Teriyaki sauce is a soy sauce-based, slightly sweet sauce that's usually a combination of soy sauce, sugar, ginger, and garlic. You can buy it ready made in a bottle at most grocery stores, but why buy it when it's so easy and quick to make yourself.
This recipe uses brown sugar, which gives it a bit more complexity, plus a drop of sesame oil for added Asian personality. Ingredients are combined in a sauce pan and gently boiled to dissolve the sugar and reduce the liquid to a consistency you like. The more you boil it, the more glaze-like it will become.
There are three ways to use a sauce like this. First as a marinade for something like flank or skirt steak. Just combine the sauce ingredients together, stir until the sugar is dissolved (don't cook it), and pour over the steak and marinade for about 10 minutes. Then remove from the marinade and broil the steak for 3 to 4 minutes a side.
Second, you can cook the sauce until it achieves a slightly thickened state and then use it as a glaze on chicken, fish or shellfish (see the recipe below). Third, if you cook it even longer, thickening it a bit more, it becomes a sauce to apply to poultry or seafood just as they finish cooking.
Because it has sugar in it, teriyaki sauce can caramelize when it's cooked. So if you've painted it onto, for example, a salmon steak that you'll broil, it's possible to burn the glaze before the fish is fully cooked. This is easy to avoid by keeping the fish about 5" to 6" below the broiler flame.
Makes 4 servings
6 tablespoons soy sauce. Low sodium is fine to use.
3 tablespoons firmly packed dark brown sugar
1 teaspoon finely grated fresh ginger. It's easy to do with a rasper or Microplane.
1 large clove of garlic, finely chopped
1/2 teaspoon sesame oil
Slight pinch of cayenne pepper
1-pound salmon filet cut into 4 pieces. Leave on skin.
8 jumbo or colossal shrimp, peeled and cleaned.
Make the glaze
- In a small saucepan, combine the soy sauce, sugar, ginger, garlic and cayenne pepper. Stir to dissolve the sugar.
- Over a medium-high heat bring the mixture to a boil and cook about 2 minutes until it has thickened slightly and coats the back of a spoon.
- Remove from the heat and add the sesame oil.
Cooking the salmon and shrimp
- Position your oven rack so that the fish and shrimp will be about 6-inches below the broiler heat element. Turn broiler on to high.
- Line a small rim pan or broiler pan with aluminum foil (the pan is going to get sticky with the glaze and the foil will keep you from having a mess to clean up).
- Place a rack on the rim pan or else position the top of the broiler pan back in place and arrange the salmon pieces on the rack or pan, skin side up (this helps hold the fish together while it cooks). Arrange the shrimp around the salmon pieces.
- Broil the fish and shrimp for 2 minutes and then generously brush the teriyaki glaze on each piece and broil another 2 minutes.
- Using tongs, turn the fish and shrimp pieces over, brush with glaze and broil for 2 minutes. Re-apply the glaze and broil for a final 2 minutes (everything will have cooked for 8 minutes in total).
Remove from the oven when the salmon has become cooked through (test with a fork and see if it's easy to flake) and the shrimp totally opaque, its surface caramelized with the glaze. If the fish needs additional cooking, remove the shrimp from the pan so that they don't overcook while you finish the fish.
Serve with rice and steamed vegetables like green beans and carrots. This method works with almost any type of fish and is particularly nice with tuna steaks, black cod or halibut.