mix in 2 Tbsp rice vinegar, 1 Tbsp soy sauce, ½ tsp sugar, 1 tsp sake (optional) and, 1 tsp grated ginger in a small bowl. Once well mixed, gradually add in 3 Tbsp vegetable oil and 1 Tbsp sesame oil
This goes very well with spicy tuna and other spicy rolls. It’s a staple in most sushi bars in the United States
DIRECTIONS: Mix in 1 Tbsp Kewpie, 1 tsp Sriracha sauce, and 1 tsp lemon juice (optional) in a small bowl. If not consumed immediately, store in the refrigerator.
Here’s a different take to the Spicy Mayo. It has all the spicy goodness with a different kick of flavor. The Wasabi Mayo can also be used as dressing for grilled meat and fish
DIRECTIONS: Mix in ½ Tbsp wasabi powder to 3 Tbsp Kewpie.
A lot of us love mayo, mix in a bit of garlic and some honey and you have the most amazing sweet, slightly spicy, and savory sauce.
DIRECTIONS: Mix in ¼ cup Kewpie, ½ tsp lemon juice, 1 Tbsp honey ½ tsp garlic powder, and ¼ tsp Ichimi Togarashi. The Ichimi Toragashi is basically ground red chili pepper. Make sure you mix this very well so the flavor is even throughout the entire sauce.
A citrus-soy blend.
DIRECTIONS: Mix in 1 cup soy sauce (the best brand you can find), ½ cup lemon juice, ¼ cup lime juice, ¼ cup rice wine vinegar, ¼ cup Mirin (sweet rice wine vinegar with a bit of alcohol, and ½ cup katsuboshi (fish flakes)
Sweetened soy sauce typically used as a glaze for fish or Nigiri. This is meant to be a glaze, not a dip.
DIRECTIONS: Mix in 1/3 cup of Mirin and 1 cup soy sauce in a pan. Bring the sauce to a boil to eliminate alcohol. Once it boils, reduce the heat to simmer for 10 minutes or until it’s twice as thick as the original consistency.
Nitsume (Eel Sauce)
No, this is not actually made of eel. It’s actually a sweet sauce specifically made to be the perfect pair for eel! But you can also use this sauce as a marinade or flaze for fish and chicken.
DIRECTIONS: Mix in ½ cup soy sauce, ½ cup white sugar, and ½ cup or mirin in a small sauce pan. Place on medium heat, and stir until the sauce is reduced to ¾ cup.
While there are several recipes online for which dishes these sauces should be used, you can experiment at home to see which ones you like with which dishes. Let your creativity shine and try out new things at home! Enjoy!