Teriyaki sauce is a salty soy sauce blend that comes from Japan and is used as a condiment or marinade. Teriyaki sauce in America is served mostly on proteins like beef, chicken and pork. It is also used as a dipping sauce sometimes for dumplings or other dim sum items. Teriyaki sauce as a marinade creates a crunchy, salty and sweet crust when used on the grill or in a hot saute pan.
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Many other flavored ingredients can be added to make creative variations. Ingredients like orange, honey and wasabi can be added for a different twist.
Soy sauce is one of the main ingredients of a soy sauce. Soy sauce is a fermented soy product that has a salty and earthy flavor. It is one of the most common and popular condiments used in Asia. Tamari is an aged, high-end soy sauce that is reserved for simple marinades and dips. Dark soy sauces are reduced down and have a stronger and more intense soy sauce flavor. There are also low-sodium soy sauces for those looking to reduce their sodium intake.
Sugar or Palm Sugar
White sugar or palm sugar is added to soy sauce to balance the saltiness of the soy. The amount of sugar added depends on the strength of the soy sauce's salt content. The more salt, the more sugar that may be needed for balance.
Rice Wine Vinegar
Rice wine vinegar is a vinegar made from rice wine, and it is always found in teriyaki sauce. It has a softer taste than traditional vinegars, almost a sweet taste. Rice wine vinegar is used by many chefs in America for salad dressings since it has such a mild flavor.
Mirin is a brewed Japanese wine that is fortified for maximum flavor. It is a common ingredient in teriyaki sauce. It is sweetened with sugar and has a very mellow flavor.
Ginger and Garlic
Ginger and garlic are also common ingredients of teriyaki sauce. Both underground bulb plants, they provide an earthy and sweet flavor to teriyaki. Ginger has a peppery and sweet taste and needs to be peeled to reveal its white fibrous flesh. Garlic is in a flowered bulb covered in an inedible white wrapper that needs to be removed before chopping.
Sesame Oil and Seeds
Sesame oil and sesame seeds are commonly included in a teriyaki sauce. Both products from the sesame seed provide a nutty flavor to the teriyaki sauce.