Teriyaki Sauce is a sweet, salty Japanese sauce made from mirin, sake, soy sauce and white sugar. It sweetness comes from the mirin; its saltiness from the soy sauce. It is very similar to yakitori sauce.
It can be used as a condiment for dipping at the table, or for marinating, or as a basting sauce while cooking.
Some versions add some minced garlic and / or grated ginger. Versions that call for brown sugar, olive oil, sherry, mustard, sesame oil, chiles, black pepper, water, molasses, etc, are not authentic.
Depending on the recipe, the base ingredients in the sauce may be in equal quantities, or not. You bring the ingredients to a boil, reduce heat, simmer on low heat until about the liquid is about 1/4 of the original volume, or slightly less. Strain (if using garlic and / or ginger.)
It should be made at least an hour before it’s needed, to allow flavours to develop. The sauce will also thicken further as it cools.
When it’s used as a marinade, it’s actually effective because in Japanese-style cooking, the food (particularly meat) is cut up into small enough pieces to actually allow the marinade to penetrate it. When making Teriyaki dish, you use some of the sauce to marinate the meat in, and use the rest of the sauce to brush on the meat while cooking to develop a glaze. Generally, you marinate with Teriyaki Sauce for 1 to 4 hours before cooking.
Variations on Teriyaki Sauce depend on whether it is fish, fowl or meat being glazed while cooking:
- Fish / Seafood: 4 tablespoons soy sauce, 1 tablespoon white sugar, 4 tablespoons mirin;
- Meat: 4 tablespoons soy sauce, 1/2 tablespoon white sugar, 1 tablespoons sake;
- Fowl: 5 tablespoons soy sauce, 3 tablespoons white sugar, 8 tablespoons mirin, 1 tablespoon sake;
You can buy bottled Teriyaki Sauce.