Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Teriyaki Sauce

At some point, a bottle of commercial Teriyaki sauce showed up in my fridge. I have no idea how it got there. Given the list of ingredients (below), I can't imagine ever buying it.

Naturally brewed soy sauce (water, wheat, soybeans, salt), wine, high fructose corn syrup, water, vinegar, salt, spices, onion powder, succinic acid, garlic powder, sodium benzoate (a preservative).

I do find it somewhat odd that they say "naturally brewed soy sauce" while also adding cheap sugar, a mysterious acid, and a preservative. I guess that "naturally brewed" part is supposed to balance out the other stuff. To be fair, succinic acid is not unnatural. It's an intermediate product in the primary energy pathway in every cell and produced during sugar fermentation. But, it is interesting to read that it is also a precursor for some speciality polyesters and was originally derived from amber (that fossilized pine sap with trapped insects). Salt, which appears twice as an ingredient, may be natural too but there is an awful lot of it in commercial Teriyaki sauce.

Why wouldn't I buy this? Because it's so easy to make at home. The results are far superior and you can tweak it to make it your way. Don't like garlic? Leave it out. Really like ginger? Add more.

Teriyaki sauce can be used as a marinade, a basting sauce, and a condiment. If you use it for a marinade, discard it after marinating because it will be contaminated by the raw meat. Use fresh sauce to baste the meat when the food is about 10 minutes away from finished. It has sugar in it and will burn if cooked for too long. Then use some more as a dipping sauce.

A single recipe is enough to marinate about 1 - 1½ pound of meat, so double it if you want to use it for basting and dipping too. A sturdy zip-topped bag is a great container for marinating. Put in the meat, pour in the marinade, squish it around, and pop in the fridge. I like to put the bag in a bowl, just in case the bag springs a leak.

Teriyaki Sauce
(makes ½ cup, costs 80¢)

¼ cup Low Sodium Soy Sauce
2 Tbl Sake Or Dry Sherry
2 Tbl Firmly Packed Brown Sugar
2 Tbl Rice Vinegar (natural or seasoned)
2 cloves Garlicminced or pressed
1 tsp Grated Fresh Ginger
¼ tsp Red Pepper Flakes (optional) 
Mix well to dissolve sugar. Use as a sauce or a marinade. Will keep for a week in the fridge.

Marinate beef for 8-24 hours. Marinate pork or chicken for 1-4 hours.

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