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Original Teriyaki

Original Teriyaki

Learn how to make and cook with an authentic teriyaki sauce to prepare delicious chicken, fish, or beef dishes. This article provides a detailed teriyaki sauce recipe and tips for cooking teriyaki using various ingredients, including swordfish, artichoke hearts, and more.

Okay, time for teriyaki, but I mean the real thing, not the ho-hum dish we typically see here in America, the one with a gummy, starch-thickened sauce that drowns chicken or fish. The "teri" in teriyaki means "glossy," and that's the secret of this thing -- you coat an ingredient with a light, thin glaze to give it incredible sweet-savory flavor and a lovely, shiny sheen. Wonderful. The sugar and mirin in the sauce, by the way, are what create that gloss. Teriyaki is a delicious method for preparing chicken, fish or beef; fast and easy, too. (Yep, great for family cooking!) Start by preparing a teriyaki sauce, which you can make ahead of time and keep in the fridge for at least a month. (I bumped into Hiroko of Sakaya in the subway this morning and she reminded me that the teriyaki sauce flavors mingle and improve over time, too -- thanks, neighbor!) Then choose your main ingredient: boneless chicken leg, chicken breast, salmon fillet or steak, swordfish, mahi mahi, beef steak or even artichoke hearts.

Swordfish Steak Teriyaki with Homemade Sauce

For the Teriyaki Sauce:


  • 1/2 cup shoyu (Japanese dark soy sauce)
  • 1/4 cup mirin
  • 1/4 cup sake
  • 3 tablespoons unrefined cane sugar
  • 1 or 2 cloves of garlic, crushed (optional)
  • 1/2 inch piece of ginger, sliced thickly (optional)


  1. Combine Ingredients: In a saucepan, mix soy sauce, mirin, sake, sugar, garlic, and ginger.
  2. Boil and Simmer: Bring to a boil over medium heat, then reduce to low. Simmer for about 20 minutes until the liquid reduces by half.
  3. Finalize the Sauce: Once reduced, remove from heat. Discard the garlic and ginger slices. Let the sauce cool to room temperature before using.

Techniques and Their Purposes:

  • Searing the Fish: Creates a caramelized crust, locking in juices and adding depth of flavor.
  • Brushing with Teriyaki Sauce: The glazing process adds layers of sweet and savory flavors, enhancing the fish's taste.
  • Simmering the Sauce: Reducing the sauce concentrates its flavors, making it rich and syrupy.
  • Removing Garlic and Ginger: Prevents these strong flavors from overpowering the sauce.

For Swordfish Teriyaki:


  • Swordfish steak
  • Cooking oil
  • Teriyaki sauce (recipe follows)


  1. Preheat the Skillet: Heat a skillet over medium-high heat. Add a little oil to coat the pan.
  2. Sear the Swordfish: Once the oil is hot, lay the swordfish in the skillet. Sear both sides for about 2 minutes each.
  3. Glaze the Fish: Lightly brush the swordfish with teriyaki sauce. Grill for about 1 minute.
  4. Flip and Glaze Again: Carefully flip the fish and brush more teriyaki sauce on the other side. Grill for another minute.
  5. Repeat: Continue the flipping and glazing routine for another 1 to 2 minutes on each side, depending on the thickness of the steak.
  6. Serve: Accompany the swordfish with a steaming bowl of rice.