What Exactly Is Teriyaki Sauce Made Of?

Jun 11, 2013 1:31 pm

All about the Japanese sauce that loves chicken

what is teriyaki sauce made of?
Photo: mosespreciado on Flickr
Ah, chicken teriyaki. Well within our comfort zone.

If you're going to, uh, chicken out and order teriyaki instead of sushi, you should at least educate yourself on what makes that sauce so magical. Magical enough to want chicken instead of eating sushi with everyone else, at least. 

Teriyaki is the Japanese term for meat that has been marinated in teriyaki sauce, then broiled or grilled over coals. Nowadays, the word is used to describe any food marinated in, or served with, a version of this as-yet defined sauce. This epic burger, for instance, is a great example.  

Onto the lesson. Teriyaki sauce has four main components: soy sauce, sake (or mirin, if you're taking it easy on the booze), sugar and ginger. It's more or less your basic Asian seasoning/marinade. Soak meat, vegetables, fish or tofu in for at least half an hour before cooking. If you decide to reduce the mixture, it will get thick, glossy and sticky — more like a sauce and better for topping or serving on the side. 

Done right, it's enough to make us put down the wasabi. Done poorly, it might as well be a frozen dinner. Or a sweet onion chicken teriyaki

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