Essentially meaning 'savoury' in Japanese, umami-rich foods have the power to bring out the taste of other ingredients. Use this sauce as a dip, add a spoonful to soups, blend it in a dressing – consider it your secret flavour weapon.

1 litre





Skill level

Average: 3.6 (41 votes)


  • 200 ml mirin
  • 200 ml sake
  • 1 tsp brown sugar
  • 750 ml (3 cups) light soy sauce
  • 4 dried shiitake mushrooms
  • 1 piece kombu (around 10 cm square), wiped with a damp cloth
  • 1 handful bonito flakes
  • 1 handful dried scallops
  • 1 handful dried shrimp
  • 1 tsp fish sauce

Cook's notes

Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.


  1. Place the mirin, sake and sugar in a large saucepan and bring to the boil. Flambe and allow to burn until the flames die off. Add all the remaining ingredients and stand for 1 hour. Strain and transfer to a bottle.


Adam Liaw cooks, laughs, and explores culture with some of Australia's most beloved in The Cook Up With Adam Liaw.

Photography by Adam Liaw.