hawaiian-style teriyaki

hawaiian-style teriyaki

teriyaki is a japanese classic.  i think most people are aware of this fact.  but unlike mole, most japanese people have tasted teriyaki and know exactly what good teriyaki should taste like.  which is precisely why i resolved to make them eat their words, so to speak.  to explain to a japanese person that you plan to make teriyaki with pineapple (while it sounds pretty logical to americans who have grilled pineapple before) is to give them an invitation to tell you that you can’t.  which is technically not correct.  because i can, and i did.

you’ll need:

  • a can of pineapple
  • soy sauce
  • garlic
  • fresh ginger
  • japanese sake
  • sugar
  • black pepper’
  • (maybe) a tiny bit of flour
  • red pepper
  1. peel the garlic and ginger.  mince super finely, and add to a pan with a little bit of hot oil.  while they are simmering in the pan, mince some pineapple.  when the garlic and ginger start to get close to where you want them, add  in the pineapple and sautee for just a few minutes more.  kill the heat.
  2. combine the juice from the canned pineapple, sake, and soy sauce at pretty close to a 1:1:1 ratio.  when in doubt, go a little bit heavier on the soy sauce.  add a spoon or two of sugar (trust me, you don’t need to overdo it because the pineapple will be plenty sweet), the black pepper, and the red pepper.  stir until the sugar has dissolved.
  3. turn the heat on your pan to medium high and add the sauce mixture to your garlic-ginger-pineapple sautee.  get the sauce hot enough for a very very slight simmer.  if the sauce gets too hot, the sugars will burn and turn it black and gooey and bitter.  if you keep the heat just right (stirring copiously along the way), the sauce will thicken and become a beautiful reflective dark brown.
  4. don’t get discouraged.  if your sauce doesn’t thicken, you can add a tiny bit of flour a little at a time.  do your best not to let it clump.  if it still doesn’t thicken, there is always next time.  teriyaki can be a really tough sauce to get to the texture you want.  practice makes perfect.
  5. add the contents of your frying pan to a blender, and pulse until the pineapple is smoother.  this sauce will be a litte chunkier than your average teriyaki, which is what makes it so great for dipping.
  6. chicken is the age-old classic, but this sauce goes great with beef and fish (especially non-white fish like tuna or trout).  keep in mind that when grilling spitted foods like kebabs, a quick roll in this sauce one or two minutes before being ready to eat can add an incredible depth of flavor that your guests will lose their minds over.  remember though, high heat is the death of sugar, so don’t let your grill flames burn the sauce.

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