Monday, May 23, 2011

Make Your Own Basic Teriyaki Post-Grill Sauce

Mad about teriyaki sauce? Well, so are we in my little family of three. And teriyaki sauce is easy to make and worth making. The store-bought stuff is too salty, too artificially, and frankly, is it worth the expense? You need only a few simple ingredients to recreate the same thing at home.

In Japan, teriyaki sauce is a thin, sweet-rice-wine laden sauce applied sometimes before but always after grilling and has only three ingredients: soy sauce, sugar, and mirin (sweet rice wine).

While the purist would say that's the only way to go, the teriyaki sauce we are so hooked on is thicker and more rich in flavor. The secret, I've found, is to add in some soup stock--chicken is a good base--and then corn starch to thicken. Let's call this, "Store-bought Knock-off Teriyaki" sauce, then. No more difficult than making any gravy. And delicious on any just-grilled food.

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2 tablespoons mirin (sweet rice wine--please do not substitute--mirin is great to have around for many Japanese dishes)
4 tablespoons soy sauce (to taste)
2 tablespoons sake
2 tablespoons sugar
1 1/2 tablespoons corn starch
1 cup chicken stock

Add the mirin, soy sauce, sake, and sugar to a small saucepan. Cook over medium, stirring until the sugar dissolves. In a small bowl, mix the corn starch with 2 tablespoons water to dissolve it. Add the corn starch mixture and the chicken stock to the sauce pan with the other ingredients. Cook, stirring, until sauce has thickened and cooked down in volume slightly. Taste to adjust seasonings (you might want to add up 1 or 2 teaspoons more soy sauce). Pour over grilled vegetables, fish, or meat.

Store unused portion in a tightly fitting container in the refrigerator. Will keep for a few days.

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Notes;

To use teriyaki as a marinade, make the recipe above and stop before you add stock and corn starch. Use just this, then continue and add the other two ingredients for the thicker, richer version as a post-grill sauce.

You can also look around and find teriyaki sauce recipes with ingredients like ginger, sesame oil, pepper flakes--even vinegar. While those ingredients are lovely and fun, they are not included in the basic teriyaki flavor--they are variations that make "teri-style" sauces. The exception is ginger, though, which is used more often. If you do add ginger to your teriyaki, use only the juice squeezed from freshly grated ginger root.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Gotetsu: Japanese Kushiyaki Restaurant in Midtown Ventura, California


Exquisite.
There is only one word to truly capture the fabulousness that is Gotetsu. Exquisite.

The owner/chef, Yukari, admitted she serves only what she loves to eat--and it shows. Small menu, every dish remarkable, memorable, and obscenely delicious. Delicately and excitingly seasoned--just WOW!

Yukari is a delight, by the way, and extremely interested in how you like the food she prepares right before your eyes. I was won over at the first bite.

I recommend the shiso and ponzu-miso smeared chicken thigh, the chicken meatball skewer, the eggplant skewer--and don't get me started on the homemade fresh gyoza--Oh my god. I couldn't say anything else. Like the finest restaurant, you can taste every ingredient--so bursting with freshness.

I thought I was in Japan again and at one of the amazing culinary oases there--but no, right here in humble Ventura, California--a little slice of exquisite Japanese heaven. My life is complete. Only this could be addicting.

Oh, yeah, my seven-year-old loved the food, too. I simply cannot wait to go back. Mind-blowing. Exquisite!

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Gotetsu Kushiyaki Restaurant
2098 E Main St
Ventura, CA 93001
(805) 643-3199