Teriyaki sauce has four main components: soy sauce, sake (or mirin, if you’re taking it easy on the booze), sugar and ginger. It’s your your basic Asian seasoning/marinade. However, commercial teriyaki sauce often has all kinds of added nasty ingredients, including MSG, as well as the basics. Here’s the good news, it’s easy to make your own. You get to control what goes into it.
Sugar is one of the essential ingredients, but what if you are avoiding cane sugar? I suggest replacing it with dates. It produces a thick sauce which is also delicious as a condiment on any Asian inspired rice bowl. Another version of teriyaki sauce uses maple syrup plus coconut sugar instead of case sugar. It’s a thinner sauce, good for dipping or marinating as well as drizzling. Both are delicious.
I first published the date sugar teriyaki sauce in April of 2015 in Teriyaki Salmon with Spring Vegetables. I had completely forgotten about this sauce until a kind reader commented on it. It’s time to revisit it.
Teriyaki Sauce with Medjool dates
- 15 Medjool dates, pitted and soaked in 1/2 cup of very warm water for 30 minutes
- 3/4 cup soy sauce, regular or low sodium
- 1/4 cup rice vinegar
- 3 cloves of garlic, peeled
- 1 tablespoon fresh ginger, minced or grated
- Optional – pinch of red pepper flakes
- Optional – 1/4 cup sesame oil
- Soak the pitted dates in the hot water
- Dump the dates and rest of the ingredients (including the soaking water) into your blender and blend until very smooth.
- Pour into a container until ready to use.
This will keep in the fridge for at least a week, we found it got “hotter” and spicier the longer it sat.
It can also be used as a marinade and sauce for teriyaki chicken.
It’s what I call a non-recipe for teriyaki chicken:
- Marinate chicken with the teriyaki sauce for 30 minutes to an hour.
- Preheat your oven to 400 degrees F.
- Bake the chicken for 30 to 45 minutes, until done to your liking.
- Serve extra sauce as a garnish
For the coconut rice, I just replace half the water in your regular recipe for cooking rice with coconut milk. Place a couple of slices of ginger on top and cook as usual.
The second option using maple syrup as a sweetener was first published in February of 2015. I must have been on a teriyaki kick that year. It was just titled Teriyaki Sauce, you will find the post here.
Here it is served on the Best Ever Crisp Chicken Wings, another post from 2015 (and also one I had forgotten about). For crispness without frying these use baking powder and a two temperature bake.
Chicken wings with Teriyaki Sauce
Teriyaki Sauce with Maple Syrup and Coconut Sugar
- 3 cups of sake
- 1 cup of mirin (try to get one that has only water, rice, koji, and salt as ingredients)
- 1 cup of organic soy sauce or shoju
- 2 cups of coconut sugar or succcanat
- ½ cup of pure grade B maple sugar or honey
- 10 slices of ginger
- 2-4 cloves of garlic, sliced thinly (our family likes garlic)
- 1 tablespoon of arrowroot, dissolved in a bit of water
- In a large saucepan, bring all the ingredients (except the arrowroot) to a simmer.
- Simmer for 1 hour until slightly thickened.
- Stir in the dissolved arrowroot and cook until it thickens.
- Strain and let cool until ready to serve.
This will keep several weeks in the fridge.