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How to Make Restaurant Quality Teryaki Sauce

Updated on December 11, 2010

I love teriyaki sauce. I can't get enough of it. I love the combination of sweet and salty taste with the hint of Asian flavors. It goes great with many different dishes including various meats (e.g., steak, chicken, fish, etc.) and vegetables (e.g., stir fry). But don't think that if you've tasted one teriyaki sauce you've tasted them all. You couldn't be more wrong. Depending on who makes them, Teriyaki sauces can taste drastically different. I'm not a big fan of ones that are sold in the supermarkets. They just don't know how to make great tasting Teriyaki sauce. I think it's the lack of ginger and perhaps the amount of garlic as well. Those are two main ingredients that can't be overlooked. After working for a restaurant that made great Teriyaki sauce, I'd like to share what I learned with you...

First, you've got to make sure you have the right basis. What I mean by this is that you must start with the right soy sauce. But wait you say! Aren't all soy sauces the same? If that's what you thought, you couldn't be more naive. Depending on the manufacturer, soy sauces can taste drastically different. The only commonalities between soy sauces is that they each look black and taste salty. How the soy beans are fermented and the quality of the soy beans themselves can make a huge difference in taste. Overall, I find Kikkoman soy sauce to be the best. Others may be OK, but if you stick with Kikkoman, you can't go wrong. Please do not get La Choy. I almost gagged when I first tried this brand. It tasted like liquefied cardboard with salt. So, again, not all soy sauces are equally made.

Pour about 2 cups of Kikkoman soy sauce into a blender. Then dump in about 1 cup of brown sugar. You may be able to get away with white sugar, but brown is the best. You can vary the quantity of sugar but should be relatively close to 1/2 the quantity (by volume) of the soy sauce. This is also true for the other ingredients. Use your judgment and use more or less of each ingredient as your taste buds dictate. Some people prefer a saltier soy sauce while others prefer a sweeter taste.

Get some fresh ginger and cut into small pieces (e.g., inch long pieces) and put about 1/4 to 1/2 cup into the blender. Again, you can vary the quantity based on your taste buds. Ginger is the key ingredient and should not be taken lightly. There just is no replacement for it.

Now, add 2-3 cloves of fresh garlic. Optionally, you can add some sesame seeds and onions and/or green onions.Once you've added all of these ingredients into the blender, mix them on high for a few seconds until you get a relatively smooth consistency. It can feel a little grainy but should not be coarse or chunky. You need to blend the mixture more if can actually feel chunks in the Teriyaki sauce.

Again, ginger is the key ingredient and will make or break the sauce depending on how much you put into it. Try experimenting with different quantities. Some people will try to do some really weird things like adding fruit juices to the mixture. If that makes you happy, go for it. But if you want a straightforward but still great tasting Teriyaki sauce, just follow the instructions I've provided.


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