Somewhere between the boring-issimo stir fries that rely only on soy sauce + garlic and the incredibly fake taste of commercial Asian sauces lies the real deal: incredibly thick, rich, flavorful sauces that taste like exactly what they are made of. You could go to China for such authenticity… or…
You can make it yourself in your very. own. kitchen!!!
[Cue the dramatic music].
I’ve been making this Steak Teriyaki for so, so many years now, and it’s the closest thing I’ve found to some of the best dishes we ate in Beijing. Don’t worry, we ate some gnarly stuff like fermented duck eggs, but we ate so many dishes that consisted of meat + vegetables + the best-tasting sauces ever. Savory, sweet, each flavor clearly identifiable.
I know teriyaki is Japanese, not Chinese. And Wikipedia tells me that the addition of garlic and the absence of sake means it’s more of an Americanized version of traditional teriyaki. Far be it from me to make an imposter and pass it off as authentic, but for this I make an exception. When you, my fellow Americans, think of steak/chicken teriyaki, this is the best version of that dish. Call it Chinese, call it Japanese, call it American, but don’t call it anything you can get at the ‘Flowering Lotus All-You-Can-Eat Chinese Buffet’ right next to the check cashing joint or even P.F. Chang’s. This is way, way better. It’s very heavy on fresh garlic and ginger, it’s thickened with just the right amount of cornstarch, and it’s simultaneously very sweet and very savory.
Oh, and it’s start to finish (including prep!!) under 30 minutes. This is a better-than-restaurant quality meal you can put on the table on a random Tuesday night. Your dinner troops will erect a monument in your honor by dawn Wednesday, I promise!!
- ½ c soy sauce
- ½ c sugar
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 T grated fresh ginger
- Pinch red pepper flakes
- 2 T cider vinegar
- 2 tsp cornstarch
- 2 lbs steak (depending on weight, I use 2-4 strip or ribeye steaks)
- 2 tsp canola oil
- 2 scallions, thinly sliced
- Whisk the soy sauce, sugar, garlic, ginger, red pepper flakes, vinegar and cornstarch in a medium bowl. Set aside.
- Pat steaks dry with paper towels, and season each side lightly with salt and pepper. Heat oil in a large skillet (preferably nonstick or cast iron) over medium-high heat until just smoking. Add steaks and cook until well-browned, 3 to 5 minutes per side. Transfer to a plate and tent with foil.
- Wipe out the skillet using tongs and a few wadded up paper towels. Add the soy sauce mixture and simmer over medium heat until sauce is thickened, about 2 minutes. Slice steak thinly against the grain and transfer to a platter or individual plates. Pour sauce over steak and sprinkle with scallions. Serve.