Teriyaki sauce is such a delightful flavoring, but few Westerners realize that strictly speaking, the Japanese word teriyaki is not a seasoning or a sauce but a method of cooking. The first section of the name, Teri, means “shiny,” and the yaki suggests grilling or broiling. Thus teriyaki is a method of cooking meat or fish while giving it a bright optical finish.
The teriyaki sauce, as Westerners know it, is a sweet soy sauce marinade. It is historically made from sake, soy sauce or mirin, and honey or sugar, all blended and boiled until it is reduced to the desired consistency. Commercially bottled teriyaki sauces are likely to include corn syrup, MSG, high levels of fructose, and other additives to minimise cost and extend shelf life.
Teriyaki sauce is one of those appetizers for which everyone has their own unique recipe. Since it is seasoned with Japanese wine, it has a unique taste and it has natural ingredients. With the best ingredients, teriyaki sauce is easy to make at home.
This is probably the most straightforward recipe you have ever seen! The quantities can be modified – make sure that you keep the proportions exact.
Recipe for Teriyaki Sauce
- 1 cup of soy sauce
- 1 cup mirin
- 1 cup of sugar
- 1 cup cooking sake
- Mix all ingredients in a saucepan, bring to the boil.
- Decrease the heat to low and let the sauce simmer for about 10 minutes. Allow cooling.
- Add additional items to enhance color and flavor if desired. Suggestions: chopped green onions, minced garlic, shredded ginger, chopped fresh pineapple, honey, toasted sesame seeds.
- This sauce will keep for many weeks in a sealed container in the fridge.
Once prepared, the mix can be used as both a sauce and a marinade. The meat or fish to be cooked is first left to sit in the seasoning for a few minutes so the flavors can stick. If it is cooked on a broiler or open grill, the sauce is smoothed or spooned over it many times during the cooking. If it is fried in a pan, the sauce can be summed to the pan to mix with the cooking juices and be served as part of the food.
Teriyaki sauce can also be used as a dipping sauce and is particularly good with meatballs or skewers and other finger food for parties. Just don’t let it drip on a light-coloured carpet!