Apple Cider Teriyaki Sauce
I can’t explain it, but as soon as the weather starts to turn cooler, Ray and I start craving Chinese take-out. Perhaps it is a part of our subconscious that is telling us to fatten up for the cold winter ahead — as if any of us need any further encouragement to do that. Whatever it is, the result is that we have Chinese on the brain ALL OF THE TIME. I recognize that real Chinese food is fresh and healthy, but that’s not the kind I’m talking about. What I’m talking about is the Chinese food that is a deep fried, MSG-laden, calorie bomb….that also happens to be absolutely delicious. I wish I could say that I don’t like it, but that would be a complete grow-your-nose-a-foot lie. Egg rolls? Chicken fried and covered in some kind of sauce? Lo mein? Yes, please, all of it.
Sentencing myself to a life without any Chinese takeout is an utterly bleak and completely undesirable prospect. Solution? I try to mitigate the damage. I can accomplish that by mixing up my own teriyaki sauce and drizzling it on a plate filled with steamed vegetables and chicken (Did you know you can get steamed vegetables and chicken from your Chinese take out place? Surprise, you can! Look for it!). That way, about 75% of my plate is pretty clean and I feel okay about indulging in an egg roll and some General Tso’s chicken.
With that said, let’s just step back a second and recognize that I’m advocating taking a Japanese condiment and using it for take out Chinese food that is probably so unlike real Chinese food, it should be called something else entirely. Japanese and Chinese are two completely separate cuisines, I get it, please don’t send me hate mail.
Traditional teriyaki sauce is primarily comprised of soy sauce, mirin, and sugar. Over here in the west, fruit juice is a pretty common addition/substitute for mirin. It adds another layer of flavor, but I also appreciate that it can replace a good portion of the sugar often called for in teriyaki recipes. Instead of the more typical pineapple juice, I used apple cider, because it’s fall and it is my personal mission to put apple cider in as many things as I possibly can. It may sound like a strange combo but apples and cider can be really versatile and work well in dishes that are both sweet and savory. Cider is also great match for ginger, a common component in many Western-style teriyaki sauces. Put it all together, and it just works!
This recipe makes plenty, so freeze leftovers in ice cube trays and pull them out the next time you’re getting some Chinese take-out! Or, put it in stir fry, brush it on grilled chicken, and use it as dip for potstickers.
Makes approximately 2 cups of sauce, nutrition per 2 tablespoons:
Calories: 24 Fat: 0.1g Sodium: 287.8mg Carbohydrates: 5.5g Sugar: 4.5g
- 1 cup apple cider
- 1/2 cup reduced sodium soy sauce
- 1 tsp. fresh grated ginger
- 1.5 Tbl. minced fresh garlic
- 1/8 cup honey or maple syrup
- 1 Tbl. cornstarch
- 1/2 cup apple cider
- 1. Combine 1 cup apple cider, soy sauce, ginger, garlic, and honey in a small saucepan. Cook on medium-low until all ingredients are well-incorporated.
- 2. Combine cornstarch and 1/2 cup apple cider in a container with a tight-sealing lid. Shake well until cornstarch is dissolved.
- 3. Pour cornstarch mixture into the saucepan. Bring soy sauce mixture to a low boil, stirring often, until thickened, about 5 minutes.
- 4. If you prefer the sauce to be completely smooth, pour it through a fine mesh sieve.
- 5. Use immediately, refrigerate, or freeze in ice cube trays for later.