How To Give Your Teriyaki Chicken A Flavor Boost

Teriyaki chicken is a must-try when it comes to Japanese cuisine, as it combines tender slices of chicken with sweet and salty teriyaki sauce (it's worth mentioning that fish, beef, or vegetables may be substituted for chicken as well), per Shogun Japanese Steakhouse. The source goes on to explain that "teri" translates to the "luster/gleam" of the sauce while "yaki" translates to the "grilled/broiled" cooking style.

Shogun states that the base of teriyaki sauce consists of sugar, soy sauce, and mirin (sake may be used as well). Some chefs or home cooks also like to mix in ginger, garlic, red pepper flakes, or honey, which hints at the plethora of creative teriyaki sauce variations. Chard Southeast Asian Kitchen adds to this by stating that teriyaki sauce can also be used as a marinade, drizzled over salads, glazed over BBQ ribs, or as a dipping sauce for sushi rolls.

Luckily, teriyaki chicken is easy to make at home, and while there are many pantry staples that can make teriyaki sauce taste good, there's one ingredient that will make it taste great. Here's how you can give your teriyaki chicken a major flavor boost.

It's a type of oil

Sesame oil is often used to flavor Asian and Middle Eastern dishes and comes in two varieties: light and toasted, per The Spruce Eats. The source states that light sesame oil is often used as cooking oil (similar to vegetable or canola oil), and toasted sesame oil has pronounced nutty flavors that can be incorporated into sauces, kimchi fried rice, and of course, teriyaki chicken.

The Spruce Eats goes on to explain that dark-colored sesame oil has stronger flavors while a lighter color signifies more mellow notes. To use sesame oil for teriyaki chicken, mix about one teaspoon into the ingredients that will be used to make the sauce, which typically consists of soy sauce, brown sugar, and garlic, per food blog The Recipe Critic. Use it sparingly though, as its strong sesame flavor can easily overpower any dish.

So next time you want to add earthy and nutty flavors (per MasterClass) to dishes like teriyaki chicken, reach for a bottle of sesame oil. Or rather, just reach for a teaspoon, unless you really like the taste of sesame.