Tama's Steak Teriyaki

Restaurant teriyaki is usually made by grilling the meat and pouring teriyaki sauce over it--this authentic version is so much better. The sauce is made with the meat juices and thickened by reduction rather than thickeners like cornstarch. The same technique can be used for chicken or salmon. Use a tender steak--top sirloin or better.

Servings: 2

Cook Time: 15 minutes

Pair With: Surprisingly, a beef dish that pairs with a dry white wine or structured Pinot Noir.

Source: Recipe and photo courtesy Tama Takahashi, Touring & Tasting Food Editor


1 teaspoon minced ginger

1 teaspoon garlic

2 tablespoons Mirin* (Japanese cooking wine)

1 tablespoon

packed brown sugar

2 tablespoons soy sauce

2 tablespoons sesame oil

1 1 lb steak

4 tablespoons saké* (Japanese rice wine)

*Note: Mirin and saké are not the same--Mirin is sweet with just a touch of alcohol, saké is very dry and has a high alcohol content)


Mix the ginger, garlic, Mirin, sugar and soy sauce in a small bowl. Heat oil in a large frying pan (cast iron works best) over medium heat until oil is hot but not smoking. Add steak and sear on both side. Add the sake (there may be quite a bit of smoke/steam) and let cook for half a minutes as the alcohol burns off. Remove the steak and let sit.

Add the soy sauce mixture and evaporate by half, scraping up any browned bits into the sauce. When the sauce is thickened, turn the heat to low and cook the steak another 2-3 minutes, turning several times to coat it on all sides. The steak should be seared on the outside and rare in the center.

Let the meat sit for 2 minutes to redistribute the internal juices, then slice into 1/2" slices. Spoon the remaining sauce over the top.


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Chef's Notes:

One usually thinks Cab to pair with beef, but a powerful red will annihilate the delicate balance between sugar and soy in the teriyaki sauce. A crisp, dry white is best or a structured Pinot Noir without excessive fruitiness. Too much fruit will overwhelm the subtle sweetness of the teriyaki.