Saturday, November 15, 2008

Teriyaki Sauce

My friend Denise tells me that in Japan people use Kikkoman teriyaki sauce. And I nod and say, "Oh really? That's nice." I don't think she has ever tasted my mom's teriyaki sauce. It is the most incredible marinade in the world! You can marinate just about ANYTHING in it. Steaks, chicken, lamb, you name it. It makes that stuff in the bottle taste like watery brine.

Once, when Steve and I still lived in California, his parents were visiting and so we were obligated to either drive all over the Southland visiting their various siblings, nieces, nephews, and cousins, or get it over with in one fell swoop by having them all over to our place for a barbeque. If you have ever navigated the traffic for hours on end in LA, you know I chose to have a barbeque. I bought some huge piece of beef or another and sliced it paper thin. (You can do this by partially freezing the beef, making it pretty simple to slice with a knife.) I put it in a huge vat of some sort and poured the teriyaki over it. Now you may think that buying the bottle is so much easier, but let me assure you, it is just as simple to whip this up. It is THAT easy. And so delicious. If you read the comment from my last post, you'll notice my mom said that flank steak is the best cut to use and I will certainly defer to her experience and wisdom on that point, but I think I used sirloin.

Now Steve is from an enormous Italian family. They are a great bunch, for the most part, like any huge family. But there has been very little non-Italian intermarrying until the last fifteen or twenty years. So they had a different set of food expectations than I had anticipated. I remember some crazy uncle coming in and anouncing, "Oh boy, I get sausage!" Because to Italians, if you're going to have a picnic, and you're going to grill, you're going to grill sausage. Still a young bride, I blanched a bit and swallowed hard and said, "Um, we're having teriyaki." Nobody said much of anything else, and one of Steve's cousins took me aside and told me not to worry about it, Old Uncle So and So would be fine. If this happened today, I would probably look at him and say, "Sorry, you want sausage you better go the deli down the street. We're having steak. And if you don't like it, oh well." Or I'd at least think it while smiling and shooting fireballs out of my eyes.

So I proceeded to thread the steak onto bamboo skewers that I had soaked in water for a while. Steve fired up the grill and started laying them on the grill. He started flipping the first ones he placed as soon as he filled up the grill, these babies only take about two minutes or less. Total. Not per side. You can overcook these into dried out beef jerky really quickly. But it's not that hard to turn out moist, succulent morsels of meat really quickly. You simply must try this recipe. It is that good. Oh, and the Italian relatives raved about it. They had never had anything like it and it was a HUGE hit. Just like it is everytime I make it. Thanks, Mom!

Mom's Teriyaki Sauce

1 C brown sugar
1 C soy sauce
8 T lemon juice
1/4 C vegetable oil
1 tsp ground ginger (this is the only place I don't follow Mom's recipe: I use fresh ginger. I'm sure she doesn't mind!)
1 clove minced garlic

Mix together: For flank steak, slice on bias and marinade for 3 days in a plastic bag

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