Japanese White Sauce


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Jump straight to the recipe.

At most American-Japanese restaurants you will find a creamy, spicy, sweet, white sauce that goes by a number of different names. Some call it Yum Yum Sauce, others call it Shrimp Sauce, and I’ve even seen it called Sakura Sauce. Whatever you want to call it, it goes great on grilled meats, fried rice, and vegetables.

Potato-quality image from the restaurant threatening college students not to steal the sauce. They still did it.

My college town had a Japanese restaurant that was famous for its white sauce when I went to college (2007-2011). This sauce, which they called “Hokie Sauce” for the name of the school’s mascot, was so coveted by students that the restaurant actually had huge issues with people stealing the bottles. They went as far as to place signs around the restaurant and on the bottles saying that if you stole the bottles of Hokie Sauce, you would be fined $20 and banned for life.

Hokie Sauce

The restaurant always guarded the secret recipe of Hokie Sauce, which is why I was shocked when an employee told me how to make it in June of 2012. I later discovered that the owners had sold the restaurant to a new owner that very same week. They have since changed the recipe by adding wasabi and some other ingredients – but this is the classic preparation from the original owners.

Traditionally, this sauce is a combination of chili oil and Kewpie-brand Japanese mayonnaise which is much sweeter than American mayonnaise and made with rice vinegar as its acid. However, this restaurant (and many others that we have asked) are using American mayonnaise.

To make this sauce in bulk, the restaurant simply mixed a cup of sugar and a cup of Sriracha sauce into a gallon of mayonnaise. This yields a ton of sauce, but luckily this is a really easy recipe to convert to smaller batches.

One consideration for this recipe is temperature. The sauce is best served at room temperature. Serving it right from the refrigerator will leave you with a thicker sauce that has dulled flavors. I recommend letting it come to room temperature or heating it lightly before serving. If you prefer a thinner sauce you can thin it with water or rice vinegar.

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup mayonnaise
  • 1 tablespoon sriracha sauce
  • 1 tablespoon sugar

Preparation:

Mix all ingredients together. Serve at room temperature or slightly warm.

Store refrigerated in an airtight container.

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