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!
- Teriyaki Sauce
- 1/2 c Braggs aminos or use soy sauce
- 3/4 c maple syrup
- 1/2 c seasoned rice wine vinegar
- 3 t freshly grated ginger about 2 inches (not dried ginger)
- 2 clove garlic minced
- 1 t sriracha
- 1 T sesame oil
- 1 T cornstarch in 1 T water
- 2 blocks tofu (I use firm organic tofu packed in water)
- Easy Pickled Cucumbers
- 1 large cucumber (English cucumbers are less seedy)
- 2 T maple syrup
- 3 T rice wine vinegar
- Press the tofu (in a tofu press or wrapped in a towel under a heavy weight.
- Preheat the oven to 425°.
- Once pressed, cut tofu into desired size—remember that the smaller the pieces, the more tedious it is to flip in the oven.
- Spread the tofu out onto a parchment lined baking sheet. Bake for 45-50 minutes, flipping all pieces half way through the cooking time.
- While the tofu cooks, place Braggs, maple syrup, rice wine vinegar, ginger, garlic, and sriracha into a small saucepan.
- Bring to a boil. Then reduce heat to a simmer.
- Whisk cornstarch into water until fully combined. Add to the sauce and whisk in.
- Let simmer for 5 minutes and then remove from heat. Sauce will thicken as it cools.
- Once the tofu has baked remove it from the oven and transfer to a hot cast iron skillet (you can add a drizzle of vegetable oil into the pan). Pour about 1/4 to 1/2 c of the sauce on to the tofu. Toss to coat completely, about 2 minutes. Serve with rice, pickled cucumbers (below), steamed broccoli, etc. Enjoy!
For the Cucumbers:
- Slice the cucumbers thinly—I use my handheld mandolin.
- Place in a dish and top with maple syrup and vinegar. Toss every few minutes to coat while the tofu is 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.