Yakiniku sauce is a mixture of savory and sweet flavors with bold sesame essence that is used to season grilled meats in Japanese cuisine.
The term, yakiniku, is derived from the Japanese term "yaki", which means grilled, and "niku", which means meat, or beef. It is a term that is used broadly to describe various grilled and cooked meats including American outdoor BBQ style meats (although this is commonly referred by its English term "barbeque"), or Korean style BBQ which is meat that is often marinated and cooked on a table top open flame grill. Yakiniku may also refer to meat that is cooked either in a pan or griddle on the stove, or on a teppanyaki tabletop grill.
Regardless of the cooking method, grilled meat is often served with a yakiniku dipping sauce, or it is seasoned with yakiniku sauce prior to being cooked.
Typical ingredients for making yakiniku sauce includes soy sauce, mirin, sugar and sesame seeds. The addition of sesame oil and garlic add more complexity and boldness to the sauce. The key to yakiniku sauce, however, is sesame seeds, and in this recipe the addition of roasted ground sesame seeds takes the sauce to an entirely new level of "wow". The ground roasted sesame seeds impart a complexity of flavors that make the sauce mouth-watering delicious!
The sauce can be prepared in advance and stored in the refrigerator for a quick weeknight meal. My favorite way of using this yakiniku sauce is to simply stir fry thin shabu - shabu or sukiyaki cuts of beef in a frying or griddle pan until well done, then pour some of the sauce over the cooked meat, toss and then serve.
Note, the sauce has a concentrated flavor, so a little bit goes a long way. If you're going to use it as a dipping sauce for yakiniku, for younger children or for those that prefer a milder flavor, simply add a bit of hot water to the sauce to dilute it.
- Peel and chop 1 garlic clove.
- In a small sauce pan, combine soy sauce, mirin, sugar, sesame oil and garlic. Heat over medium - high heat until sugar dissolves, about 3 minutes. Stir constantly to help dissolve sugar and to prevent burning. Allow the sauce to cool for about 5 to 10 minutes.
- Using a strainer, pour the sauce into a small bowl to separate the garlic pieces which may be discarded.
- Add ground roasted white sesame seeds and whole roasted sesame seeds to the strained sauce in the bowl. Mix gently. Yakiniku sauce is now ready to use! Use to dip meats and vegetables, or as a sauce to pour over meat.
- The sauce may be stored in an airtight container for 5 to 7 days.