Japanese Tsume and Tare - Nitsume or Thick, Sweet Eel Sauce

Total Time
3hrs 5mins
Prep 5 mins
Cook 3 hrs

This recipe is for the dark sweet sauce served over many types of sushi in restaurants, especially seafood and fish. Tsume is traditionally made with the reduced stock of boiled conger eels (anago). This abbreviated recipe tastes great and takes much less cooking time than the traditional method of preparation. Dashi is a soup and cooking stock considered fundamental to Japanese cooking. Dashi forms the base for Miso Soup, clear broth soups, Japanese noodle broths, and many Japanese simmering liquids. Most people use granulated or liquid instant substitutes found in Asian Markets. A small pastry brush or rubber spatula will allow you to apply this sauce thinly and evenly over your sushi or other choices. American sushi chefs use Tsume to dress everything from avocado-based rolls to tamago. This recipe will keep in the refrigerator for several months. Heat to ambient temperature (or warmer) before use.

Ingredients Nutrition

  • 1 cup dashi (cooking stock)
  • 12 cup mirin (Japanese sweet cooking wine)
  • 12 cup shoyu (soy sauce)
  • 14 cup sugar


  1. Put all ingredients into a saucepan, and heat to boiling over medium heat.
  2. Simmer the sauce for about 3-4 hours to thicken. Reduce the volume to the point that it threads or webs when picked up with hashi.


Most Helpful

Once I found my way around the Asian Market and picked up my stuff I was excited to make this sauce, as I love it so much when I go out to eat and have sushi. This is delicious and just as good as in the restaurants! Make sure you don't cook it too long or it will become caramelized and thick!

~ValeLovesFlorida~ November 01, 2009

We made sushi for the first time and I made up this delicious sauce to use on our Eel rolls. It was just like at the restaurant. I love the sweet taste of this sauce on my rolls and it couldn't have been better! We plan to practice using this sauce on other sushi rolls real soon!

Maine E Ack! July 24, 2009

Paired well with a spicy, honey mayonnaise I made for a spicy tuna roll!

~DiZzY~ May 07, 2009

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