Monday, February 3, 2014

Simple Homemade Teriyaki Sauce & A Hack Dipping Sauce

Yep, this is a partial repost. And yes, I know, the big chicken wing weekend just ended. But this is actually about a sauce that would be good on just about anything, like Asian dumplings, cooked shrimp, steamed vegetables, so read on.

Yesterday I made those wonderful, crispy oven- baked chicken wings that Food52 featured last week as a genius recipe: Ideas in Food's Korean-Style Chicken Wings. It was actually my 3rd batch. The first I made with some big-name wings from my local grocery store, and the wings were so big and fleshy that I had to cook them much longer to get a crispy finish. Make them, but if you can get smaller, free-range chicken wings, use them.  I got some for my last two subsequent batches and they are far better, and the chicken actually tastes like chicken. 

My own Simple teriyaki sauce is my go-to Asian type marinade /dipping when I'm hurrying to get something on the table.  Now, first about those wings: Fabulous. Crispy, crunchy, lick your fingers searching for every last morsel. The seasoning is perfect.   But I was running out of time, and I didn't have the Korean pepper called for in the recipe. So I hacked a sauce:

From the recipe below:

Hacked Asian Dipping Sauce

Leave out the sherry.
Add 1 Tablespoon of toasted sesame oil
Add 1 Tablespoon each of fresh garlic and ginger and leave out the ginger powder
Add a teaspoon of sesame seeds if you have them
As much hot sauce as you can stand, or chili flakes
Stir and serve.
Done.

Now, on to the original...

Mystery meat with all-purpose sauce. That pretty much sums up what was on the menu at our cafeteria back when I was an undergrad. There were far, far cruder names for it, but it was basically a slab of non-denominational meat with brown stuff ladled over it. Explains why the endless fried clam strips at the local HoJo was so wildly popular. Don't make me explain what HoJo is/was. Go ask your mother.

What I have here for you is ANOTHER kind of all purpose sauce, that while it IS brown, is probably one of the most wonderful food inventions for which we can thank our friends in Japan. Teriyaki sauce is probably one of the most versatile, easy-to-prepare concoctions you can have in your kitchen arsenal. You can use it as a marinade, a sauce for dipping, in a stir-fry, or with a little oil added, a dressing.  This version is totally bastardized; there are as many versions of this as there are fish in the sea and most of them are delicious. Some recipes are quite elaborate, but this simple recipe is one I've been making for years and have marinated just about every savory food that exists in it. You can double or triple it and it keeps in the fridge just about forever. The real thing will usually have mirin in it, and will omit the garlic and ginger. Mine is closer to the bottled stuff we suburban American kids grew up eating. This past weekend, I made a double batch and marinated a flank steak, and some boneless chicken breasts. Cold teriyaki grilled chicken breast has to be the best addition to a lunch salad ever. Learn to make this and I promise you never have to have lunch at HoJo's. Unless you want to.

Teriyaki Marinated Grilled Chicken Breast. Best Lunch Ever!
Note: if you use wheat free Tamari sauce, this sauce is gluten free. If you substitute agave nectar for the honey, its vegan.

Simple Homemade Teriyaki Sauce


1/2 cup wheat-free Tamari or regular soy sauce
1/4 cup dry sherry
3T honey or agave nectar
1 garlic clove minced
1/2 teas. powdered ginger
(dash of sriracha or hot pepper sauce, optional)

Place all the ingredients in a small saucepan, mix and bring to a quick boil. Cool and use as needed. Store covered in the refrigerator. Double or triple as desired. A single recipe will marinate a single flank steak, or about 2 pounds of chicken parts.