Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Salmon Teriyaki



You know how those chain restaurants serve their fish in teriyaki sauce, right? It's usually a pathetic slice slathered in way too much sauce. I suppose it makes a lot of sense. These restaurants probably use fish that is not supremely fresh, so drenching it in all that sauce will help mask the fishy odour.

At home, when I cook Salmon Teriyaki, I use very little sauce. When you know you are using fresh fish, why smother its natural sweetness with sauce? Here's how I usually prepare this dish ... truly fast food in every sense of the word.



I used to marinate the fish in homemade teriyaki sauce for about an hour before cooking, but I have since done away with that, and it still tastes good. I simply salt the fish fillets lightly and panfry them. In the meantime, I would make the sauce:

- 2 tbsp sugar (slightly more if you want it sweeter and more viscous)
- 2 tbsp mirin* (or cut down to 1 tbsp if you don't want it too strong)
- 2 tbsp soy sauce (use Kikkoman but Lee Kum Kee works fine too)
* I buy my big 1-litre bottle from Giant supermarket.

It may look like very little sauce, but believe me, it's enough to drizzle onto the fish (I usually buy fillets around 300g and cut into smaller slabs).

Put all that into a saucepan and boil over a low flame. Once it bubbles, stir to dissolve all the sugar. Make sure your flame is not too big or the sauce will burn. Within minutes, you'll see that the sauce will thicken slightly and turn glossy. Turn off the fire and leave it to cool. Note that if you want your teriyaki sauce to be syrupy like those commercially-made ones, you'll have to add more sugar.

Once your fish fillets are seared, place them on a cooling rack for about 3mins, then transfer to a serving plate. Drizzle teriyaki sauce over and you're ready to eat.



Oh, one other thing ... chopsticks are not just utensils for eating; they have religious connotations too. Be mindful how you use your chopsticks in Asian cultures, especially in the presence of older folks. If used improperly, they almost always symbolise death or bad omens.

For example, DON'T cross your chopsticks! Good grief, I have seen this in so many food photos. It's totally taboo in chopstick-wielding cultures. Also, never ever stick chopsticks vertically into your rice - it is symbolic of offerings for the deceased.

If you want to know more about chopsticks etiquette, have a look at Wikipedia as well as this article. The rules vary among Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Taiwanese and Vietnamese cultures ... but only slightly. Superstition or not, I think it is only polite to respect these rules of etiquette. Besides, you don't want to get hollered at and have your hand smacked by my Grandma! ;)

52 comments:

  1. So this was what teriyaki sauce was all about? Thanks for telling me so! Now I'll start makign my own.. :P

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  2. I always think that fresh and homemade foods are the best, and that we can adjust to our taste.

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  3. Ju, what do you mean by don't cross the chopsticks. I don't get it..Can you show me pics? I just made teriyaki fish too for dinner, talk about coincidence...Mmmm....yummy!

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  4. The salmon is so thick and juicy. Are you a lefr hander? Noticed the chopsticks are placed on the left side...

    Just curious.

    : )

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  5. this is a case when a little bit of sauce goes a long way! haven't been cognizant of those chopstick etiquette so great reminder, esp in food styling!

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  6. First of all the chopsticks are the cutest ever.Did you make the embellishment Ju? So pretty and Springtime.

    We eat salmon a lot..I will try your sauce for certain..Jacques buys the 1 gallon jug too at our Asian market..it seems soya sauce is like our Olive Oil as far as consumption.
    It makes great sauces..marinades etc..

    Your salmon looks fresh and so tasty.
    I appreciate the chopstick etiquette and will read the article.
    Thank you so much.
    I LOVE learning new things..especially w/ pretty photos.

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  7. Looks great as usual Ju. You feed your family very well! And that's a cool placemat.

    I like Harumi's salmon teriyaki too... she bakes it in the oven, so you get a nice crispy layer of skin.

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  8. Yours look better than restaurant's, anytime. You're still using the dslr? I think you are really talented in learning to use it, you should buy one soon hehe ^^

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  9. This looks fantastic btw. I think I'm gonna be giving this a try soon. Will definitely link back to you if I do. :)

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  10. Oh my.... Thanks for the etiquette lesson. I am afraid I have been ignorantly guilty in the past...

    Salmon, bu far is my favorite fish. Such flavor, and you are right about over saucing. Great post

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  11. So grateful to you for explaining some basic and super important rules on chopstick usage! Thanks Ju~
    Love that simple and good recipe too.

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  12. That is the prettiest thing I have seen all day!

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  13. Mmmm....my favourite. I love teriyaki salmon very much. I had salmon for dinner this evening...at least not so suffering looking at your dish now...haha. Thanks for all info on using chopsticks. Now I am not sure whether I have committed those offences. I'll remember next time.

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  14. Hmmmm....interesting info on Chopsticks. I had no idea about the religious meanings. I wish I could use chopsticks and believe me I've tried. I'm not uncoordinated but I just can't seem to manage chopsticks!

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  15. Oh wow, the salmon looks gorgeous! I love teriyaki anything! mmm

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  16. Hi Ju! Thanks for the Salmon recipe - it looks like something I would like to have after a long day at work and little time to cook! But more importantly, thanks for the chopsticks tips! I've been guilty of crossing the chopsticks before - at least I know not to do this now! :)

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  17. These photos are so gorgeous. I have never been satisfied with anything teriyaki at a restaurant, so I always assumed that I didn't like the taste. Now I'm wondering if it's just the fact that all the proteins I've had it served with were completely drowned in it. I'd like to give this a shot and see how I feel about it!

    Thanks for the tips about the chopsticks, too. I knew about not crossing them, but I didn't know it was bad to stick them straight into your rice!

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  18. I really like this dish! It looks very healthy and the photos are fab!

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  19. The salmon teriyaki looks really good. Great photos! So have you decided to get a DSLR?... I am deliberating...and I have to return the camera soon..:(

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  20. YUMMYYYYYY! i love salmon and teriyaki sauce.
    and i totally know what you mean when you say they DRENCH the salmon in it!
    super hungry now.
    and i hope you're gonna get a DSLR of your own,
    because THOSE PICTURES ARE AWESOME.

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  21. Ooh, I love this! I also just made it recently! But my picture's definitely not as nice... http://simply-mommie.blogspot.com/2010/03/teriyaki-salmon.html

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  22. I have heard about chopsticks etiquette. I had forgotten all of the rules, but whenever I use chopsticks in my photos, I am careful about how I position them. I never insert them in the bowl unless I'm actually using them for eating, and i don't cross them over. I'm glad that I was on the right track.

    This dish looks amazing. Are you still using the the other camera? It looks beautiful.

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  23. Ooooh,...aaaaah,...your salmon teriyaki looks so tasty, dear Ju!

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  24. Great post with your usual beautiful photos! Good on you for writing about the chopsticks etiquette. I would have killed so many Aussie kids in Chinese restaurants if my friends had not stopped me lol. When I come back to Singapore you must take me camera shopping!

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  25. yummy, I love this kind of teriyaki sauce using mirin, I just made fish teriyaki too, with pineapple juice :)...thanks for the info on chopstick etiquette :)

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  26. I remember those chopsticks etiquette. I guess I might have to make some salmon soon too. Been seeing a lot of it lately!

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  27. I totally agree with the chopsticks thing. Sometimes I don't know if I'm being too conservative when I tell my non-chinese friends to place their chopsticks appropriately but luckily they're always keen to learn a new Chinese custom.

    P/s I adoreee salmon teriyaki! It's something about the sweet soy and the robust flesh.

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  28. I cook and eat teriyaki fairly often, but I don't think that I have ever done -- or eaten -- teriyaki salmon. I have to try this! Thanks.

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  29. E' da un po' che hoin mente di tastare questa ricetta, la salsa teriyaki c'è l'ho in casa, quindi non mi resta che provare la tua ricetta e ringraziarti.Un abbraccio Daniela.

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  30. I love teriyaki sauce. It goes well with many dishes especially salmon. Healthy yet delicious! ;)

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  31. First of all, I just went and looked at every single post of any Asian food I ever did to make sure I hadn't crossed the chopsticks ... whew! I agree with you completely about etiquette, I swear I would have had a heart attack but I am luckily unscathed, from an etiquette point of view. Also agree with you about not drenching a beautiful piece of fish in sauce - just enough will do. This looks perfect (as always).

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  32. I use lots of mirin in my cooking, and with lots of sake as well although I tone down with the latter. I once nearly killed myself with the intensity of the sake. LOL. ok i joke. it was just too strong. and i was a little too tired to see what i was throwing into the saucepan anyway. This looks so yum. And gorgeous chopsticks. yea i'm crazy like that with a weird thing for chopsticks ;) x

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  33. Beautiful, not to say healthy. I have a big bottle of Teriyaki sauce waiting to be used.

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  34. It's about time someone stands up against the gooey blop served in too many restaurants (and you're right about trying to hide smelly fish). I love your light version, that's the way it should be.

    And thank you for the little lesson in chopsticks etiquette. I knew it wasn't correct to stick them in the rice but i didn't know why.

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  35. That is gorgeous fish Ju...
    It is screaming for me to eat it!
    L~xo

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  36. I am one who does not hold my chopsticks properly - they cross when I pick up my food :O ...I deserved to be boiled alive for being a Chinese and don't know how to properly hold my chopsticks...gosh!

    That salmon looks quite a huge chunk? Does it cost about 10-15 bucks? ;p

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  37. Hi!
    I was introduced to your blog by my friend. I must say your blog is very interesting. Your photography skill is also very good. I enjoy reading your blog.
    I just have a question for you : With 3 children, how do you squeeze out the time to cook or bake and then put up on the blog?
    I admire your energy :-)

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  38. Anon: When there is a will, there is a way! ;) Thanks for dropping by.

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  39. Ju, I never knew that about chopstick etiquette.. oh my how many times have i slammed my chopsticks into rice the wrong way... no wonder we get such looks! Thanks for the wonderful information and also that sauce... great looking salmon!

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  40. Yup, I was told of the same things since young, too! Never ever do that ... because these rituals are stuck in my head now! *LOL*

    As always, gorgeous photos with food that's worth drooling over ... I heart salmon teriyaki!

    P.S. Been very busy. But, I'll try to visit around when time allows. Take care till then and have fun with the camera!

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  41. The salmon looks gorgeous.
    I appreciate your tips about chopsticks. I didn't know these things about the culture and this was very helpful. I'll also read the other articles.
    (One more thing, there's a link love to your fried rice post in my Meamorable Meals one)

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  42. Ju, this looks like the perfect dinner for a Friday night. Or a Saturday night. Or a Sunday night. Or any night, really. I love your teriyaki sauce recipe--not too sweet, and just enough. Thanks!

    Uh, oh. I just checked my photos and in one of them my chopsticks are crossed. Ew. Mea Culpa.

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  43. This is a really interesting post! I had never come across a homemade teriyaki sauce before, and I didn't know those things about using chopsticks, I'll be sure not to cross them in the future!

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  44. I never thought it would be so easy to make teriyaki sauce at home. It was absolutely delicious! Thank you for sharing!

    Best wishes from Germany
    orange

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  45. THANK YOU for explaining about chopsticks etiquette! I knew about not sticking them in the rice vertically, but not about crossing them. Love your chopsticks "gatherer", very Vietnamese. Will be making this dish tonight!

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  46. Update: The sauce is REALLY GOOD! Although it was a bit much with about 250g of salmon, felt a bit soaked :) I'm sticking with this sauce for teriyaki from now on, it's so simple too! Also if anyone wants to thicken it, try the typical Asian way - cornflour with cold water, probably around 1ts each, dissolve and add into the sauce just before removing from heat.

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  47. Cabnolen: Thanks for your feedback. Good to know! :)

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  48. Hi

    Can you share how you fry the salmon? I fried in it in the wok and recived a oil burn on my arm. This fish sputters so much! I was using the cover as my shield but still "kena" my arms, hurts so much, sigh! My helper thot is was a funny sight. Sabrina

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    1. Hi Sabrina, it IS funny. :p I would suggest you use a frying pan instead of a wok. After you rinse the salmon, give it a pat dry with paper towels. Then give it a squeeze of lemon, and some salt & pepper to marinate (optional). I don't use a lot of oil, and the pan should not be heated up till it's too hot. It should sizzle, not splatter. HTH!

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  49. Can someone please tell me what 'mirin' is? I hate missing an important ingrediant like that! Thank you, BonnieIris

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    1. Mirin is "Japanese rice wine", can be found in Asian food stores.

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