There’s a reason chicken teriyaki is so popular! Because sweet plus salty takes pretty much any basic meal from blah to yum-o.
But you can do a whole lot more with teriyaki marinade and sauce than put it on chicken and veggies—it’s also an easy way to add an addictive kick to beef, pork, seafood and even salad.
Sure, store-bought versions are convenient, but the benefit of making your own teriyaki? YOU can control the sugar and salt you put in it, plus it will usually taste fresher than its supermarket siblings (because, well, it is!). Oh, and when you go the homemade route, say goodbye to preservatives and additives. (Score!)
Not to mention you probably already have all the ingredients on hand.
(If you do already have an almost-empty bottle of teriyaki sauce lingering in the back of the fridge, don’t let it go to waste. You can easily transform it into a delicious teriyaki sesame glaze with a bit of ginger, honey, and sesame oil. Watch the video above to see how it’s done!)
So, ready to tackle teriyaki in your own kitchen? Read on for a full list of ingredients and how to make it.
WHAT ARE THE INGREDIENTS IN TERIYAKI MARINADE?
Most teriyaki marinades contain similar ingredients (mostly from the Asian aisle of the grocery store), with a few variations.
Typically, here's what you'll need:
- Soy sauce
- Vinegar, sake (rice wine) or mirin (a syrupy rice wine product made for cooking)
- Brown sugar and/or honey
HOW DO YOU MAKE TERIYAKI MARINADE OR TERIYAKI SAUCE?
To whip up an easy teriyaki marinade, mix together garlic, ginger, soy sauce, vinegar, brown sugar and pepper in a bowl. Add the mixture to your main dish (or even side veggies!) and it'll instantly take on a mild teriyaki flavor.
If you want to turn your marinade into a thicker sauce to get more of a caramelized effect when you cook your meat or veggies (ie you want the sauce to stick to your meat or veggies a bit more than a standard marinade would), it just takes a few extra steps.
First, create a mixture made with cornstarch and water (which is called a "slurry" in technical culinary lingo). Then, mix it in with the marinade ingredients, add the mixture to a saucepan, bring to a boil -- and then let simmer, stirring frequently, until the sauce thickens to desired consistency. (You want the sauce to be thick, but watch that heat — sugar burns easily!)
You can then marinate your dish in this thicker sauce, like “MasterChef” winner Christine Ha does with these teriyaki chicken and pineapple skewers — and/or use it as a sauce to brush on at the end of whatever you’re cooking and/or as a dipping sauce (Just don’t use excess marinade as a finishing or dipping sauce after marinating raw meat in it).
Long story short, if you want to go the subtler, quicker and easier route, skip the cornstarch and the heat and stick to a standard marinade. But if you want that classic thick, caramelized texture, you'll want to cook your marinade into a thicker sauce-like consistency before using it.
(Pro tip: You can also use basic teriyaki ingredients to create a light salad dressing, just add a little mayonnaise as thickener. AND you can use the same ingredients as the teriyaki sauce in a stir fry -- but you don't need to pre-cook it, since you'll be cooking it along with the stir fry to thicken.)
HOW DO YOU MARINATE TERIYAKI MEAT?
Once you’ve made your teriyaki marinade, combine the meat with the sauce. Cover and marinate in the fridge for at least one hour before using in your recipe.
HOW DO YOU THICKEN TERIYAKI SAUCE?
You can thicken most sauces by adding flour, but mild cornstarch works better with teriyaki and other Asian-inspired sauces. Don’t have cornstarch on hand or would rather skip it? Simply simmer your sauce over low heat longer to evaporate more water and it will continue to thicken. (All-natural thickening for the win!)