Sake Happou – All-round Japanese Seasoning


If there’s one thing I would share with my fellow anglers about Japanese cooking, it would be Sake Happou.

“Sake” is the Japanese rice wine. “Happou” means “eight directions”, meaning “applicable to any directions”. Sake Happou is a Sake based seasoning which can be applied to any kinds of cooking.

Sake Happou

Soy Sauce : Mirin : Sake : Water
1 : 1 : 4 : 4

This is the golden ratio.

If you keep to this ratio, you can’t go wrong. Teriyaki sauce is just a dense (less water) variation of it.
When you are cooking fish with it, you can just cook in Sake Happou. If your cooking doesn’t include fish, like cooking vegitables or making the soup for Japanese noodle, you can replace water and Sake with “Dashi”, Japanese fish and konbu broth.

Soy Sauce

Boil Off Sake

Now let’s start on how to make the seasoning.

Sake and Mirin contain alcohol. We want to “boil off”. Boil to blow off alcohol.

Put in all the ingredients in a pot and bring it to boil. Keep boiling with medium heat.
Check to smell if there’s alcohol left.
You can also check by lighting a long lighter over the pot (Please be careful). If there’s alcohol left, it sets flames. Let it burn itself out. When the flames are out, you have “boiled off.”

Sake Happou is a light sauce.
You can control the flavor by adding more water to thinner or by boiling more to thicker. As long as the golden ratio of Soy Sauce 1 : Mirin 1 : Sake 4 is there, you can’t go wrong.
A lot of times, we put in sugar to add some sweetness to this. If you are not sure how much sugar to add, replace 1/2 Mirin with the same amount of sugar and see how you like it.

Now that you have Sake Happou, put in fish, Tofu, and vegetables to cook something like the top picture.

You can make this seasoning without putting in water and save. Soy Sauce 1 : Mirin 1 : Sake 4. and boil off in a pot. This is your Teri sauce. When cook, add some water to your liking.

I hope you find this article informative and helpful to you!

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  1. Daniel

    Beautiful! bet its awesome with grouper

    • Totos

      Hi Daniel.
      Yes, it’s really good with fish with lots of oil. Fish like Grouper, Kingfish, Yellowtail, Mackerel.

  2. Daz

    Can’t wait to try this.
    Thank you Totos.

    • Totos

      Hi Daz,
      I will try to write up posts about Japanese cooking recipes more often. Thank you for pushing me toward it.

  3. Kitidas Punyashthiti
    Kitidas Punyashthiti11-12-2013

    Hi Totos,
    Thank you for going into fine details of each ingredient, I always love to cook Sake Happou with fish especially the heads of Kampachi. I am wondering that the zaru soba source is also the variation of Sake Happou, correct?
    Thank again.

    • Totos

      Hi Kitidas.
      Hmmm. You are talking about “Nitsuke” with amberjack head. Yes, this sauce is probably the best to cook fish head.
      I added some description on the usage of sugar to the post. Check out the last paragraph.

      Yes, the dipping soup for soba noodle is a variation of this.
      In reality, we call the soy sauce and mirin component “Kaeshi”. Every Japanese chefs have secret ratio of Kaeshi and it often includes sugar and Sake in it too. This is the most important element to determine the taste.
      For dipping sauce, Kaeshi 1 : Dashi 3 to 4.
      For noodle soup, Kaeshi 1 : Dashi 7 to 10.

  4. Daz

    Ok here goes.
    about to attempt “sake happou”
    Will return with results.

  5. Daniel

    Hi Totos!

    whats the sauce they use with onsen tamago?

    my favourite!

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