I used to be "that guy" at Japanese restaurants who never ventured past the chicken teriyaki that seemed to be put on every menu to appease my unadventurous palate. While I'm no longer that sheltered eater, you can still find me taking comfort in the teriyaki now and again.
Teriyaki doesn't actually refer to the sauce, but rather the method of broiling or grilling foods, then finishing them with that sweet soy sauce mixture that's so ubiquitous.
I was so enamored with the sauce in my earlier years that I concocted all sorts of versions, with ingredients ranging from orange juice to ketchup, but it's the most minimalist recipe that tends to be the best here.
This is a simple mixture of soy sauce, brown sugar, Sake, and mirin, cooked down until it becomes a semi-thick, spoon-coating sauce with a constant pull between sweet and salty.
Putting the sauce to use at home with chicken teriyaki, I realized just how long it's been since I've veered back to this past love, which is shame, because it makes for some really tasty eats.
- 1 cup Japanese shoyu (soy sauce)
- 1/2 cup dark brown sugar
- 1 cup Mirin
- 1/2 cup Sake
Mix soy sauce, sugar, mirin, and sake together in a small saucepan. Bring mixture to a boil over medium-high heat, reduce to a simmer, and cook until thickened enough to coat a spoon, about 20 minutes. Remove from heat, let cool, and use immediately or store in an airtight container in the refrigerator.