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Teriyaki: The Japanese Glazing Technique & The Bottled Sauce

by Joost Nusselder | Updated:  August 13, 2022

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Teriyaki (kanji: 照り焼き; hiragana: てりやき) is a Japanese cooking technique in which food is grilled or broiled with a sweet, soy-based sauce.

The word “teriyaki” comes from the Japanese words “teri,” meaning luster, and “yaki,” meaning grill or broil.

Teriyaki sauce combines soy sauce, sugar, sake (rice wine), and mirin (a sweet rice wine).

The sauce is used to marinate meat or fish, which is then grilled or broiled.

Teriyaki is a popular cooking method in Japanese restaurants, and the dish is often served with rice and vegetables.

What is teriyaki

In Japan, fish like yellowtail, marlin, skipjack tuna, salmon, trout, and mackerel are mainly glazed with sauces, while in the West, it’s more often white and red meat – chicken, pork, lamb, and beef.

Teriyaki sauce can be bought at most supermarkets, or it can be made at home. Homemade teriyaki sauce is simple to make and only requires a few ingredients.

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What’s the origin of teriyaki?

The origins of teriyaki are unclear, but it is thought to have originated in Japan. The word “teriyaki” first appeared in print in the early 1900s, but the dish was likely being made long before that.

Teriyaki sauce became popular in the United States in the 1970s and 1980s, when Japanese food began to gain popularity.

The teriyaki syrupy sweet sauce we know is said to originate from hawaii where Japanese immigrants used local pineapple juice to sweeten their marinades.

It’s best to distinguish between the teriyaki as a cooking style from Japan where it means to give luster or shine to food before grilling it, and the teriyaki sauce you refer to when buying a bottle from the store, that’s made to taste like the Hawaiian recipe.

What does teriyaki taste like?

Teriyaki sauce is sweet and savory, with a slightly salty flavor. The sweetness comes from the sugar, while the savoriness comes from the soy sauce. The sauce also has a slight umami flavor from the mirin. When used to marinate meat or fish, the teriyaki sauce gives the dish a sweet, savory, and slightly salty flavor.

Some popular teriyaki recipes include chicken teriyaki, beef teriyaki, and salmon teriyaki. Chicken teriyaki is a popular dish in Japanese restaurants. It is made by marinating chicken breasts in a teriyaki sauce and then grilling or broiling them.

Traditionally the meat is dipped in or brushed with sauce several times during cooking.

How do you pronounce teriyaki?

The word “teriyaki” is pronounced “tuh-REE-yah-kee.”

What’s the difference between teriyaki and soy sauce?

Teriyaki sauce is made with soy sauce, sugar, sake, and mirin. Soy sauce, made with soybeans, wheat, salt, and water, is just one of the teriyaki ingredients. Teriyaki sauce is sweeter and thicker than soy sauce because of these additions.

What’s the difference between teriyaki and hoisin?

Hoisin sauce is a thick, sweet, and spicy sauce made with soybeans, chiles, garlic, sugar, and spices. It is often used as a dipping sauce or marinade. Teriyaki sauce is made with soy sauce, sugar, sake, and mirin. It is sweeter than hoisin sauce and does not have the same spicy flavor.

What’s the difference between teriyaki and marinade?

Marinades are used to tenderize and flavor meat before cooking and contain acid, such as vinegar or citrus juice to help break down tough fibers in meat. Teriyaki is used as glazing to give a sweet caramelized texture, but is also used as a dipping sauce.

Is teriyaki healthy?

Yes, teriyaki is a healthy cooking method because it uses little to no oil. The sauce is also low in calories and fat, and the Japanese use very little of it to flavor their dish. The sauce on the other hand is very high in sugar and cholesterol.

Conclusion

You see, teriyaki is a delicious way of cooking and I hope you understand the difference now between teriyaki the sauce and the Japanese cooking style.

Both originated from the same principle, of glazing with sugar to give shine, but there are some key differences.

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Joost Nusselder, the founder of Bite My Bun is a content marketer, dad and loves trying out new food with Japanese food at the heart of his passion, and together with his team he's been creating in-depth blog articles since 2016 to help loyal readers with recipes and cooking tips.