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08/13/2013

~ Time Out to Define: Sukiyaki, Teriyaki & Yakitori!!! ~

IMG_1173Hold the presses!  Just as I was about to return my Japanese ingredients back to my pantry (and move on to posting a couple of my family's Russian Summertime side-dish salad recipes), I got a question from a reader regarding last weeks posts for ~ My Japanese Yakitori Story & All the Facts Jack!!! ~, ~ Japanese 'Yakitori no Tare' (BBQ/Basting Sauce) ~, ~ Japanese 'Yakitori' (Skewered & Grilled Chicken) ~, and, ~ Japanese 'Tempura' ('Light Batter' for Deep-Frying) ~ (all of which can be found by clicking on the Related Article links below)!  

IMG_0723Janet says and asks:  My husband and I found your blog looking for a recipe for yakitori.  We were in the mood for some Japanese food, and, after eating this dish in a restaurant in Los Angeles several years ago, we decided to try to make it at home.  When we found your posts, we stopping looking.  Everything we needed to know was at our fingertips.  My husband said, "Melanie writes a hell of a blog"!

We had a discussion about teriyaki and yakitori, and, teriyaki and yakitori sauce.  Both sauces seem to be about the same.  Are they the same thing and can they be used interchangeably? How do they differ?  Also we read in your post that "yaki" is the Japanese word for "grill/grilled". How does sukiyaki fit into this description.  We always thought sukiyaki was a one-pot meal!

IMG_0712Kitchen Encounters:  Janet, thanks for your comments, and, wow, your questions are so good they deserve an entire blog post. Firstly, teriyaki sauce and yakitori sauce are similar enough, that, in a pinch, you can use them interchangeably.  I hope the following will demystify sukiyaki, teriyaki & yakitori for you: 

ImagesSukiyaki (soo-kee-YAH-kee):  Sukiyaki is a stewlike meal prepared tableside in a cast-iron "nabemono" or "Japanese hot pot".  In Japan sukiyaki is referred to as "the friendship dish" because it appeals to foreigners.  It consists of "suki", "thin strips" of beef, vegetables and noodles or tofu. It's flavored with soy sauce, dashi (broth), mirin, sake and sugar. Before eating, each bite is dipped into beaten egg. Sukiyaki fits into the "yaki" or "grilled" category because the meat is grilled in the pan prior to adding the other ingredients.   Sukiyaki is similar to shabu-shabu, another hot-pot meal, with sukiyaki being sweet and shabu-shabu being more savory!

PICT4653Teriyaki (tehr-uh-Yah-kee):  Teriyaki is a Japanese term referring to a method of cooking beef or chicken, that has been marinated (in a mixture of soy sauce, mirin, sugar, garlic, ginger and seasonings) prior to being grilled, broiled or roasted. "Teri" is the Japanese word for "luster", and it is the sugar in the marinade that gives the food its "teri" or shiny glaze.  It's interesting to note that in Japan, there is no official teriyaki sauce.  Teriyaki sauce was invented by early Japanese settlers to Hawaii.  

They created a marinade/basting sauce out of local, readily-available products, like pineapple juice and garlic (neither of which are Japanese), mixed with soy sauce and thickened with corn starch.  Teriyaki sauce tends to be bolder in flaver, sweeter and thicker than yakitori sauce! 

IMG_0700Yakitori (yah-kee-TOH-ree):  This Japanese term literally means "grilled" ("yaki") "bird" ("tori").   Small morsels of not-marinated chicken are skewered, grilled and brushed with "tare", meaning "sauce" or "BBQ/basting sauce":  once when the skewers are cooked about 75% of the way through, and a second time prior to removing them from the grill. The yakitori grill is designed to keep the skewers about 1" above the direct heat of the grill grids!

"We are all in this food world together" ~ Melanie Preschutti

(Recipe, Commentary and Photos courtesy of Melanie's Kitchen/Copyright 2013)

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