The first time I had teriyaki almost didn’t happen. It was 16 years ago, right after graduating college, when I first moved to Seattle. My co-workers invited me to go out to lunch with them, and told me they were going to this great teriyaki spot. I told them that I didn’t think I liked teriyaki and tried not to go, but they convinced me that there were other things on the menu that I could try. Ok, back up a second—don’t like teriyaki? What was I thinking? I clearly had no idea what teriyaki was (seriously, I didn’t), because it is definitely something I like—both now and then. Sweet sauce, protein, rice, some pickled cucumbers—what’s not to like?
After I got to the restaurant and saw what it was I realized that it was in fact good. Scratch that—it’s delicious! It became a staple on my dining out repertoire. In Seattle we are surrounded by little mom and pop teriyaki joints. I tend to not frequent them as often these days because they tend to specialize in chicken or other meats, and when they do have tofu on the menu it’s just not cooked as well. So I started experimenting with my own at home.
Here’s the thing about teriyaki. It’s sweet. Really sweet. And I don’t think you realize how much sugar goes into the sauce until you actually make it on your own. For this recipe I’ve used maple syrup—still sugar, but unrefined, so that makes it a little healthier. I’ve erred on the less sweet side because I just couldn’t get my head around using any more sweetener. You absolutely could, or you could reduce it—be your own chef!
^^^ Aren’t those carrots pretty? They’re Yin Yang Carrots by Firefly Kitchens! Yum!
This batch of sauce probably makes more than enough for 2 full meals—it yields over a cup of sauce! We had it last week with tofu, and then again with seitan. I really love both, while Irving prefers the seitan. I also think this would be delicious with veggies—maybe grill them first and then toss them in the sauce? And I have used the sauce as a drizzle over quick lunch time rice bowls with leftovers and fresh veggies—so good!
But wait, there’s more! I’ve learned a new way to cook tofu. I used to press, marinate, and then bake, and I still like using that method (check out my Baked Tofu!). But for a tofu that is going to have a sticky sauce on it I like to prepare it differently. I press the tofu well, slice it up to my desired size, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and then bake it for 45-50 minutes, giving it a slightly crispy edge. I know—you just pop it in the oven like that—I was skeptical the first time I did it too. But it works. After it bakes I remove them from the oven, place the tofu into my cast iron on the stove top, let it crisp for one more minute, and then drizzle with the sauce. Cook for a couple of minutes while turning in the sauce and voila—perfect tofu! It really works! And….if you use your time right, after you start the tofu you can prep the sauce, rice, even pickle some cucumbers while it cooks and you have an amazing dinner in under an hour!
Ready for some serious deliciousness? I think you’re going to love this! In fact, it’s the recipe you all voted for over on Facebook! Give this recipe a try and let me know how you like it. Take a pic and tag it with #frieddandelions. I love to see what you’re cooking!
*Note: to use the sauce for seitan or veggies—place cooked seitan or veggies into a skillet with a splash of oil and toss around. Add sauce and turn frequently with a spoon, letting the sauce coat the seitan or veggies just like you would with the tofu above.