The Key Spice Blend For Bold And Flavorful Teriyaki

Teriyaki sauce is a classic Japanese-American condiment that goes great with any meat, fish, or vegetable of your choosing. Add a simple side of rice, and you've got a healthy and quick late night meal that is full of bold flavors. A good teriyaki sauce is exemplified by its complex mixture of smoky, sweet, and rich flavors. Things can also get taken up another notch by adding a dash of heat to the mix. Some spicy foods can be overwhelming though, and may take away from such a complex sauce. Luckily, there's a perfect spice mix out there that can add that heat while building on the foundational flavors of teriyaki as well.

According to New World Encyclopedia, teriyaki sauce gets its name from the Japanese cooking method of the same name, which dates back to Japan's Edo Period (1603 to 1867). It often involves basting skewered chicken or beef with a mixture of sugar, soy sauce, and sake as the meat is grilled, broiled, roasted, or pan-fried. In the U.S., however, teriyaki is usually used in reference to the sauce, which arrived domestically thanks to Japanese immigrants coming to Hawaii in the 1960s, per Char'd Kitchen, and was a remixed version of the classic teriyaki sauce that included pineapple juice. 

Teriyaki sauce would later be welcomed into Seattle, Washington, and eventually take over their local street food scene, per the Seattle Weekly.

Spice up your teriyaki

Our favorite way to spice up teriyaki sauce is to add the Japanese spice mix called shichimi togarashi or Japanese seven spice mix. It adds a dash of heat along with other flavors that further develop the classic umami rich sauce. According to Masterclass, shichimi togarashi is a mixture of yuzu or orange peel, nori, hemp and/or poppy seeds, white and/or black sesame seeds, red chili pepper, sansho pepper, and ground ginger. It is a very versatile spice that lends its own unique complexity of heat, umami, and even a hint of bright citrusy sweetness to almost any dish.

Foodie Crush says that they love adding the Japanese seven spice to their chicken teriyaki bowls for an extra kick. The many layers of the seven spice mix do a great job of adding other notes to the flavors that are already present in a good teriyaki sauce. So, while you're kicking things up a notch with a dash of heat, the other notes are never in danger of being overpowered.

It was also recommended by the Baltimore Sun for an easy salmon teriyaki, and can go great with a pineapple chicken teriyaki that plays homage to the sauces' roots.