February 9, 2017

What is Teriyaki?

What is Teriyaki?

The origins of teriyaki are from Japan. Basically it started as a style of cooking along with the flavor that we’ve come to love. “Teri” refers to the way that the food looks or in other words the shine. “Yaki” refers to the style of cooking which in most cases is broiled under or over a flame. Teriyaki food when cooked in a way that is prepared for a meal is typically broiled beef, chicken or pork and the sauce has a shine from the ingredients used. Over the years though, in America, it has morphed into a sauce that represents an Asian or even Polynesian style cuisine.
The ingredients that go in to making a teriyaki sauce vary widely these days, but typically the base for the sauce is soy sauce, mirin and sugar.

  • Soy Sauce a fermented sauce made from a paste of boiled soy beans and then brined which gives it the salty taste.
  • Mirin is a Japanese condiment made from rice wine. It’s similar to sake, but with less alcohol and more sugar. The sugar is a natural process of the fermentation process. It adds a complex taste to the sauce.
  • Sugar is added to give the sauce an intense sweetness. The mirin adds some sugar to the sauce, but not enough so additional sugar is added. This also gives the finished food a caramelized and shiny luster.

The addition of the following can be used to tailor the sauce to your individual liking.

  • Garlic can be added to the sauce to give it a nice distinct flavor.
  • Ginger can be added for another layer of tanginess.
  • Pineapple is added many Hawaiian style teriyaki beef jerky recipes because it adds additional sweetness and also helps tenderize the meat.
  • Sesame oil brings a bitter depth to the sauce. This gives a distinct Asian taste.
1/2 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1/4 cup light brown sugar
2 teaspoons ground ginger
2 teaspoons garlic powder
2 pounds beef top sirloin steak

In a large bowl, combine all of the ingredients and mix well and then place in a Ziploc bag along with the steak. Seal bag and turn to coat and refrigerate for 4 hours or more. Remove the steak and discard all of the marinade. Grill steak, over medium high heat for 4-8 minutes on each side or until meat reaches desired doneness.

How about you? Share your Teriyaki recipe with us.
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