Why not make yourself a batch of homemade glossy vegan teriyaki sauce? You’ll have the means to make a simple but delicious vegetarian or vegan meal with very little effort. The sauce itself only takes minutes to make. It’s healthier and more authentic than many of the recipes out there.
What is Teriyaki Sauce?
If you’ve not come across teriyaki sauce before, you’re missing a treat. It’s a Japanese classic with umami, sweet and sour notes. As well as making a tasty sauce, as in my teriyaki rice bowl, it also works as a marinade for ingredients like tofu or tempeh. This vegan teriyaki sauce is quick and easy to make with only six ingredients, if you don’t include the water. It will keep in the fridge for a week if well sealed.
As with many things homemade, vegan teriyaki sauce is so much nicer than commercial varieties. It has the added benefit of being healthier too. In fact my recipe is healthier than most I’ve come across. There seems to be a high proportion of sugar used in many recipes as well as lots of sodium. It needs to be slightly sweet and salty too, but not completely loaded.
CT has been to Japan and tells me my sauce reminds him of the teriyaki sauce he had there on a regular basis. Also the fun-filled, sake-fuelled karaoke evenings that accompanied it. I haven’t pressed him any further on this particular point.
You don’t have to have any specialised ingredients for this vegan teriyaki sauce, but it does make the recipe more authentic if you do. As well as a delicious sauce, it also makes a great marinade for tempeh or tofu.
Arrowroot is the starch extracted from the rhizomes of various plants. It has several good qualities but is best known as a gluten-free thickener for sauces, stews and puddings. It’s also easily digestible, has no known side effects and is said to be a healthier alternative to cornstarch. One of the reasons I like it so much is that it gives a lovely glossy quality to sauces and it’s easy to use.
You can use cornflour in this recipe instead of arrowroot if you prefer. Indeed most of the homemade teriyaki sauce recipes I’ve seen use cornflour. But I’m a whole food blogger looking to use the most delicious and nutritious ingredients I can easily get hold of. Plus arrowroot is more authentic for this Japanese recipe.
I remember the days when I used to have to go to the chemist to get arrowroot. Thankfully it’s widely available nowadays and can be found in most supermarkets, usually in the baking isle.
How to make your teriyaki sauce thicker
Just add half the water that’s stated in this recipe. Then add the rest bit by bit until you have the consistency you’re after.
Mirin is a Japanese sweet rice wine. It used to be a luxury liqueur affordable only by the wealthy, but it’s now mostly used in cooking. It adds a certain complexity to a dish as it has sweet, acid and umami notes which somehow distill the essence of Japanese flavours. It’s a really useful condiment to have in the cupboard as it makes a good addition to salad dressings, marinades and sauces. It will last for ages. Just make sure you buy the real thing. Mirin should only contain rice, water and a culture, so you may want to check the ingredients before buying.
These days, mirin is fairly easy to find. If you don’t have an independent speciality shop in the vicinity, head to the Asian section of your local supermarket. You’re more likely to find it than not. Or buy it online. I use Clearspring’s Organic Japanese Mikawa Mirin*. However, if you’re unable to source it or just want to get on and make this vegan teriyaki sauce recipe right now, there are substitutes you can use.
- Balsamic vinegar
- Rice vinegar mixed with a little sugar
- Sweet sherry
Leftover Vegetable Water
As regular readers will know, I can’t abide waste. So, when I prepare vegetables, I always keep any water they’re cooked in. It will keep in the fridge for a couple of days. I then add to soups, stews or sauces. In this case, my vegan teriyaki sauce. Many of the nutritious elements found in veg are released into water whilst cooking. It seems an awful shame to just throw them down the sink.
You can usually get away with using leftover vegetable water when a recipe requires stock.
I’m totally in love with my microplane zester*. It’s brilliant for zesting citrus and I use it a lot for that. But it’s also really good for finely grating garlic and ginger too. I no longer find grating a real chore and it turns preparation of this vegan teriyaki sauce into a breeze. It’s not only easy to use, but easy to wash too. I always run it under the tap immediately after using and that’s usually enough to dislodge any trapped bits of zest.
Other Japanese Vegetarian Recipes You Might Like
- Beetroot miso soup via Tin and Thyme
- Cucumber wasabi yogurt dip via Give Me Some Spice
- Japanese curry via Green Gourmet Giraffe
- Mushroom & leek gyoza via The Vegan Larder
- Saya ingen shira-ae (green beans with tofu) via Kavey Eats
- Silken tofu salad via Veggies Save The Day
- Spicy peanut butter noodles via Tin and Thyme
- Vegan ramen with crispy sesame tofu via Supper in the Suburbs
- Vegan tofu katsu curry via Rhian’s Recipes
- Vegetarian okonomiyaki (Japanese cabbage pancakes) via Easy Cheesy Vegetarian
- Veggie miso soup noodle bowl via Foodie Quine
Keep in Touch
Thanks for visiting Tin and Thyme. If you make this easy homemade vegan teriyaki sauce recipe, I’d love to hear about it in the comments below or via social media. Do share photos on your preferred social media site and use the hashtag #tinandthyme, so I can spot them.
Vegan Teriyaki Sauce. PIN IT.
Vegan Teriyaki Sauce – The Recipe
Vegan Teriyaki Sauce
- 1 tbsp tamari or your favoured soy sauce
- 2 tsp maple syrup
- 1 tbsp mirin (Japanese sweet rice wine)
- thumb root ginger - finely grated
- 1 clove garlic - finely grate
- 1 tbsp arrowroot
- 100 ml water (I use vegetable water)
- Mix a little of the water with the arrowroot until you get a smooth paste. Add a little more water so that the arrowroot is pourable.
- Place all the other ingredients into a saucepan and bring to the boil.
- Add the arrowroot liquid and whisk until the mixture thickens.
- Simmer for 3-4 minutes by which time you should have a beautiful glossy and delicious sauce.
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