Homemade Teriyaki Sauce adapted from a treasured family recipe. Aunt Emiko made the most delicious teriyaki ever; I cut the sugar and kept the flavor.
Aunt Emiko is not my aunt. Nope, she sure isn’t. But I would be happy to be a part of her family because she makes the best teriyaki sauce I have ever eaten. Back in 2008, I was at my friend’s family’s house spending time snuggling up her new daughter.
Right before dinner, I was asked to be her daughter’s godmother. I’m not sure if that amazing honor colored my tastebuds, but as I dipped their homemade rice patties into teriyaki, I gasped and said: “what is this”?! It made me sit up and demand a recipe.
To this day, I have a printed email in my homemade cookbook dated June 26, 2008, with a copy of the recipe. There is a specific note from my friend that says “this recipe is not locked up…unless you sell it”. To this day, that disclaimer still haunts me, because if I could bottle this and sell it, I would make billions. Teriyaki billions. Delicious, delicious billions.
Upon wanting to write this post, I got special permission from the family (and extended family!) to share the recipe. I think I was granted the honored approval because I told them I adapted it a bit. I took something that was absolutely amazing and did my best to make it my own.
Why would I change something that was so perfect as is? The simple answer is the sugar. The original recipe called for more sugar than I was comfortable using for a savory sauce. Almost three cups of sugar is a lot for a dessert. It’s a ton for a marinade for chicken, tofu, and veggies.
One of my favorites parts of this adapted teriyaki sauce is that it uses what many consider a waste product in the kitchen. The humble pineapple core, mixed with water creates a practically free ingredient to use. I have used pineapple juice before when making teriyaki sauce and it has worked great.
But when I recently went to make it, I found an organic whole pineapple on clearance. I chopped it up to eat fresh, and put the core and some water in my Vitamix and let it blend for a few minutes. Worked like a charm and I got to use a discarded item to make something delicious. I then immediately turned around and used the fresh teriyaki sauce that night on my One Pan Teriyaki Chicken Dinner.
For the last nine years, I have adored Aunt Emiko’s teriyaki sauce, even though I adapted it. Do not get me wrong; the original was amazing. This version stands in the shadow of giants and shines as brightly as it can.
Homemade Teriyaki Sauce
- 2 cups reduced sodium soy sauce
- 1 1/2 cups pineapple juice/liquid See notes
- 3 tbsp mirin
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 inch piece peeled and grated ginger
- 1/4 cup sugar
- Combine all the ingredients in a large saucepan, and bring to a near boil, stirring often.
- As soon as it starts to bubble, reduce to medium-low. Stir often and watch it carefully so the sauce doesn't burn.
- The cooking time will depend on the consistency you are looking to achieve. Expect it to cook down for 20-45 minutes. The sauce will thicken once it cools. I have made it thinner when I want to use it for a sauce or let it cook a little longer when I want to use it as a marinade.
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Can I use rice wine vinegar instead?
Yep. It will change the overall flavor a bit but still be yummy.
So much better than coming from a bottle!
What was the original amount of sugar in the recipe mind my asking? i can’t wait to try this!
2 3/4 cups! Plus mirin which has sugar in it (sweet seasoning) so that is like adding fudge on top of chocolate ice cream. LOL.