Teriyaki-style cooking is one of Japan’s best known – and certainly one of its most delicious – exports. Around the world, the term, “teriyaki,” is used to refer to meat or fish that has been grilled on skewers or pan-broiled, flavoured either by marinating or basting with Teriyaki Sauce, a rich, tasty blend of soy sauce, mirin, sake and sugar.
In Japanese, teri means “gloss,” “luster” or “glaze” – an apt description of the mouth-watering sheen created by the basting sauce. Yaki means simply “grilled” or “broiled.”
Cooking foods over charcoal is the classic Japanese method of preparing teriyaki; pans are a secondary technique. In Japanese cooking, teriyaki is prepared by brushing on the sweet soy-sauce-based glaze in the last stages of grilling fish, chicken, beef, pork or vegetables, usually over an open fire. The final basting stages not only make the food glisten but also add flavour.
Teriyaki-style cooking has long been a popular way to prepare large fish with a relatively high fat content, such as yellowtail and salmon, or more delicate fish and shellfish. The teriyaki method is also used to create yakitori, bite-size pieces of chicken on a skewer.
Any dish made with a teriyaki-like sauce (often even those using alternatives to sake), or with added ingredients such as sesame or garlic (uncommon in traditional Japanese cuisine), is described as teriyaki. Pineapple juice is sometimes used as it not only provides sweetness but also bromelain enzymes that help tenderise the meat. Grilling meat first and pouring the sauce on afterward or using sweet sauce as a marinade are other non-traditional methods of cooking teriyaki. Teriyaki Sauce is sometimes put on chicken wings or used as a dipping sauce.
Teriyaki Burger (テリヤキバーガー) refers to a variety of hamburger either topped with teriyaki sauce or with the sauce worked into the meat patty.[no_toc]