Q. I love teriyaki, but it always seems so salty. What can I do to cut back on the saltiness and still have it taste good? — Ann, Combined Locks
A. Well Ann, the primary reason that teriyaki tastes salty is that the base ingredient in teriyaki sauce is soy sauce. Soy sauce gives us that great umami taste and is made from fermented soybean paste, but is highly seasoned and preserved with salt. Since soy sauce is a relatively necessary ingredient, there are two things that we can do to mitigate the saltiness.
First, we can start with reduced sodium soy sauce. By doing this, the sodium content is cut in half before we begin. Second, we can cut the soy sauce with the addition of another liquid or juice that does not have a lot of sodium. Pineapple juice, orange juice or even water works for this to help cut the saltiness. For a teriyaki sauce to be tasty, it needs to have good balance. We like to use brown sugar as a sweetener in our teriyaki sauce to somewhat mitigate the salt and help provide balance. The last thing we do is determine the spiciness of the teriyaki sauce, depending on who we are serving.
Some of our guests don’t like it very sharp so we tone it down a bit, but others like things a little spicier so we kick it up a notch.