With Linda Eldon-Ramshaw
Linda’s Teriyaki Style Stir Fry
Teriyaki is the name given to a style of Japanese cooking, believed to have been invented in the 17th Century, in which foods are basted with a glossy glaze or marinade consisting of soy sauce, mirin, and sugar flavoured with ginger and garlic, then fried, roasted or grilled. The term teriyaki derives from the words teri, which means the shine or lustre given by the sugar content and yaki, which refers to the cooking method of grilling or frying.
While shouyu (soy) is a primary flavouring, used for many centuries in authentic Japanese cooking, what we now know as teriyaki became exceptionally popular in 1960’s Hawaii. A unique marinade featuring local produce such as pineapples and brown sugar, blended with soy sauce, was introduced during a boom in restaurants serving Japanese cuisine.
Traditional dark soy sauce packs a whopping 38% of the recommended daily intake of sodium per tablespoon. However, it also contains over 300 compounds that deliver flavour and aroma, so this recipe uses a reduced-sodium version that makes it a healthier choice for those concerned about high blood pressure. That being said, research suggests that used in moderation, soy sauce can offer significant health benefits, including boosting the immune system, improving gut health, reducing the risk of some cancers and even improving blood pressure.
Traditionally, the meat or fish is brushed with sauce several times during teriyaki cooking, but in my version, the fish is marinated for a few hours (or overnight) to save the cook valuable time and effort, and allow the flavours to permeate and develop fully. This recipe has a much lower salt and sugar content than in most teriyaki sauces so avoids many of the health risks associated with high sodium and sugar-rich diets and maximises the health benefits of this delicious and extremely versatile dressing, marinade and sauce. Honey or brown sugar can be exchanged for the agave if you wish, but made in this way, you will be able to keep more of your sugar allowance for a dessert or a square or two of dark chocolate.
Teriyaki Style Stir Fry
Serves two hungry people as a main course if served with rice or noodles, or four people as a starter on its own.
526 kcals per main course serving, including noodles, or 242 kcals per starter size portion
- For the teriyaki sauce (Makes around 250 mls and can be stored in the fridge for up to two weeks):
- 85 ml pineapple juice
- 85 ml reduced sodium soy sauce
- 45 ml cold water
- 65 ml agave syrup
- 30 ml rice wine vinegar, (or mirin or sweet sherry)
- 2 fat cloves garlic, minced
- 5g fresh ginger, minced
- 1g black pepper or chilli flakes
- 1 small de-seeded green chilli cut very fine pieces
- 5g cornflour or arrowroot powder mixed with a little of the cold water above (optional)
- 5g sesame seeds
- 5ml sesame oil
Method (for the sauce)
- Place all the ingredients into a microwave-proof jug and whisk together. Put the jug into the microwave and set to high for three minutes. Stop the microwave every minute and whisk the sauce for a few seconds. (Depending on your own microwave’s power output, you may need to reduce or increase the cooking time by one minute)
- Alternatively, put all the ingredients into a small saucepan and stir, over a medium heat, for about four minutes, until the mix is slightly thickened and coats the back of a spoon.
- NB. Make sure you stay with the sauce as it cooks, as it can burn easily, and please be very careful as it gets extremely hot!
- Allow to cool for a few minutes.
- Taste, and season to your own palate if needed.
- Store the cooled sauce in a sterile jam jar, with a lid, in the fridge until needed. (It can be stored, refrigerated, for up to two weeks)
Ingredients for the Stir fry
- 50 ml Linda’s Teriyaki Sauce (as above)
- 250g fresh salmon fillets (best marinated in the sauce overnight, if possible, but not essential)
- 1 teaspoon of organic coconut oil or 2 or 3 pumps of coconut spray oil
- 1 small onion, chopped into thin slices
- 1 small carrot, cut into fine julienne slices
- 250g cherry tomatoes
- 150g mange tout or sugar snap peas
- 150g baby sweet corn, sliced down the centre, then chopped into 2cm pieces (green beans or tinned water chestnuts work well too)
- 1 red pepper, deseeded and sliced finely
- Black pepper or chilli flakes, to season as you prefer.
- 1 pack of straight to wok Udon noodles (optional) or 2 sachets of brown, microwave rice.
Method (for the stir fry)
- Place the fish in a non-metal container, and cover with a few tablespoonsful of the sauce. Cover the container with cling film and put it into the refrigerator overnight, or for at least two hours.
- Heat the wok to its hottest setting. Add the oil (and if using tofu, chicken or pork instead of salmon, stir fry until lightly browned, then it set aside and add it at Step 4)
- Add the onions and carrots and stir fry for 2 minutes, then add the rest of the vegetables and stir fry for another 2 minutes.
- Remove the fish from the sauce, (discarding any leftover sauce in the container) add the fish to the wok, and allow the steam to heat through and cook the fish without stirring, for 2 to 3 minutes.
- Add the noodles (if you wish) and a few more spoonsful of the pre-prepared sauce, and stir fry until everything is well blended and heated through.
- Scatter with finely chopped spring onions and serve.
(You can use prawns, scallops or other fish fillets of your choice, cubed tofu tossed in a tablespoon of cornflour or coconut flour, or chicken or pork sliced finely, as alternatives to salmon)
Note, many supermarkets offer ready-prepared, mixed frozen Asiatic vegetables. These are fantastic value and means you can create this meal in super-fast time.
The beauty of preparing the sauce in advance, and marinating the fish overnight, is that the vinegar and pineapple juice start the tenderising process, meaning no valuable nutrients are lost by overcooking the fish, plus the difference it makes to the flavour is remarkable!
I often keep a jar of this teriyaki sauce in the fridge (made without the cornflour, so it doesn’t go lumpy!), so I have it to hand for a super speedy lunch or dinner.
The stir fry recipe can be adapted so easily for vegans, vegetarians or meat-eaters, and takes less than 20 minutes to prepare and cook. I do hope you try it for yourself and love the fresh, multi-layered flavours as much as we do!