Some brands of eel sauce, a sweetened soy-sauce–based condiment, contain the liquid from cooking sea eels. This vegetarian version is a flavorful substitute. If jaggery or palm sugar are unavailable, use light brown sugar.

Cook Time: 30 minutes (plus time to make Vegetarian Dashi if desired)
Makes about 2¼ cups (565 ml)

1 lb (500 g) brown jaggery or palm sugar, roughly chopped
2 cups (500 ml) Vegetarian Dashi (page 27) or low-sodium vegetable stock
¼ cup (65 ml) sake
¾ cup (185 ml) soy sauce

Combine the jaggery and Vegetarian Dashi or stock in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Stir to dissolve. Add the sake and allow mixture to simmer for about 15 minutes, or until it has reduced by about ¼ cup (65 ml). Stir in the soy sauce and simmer for 10 minutes more. Do not let the mixture boil.
Allow the sauce to cool to room temperature before using. It will thicken as it cools. Store Vegetarian Eel Sauce in the refrigerator.