Teriyaki is one of those sauces that can be made a thousand different ways depending on what you want to do with it. It’s almost like BBQ sauce in some ways.
The teriyaki sauce that you might find in a bottle at your store will be thick and very sweet. That stuff is loaded with sugar and is cooked down. The teriyaki sauce I like to make is quite different – it’s lighter, has more aromatics like ginger and garlic, and can be used as both a marinade and as a sauce.
Let’s walk through one version of the classic teriyaki sauce and then put it on some beautiful teriyaki shrimp kabobs
In my opinion, don’t even bother making this sauce if you aren’t a fan of garlic and ginger. It should be heavy on both of them.
You want to really pulverize these things, so either mash them up really good or give them a pulse in a food processor. You don’t want any huge chunks of garlic and ginger.
Other than those ingredients, one of my favorite versions of this sauce is a mix of soy sauce, sesame oil, honey, and plain old water.
Honey thickens the sauce a bit and also adds some sweetness. If you are grilling with the sauce, it will caramelize really nicely because of the honey.
I decided to use most of the sauce as a marinade for my shrimp, but I did want some as a sauce, so I just poured off a few servings of it before mixing it with the shrimp.
If you wanted to thicken the sauce a bit, you could just add it to a small saucepan over medium heat and it would thicken perfectly in a few minutes.
I found some nice large shrimp, peeled them and added them to the teriyaki marinade. For tips on shrimp prep, check out my article on how to prepare shrimp
Let these sit in the marinade for at least ten minutes so they absorb a lot of the flavor. Since shrimp have a pretty mild flavor, I wouldn’t marinate them for longer than an hour or so.
Then add 6-7 shrimp onto a skewer. When you are skewering these for kabobs, do just shrimp. Don’t mix in vegetables at all – the shrimp cook so fast that they will be overcooked if you cook them with vegetables.
Also, be sure to skewer them so they lay flat on the grill. You don’t want them packed really closely together.
Then preheat your grill and get it nice and hot.
Add the shrimp and grill them for about 3 minutes on the first side and 2 minutes on the second side. Brush on some of the teriyaki marinade as they cook to keep them moist and flavorful.
I like to serve these kabobs with extra sauce on the side, brown rice, and steamed veggies. Green Giant veggie steamers are easy to use. If you steam them in the microwave I recommend tossing the veggies with a dash of soy sauce and sesame oil to give them the same flavor profile as the shrimp.
This Teriyaki Shrimp Kabob meal looks fancy, but it’s simple to make. Not only is homemade teriyaki sauce more flavorful and healthier than the store-bought stuff, it’s also loads cheaper.
Embrace the teriyaki!
Nick thinks you could teriyaki a shoe and it would probably taste just fine. Be sure to check out his blog, Macheesmo, and follow him on his Tablespoon Profile.