By Sandy Hu
Hot day at the beach…seawater and sunscreen. The aromas of teriyaki sizzling sets mouths watering.
“Barbecue” in Hawaii means teriyaki, that wonderful, soy sauce and sugar combination that makes beef, chicken or pork succulent and delicious. Teriyaki is the signature flavor of the Islands, ubiquitous at lunch wagons, fast food eateries, white tablecloth restaurants and neighborhood block parties.
It’s easy to enjoy the taste of Hawaii wherever you are. Teriyaki is perfect for cooks in a hurry. If you can find very thinly-sliced beef or can get your butcher to slice some for you, it takes about 20 minutes to marinate and just a few more to grill. For thicker pieces, such as chicken or steaks, marinate 3 to 4 hours or overnight. For less tender cuts of meat, marinate for 6 or more hours, but less than 24.
You can mix teriyaki sauce with ground beef to make teri-burgers. About ¼ cup of the marinade below will season 1 pound of ground beef (remove any garlic and ginger pieces). Refrigerate remaining marinade for another use. Grill burgers and serve on toasted buns with mayonnaise, lettuce and tomato. The intense flavor of teriyaki combined with the creaminess of mayonnaise is a perfect match.
There are as many recipes for teriyaki as there are good cooks. Feel free to improvise and change the proportions of the recipe below to suit your taste.
¾ cup soy sauce
½ cup light brown sugar, packed
¼ cup sake or sherry
2 cloves garlic, minced or smashed with a knife
2 (1/2-inch slices) ginger root, roughly chopped or smashed with a knife
Combine all ingredients and marinate beef, chicken or pork. Makes 1 ½ cups. This is enough marinade for four 2-inch thick rib-eye steaks.
• Marinate meats in a zipper-top plastic bag and place in a shallow dish. It’s easy to turn the meat halfway through the marinating time by flipping the bag over.
• Fresh ginger has a tenderizing enzyme; do not marinate meat more than 24 hours or meat will get mushy.
• Do not reuse marinade; if you want some for a sauce, set aside some of it before you use it for the meat.
• Always marinate meats in the refrigerator; not on the countertop.
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