Okay, I’ll admit it: Boise does have one thing that I haven’t seen in Denver. Up here, they have dedicated teriyaki restaurants. Almost every entree on their menu is glazed with this sweet-and-salty sauce and grilled or stir-fried to shiny perfection, and I want to eat all of it. (Seriously, I’ll never understand how they haven’t put one of those up in my hometown yet.)
They may have teriyaki restaurants up here, but I think I still got the better end of the deal because of my mom’s teriyaki.
Let’s back up for a minute, though. What exactly is teriyaki? The word itself comes from two Japanese words: teri, referring to the shine that comes from the sugar in the sauce, and yaki, referring to the cooking method of grilling or broiling. This sauce is traditionally made with soy sauce, sugar, and either sake or mirin (Japanese cooking wine). Sometimes, ginger is added, and the finished dish is often garnished with spring onions.
Ever since it made its arrival in the Western Hemisphere, teriyaki has branched off into a few different adaptations. My mom’s recipe shows the influence of her Hawaiian upbringing. She likes using a specific Hawaiian-based soy sauce brand that’s a little sweeter than most (and I’ve edited this recipe to account for the fact that this exact brand might be harder to find in some areas), and she also puts some garlic in her recipe. (Garlic isn’t exactly traditional Japanese cuisine, but it makes a delicious addition!)
For this recipe, I decided to play up the East-Meets-West concept and serve meatballs glazed with this sauce. It’s a little twist on a longtime favorite, and you’re going to love the complex savory and sweet flavors in this dish!
Teriyaki Glazed Meatballs
1 cup soy sauce
1 1/3 cup granulated sugar
2 TBSP brown sugar, packed
1 clove garlic, minced
1 TBSP ginger, grated
1/2 yellow onion, julienned
1 lb meatballs (if you’re using frozen meatballs, make sure to thaw them first)
Green onions to garnish
Combine soy sauce, sugars, garlic, and ginger in a saucepan, and bring to a simmer over medium heat. Cook and stir until thickened to a glaze consistency, about 5 minutes.
Bring a large sauté pan to medium heat, and cook the onions with a little bit of oil until tender. Add in the meatballs, and cook together until heated through. Add about 1/2 cup of the teriyaki sauce to the meatball mixture, tossing gently to coat everything evenly. Cook for 1-2 minutes, then remove the pan from the heat, and serve over rice. Top with the green onions, and enjoy!
Makes about 4 servings.