If you are crazy for Japanese like I am, sometimes you must order Teriyaki anything on the menu. It’s a sauce that delivers both; sweet and salty hits with umami flavours. (Just thinking about it makes my mouth water!!)
In a nutshell, Teriyaki sauce is a combination of soya sauce, alcohols and sugars. The store bought varieties though, are typically full of other ingredients and preservatives that would need a scientist to decode. And being Asian we use so much soya sauce for daily cooking, for years – I had been just buying any store bought soya sauces and other soy products without considering it’s impact on my health.
I recently learnt that not all soya sauce products are created equally; and after doing some research on my own – the best varieties to buy are the ones that use organic soya whole beans and sea salt, that have been naturally fermented for 18 months in wooden kegs. This results in a soy product that is rich in micronutrients and amino acids which is in turn easily digestible by the human body. (Click here to see the brand I use).
Most commercial varieties use broken beans and husks that contain less nutrition and the process of ‘fermentation’(which occurs over a short span of a few weeks) has been unnaturally sped up by heat and acids which results in a chemical reaction that has been found to have carcinogenic effects in humans. To improve the taste of the product, table salt which is high in sodium, MSG and other flavour enhancers are then added.
For this recipe however, as I’m trying to show alternative cooking methods that use less wheat/gluten I will be using organic Tamari instead of soya sauce.
Tamari– In the wider class of soya sauces is a by product of the soy fermentation process, not only does it contain hardly any amounts of wheat, it’s taste is richer, more balanced and less salty than traditional soya sauce. To be sure you are buying a gluten free tamari product do read your product labels carefully before purchase.
The fish marinated with the Tamari Teriyaki sauce is popped under the oven grill for almost 15 mins to get a glossy sheen. And the warm citrus yuzu dip for the soba noodles helps give a nice tang, so you get a tantalising salty, sweet and sour play in combination. The grilled fish remains moist and juicy because of the short cooking time.
Buckwheat or Soba Noodles – Most store bought soba dried noodles are made from buckwheat and wheat. If you are avoiding gluten, look for buckwheat noodles that are labelled 100% buckwheat. Alternative: Use Korean potato noodles (same ones they use for Japchae) as a substitute. These potato noodles are somewhat more slippery than buckwheat noodles and you must remember to cover them with cling wrap after you blanch them so they don’t dry out.
Dashi Dipping Sauce – Dashi (a soup stock) is often made from boiling bonito flakes (shaved fish flakes) and kombu (a type of edible seaweed used in Japanese cuisine) in hot water. You can add any flavouring agent, i.e. Tamari, Yuzu juice to turn it into a savoury dipping sauce.
Yuzu – The Yuzu addition is optional; I love yuzu everything I do buy it (fresh or bottled) when I see it at Japanese supermarkets (it tastes like hybrid of grapefruits and lemons with a sweeter lingering fragrance). Alternative: Use Calamansi (small green limes) instead of yuzu in the dipping sauce. Just a few generous squeezes will do.
Although there are a few steps to making the full recipe the end dish is restaurant worthy! Plus point is the Teriyaki sauce is enough for quite a few servings and it can be used to coat vegetables, chicken and even seafood. It will keep in the fridge for up to 3 weeks, in my household it gets used up within a week! It’s that good!
Homebrewed Tamari Teriyaki Sauce Salmon with Soba & Warm Dashi Yuzu Dip
6 tablespoons tamari or substitute with soya sauce
5 tablespoons mirin (Japanese sweet cooking wine)
4 tablespoons sake or substitute with vodka
3 tablespoons water
4 tablespoons maple syrup
1 stalk of spring onions or chives
Warm Dashi Yuzu Dip
2 cups water
1 packet instant bonito powder (method 1)
1 1/2 cups bonito shavings (method 2)
1 piece of konbu seaweed (method 2)
Yuzu or calamansi juice
4 fillets of salmon
4 individual bunches Soba noodles
Making The Teriyaki Sauce
Combine all the liquids into a sauce pan and add the spring onion when the pot boils bring the heat down to a simmer.
Let the sauce cook and reduce to about half the quantity this will take about 15 to 20 mins. To check if it’s done use a spoon to test, the sauce should still be liquid but coat the back of the spoon lightly. But sure to watch your sauce as it can become a caramel if left to boil on high heat for too long!
Remove spring onion and store cooled sauce in a glass container – this will keep for about 3 weeks.
Making the Warm Dashi Yuzu Dip
Method 1 – Dissolve a packet of instant bonito powder into 2 cups of warm water(if you are avoiding MSG please use method 2). This makes the dashi stock. After add 6 tablespoons of dashi stock to each dipping bowl and add tamari to taste, add in 1 tablespoon of your yuzu or calamansi juice after.
Method 2 – Boil 2 cups of water with 1.5 cups of bonito shavings and 1 piece of kombu seaweed. Boil on high heat for 20 mins. Strain the bonito shavings out and remove the kombu. Now add the 6 tablespoons of stock or more to the dipping bowl and add tamari to taste, add in 1 tablespoon of your yuzu or calamansi juice after.
Blanching the Soba Noodles
The soba needs to be cooked for 7 to 10 mins in very hot boiling water. You will know it’s cooked if you bite into a piece, the centre should not be hard or chewy.
After that remove from heat and sink all of the soba in a basin with ice.
Grilling the Salmon
Preheat your grill in the oven to 240C.
Marinate the Salmon fillets with a generous drizzle of the Teriyaki Sauce.
Place the fish fillets on some parchment paper, and once the grill is hot place them in the oven on the first shelf closest to the grill and cook for 10 to 15 mins.
When the fillets are cooked they will flake easily. In this case you want a slight undercook as compared to dry overcooked fish.
Plate your Salmon and add some sesame seeds as a garnish. Put your soba noodles atop of a few ice cubes to keep it cold. Garnish with sliced julienned cucumber and cut seaweed.
Assemble your warm dashi yuzu dip and the dish is done!
#Show us your Teriyaki inspired dishes at #taystesg