Big Island Style Hawaiian Teriyaki Marinade

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Completed Marinade ready to soak all your favorite meats into delicious goodness.

It’s that time of the month again, time for a blog post mini-series of recipes. For the month of July, my first of many monthly mini-series was dedicated to recipes for Savory Blended Ice Drinks (Day One was Spicy Ginger and Turmeric Blended Ice). After a too long break from blogging while I got settled into my new home. With Labor Day Weekend and most of the year’s best barbequing days just past, I thought I’d dedicate this mini-series to different versions of Teriyaki Sauce and ways to use it.

Day 1 – Big Island Style Hawaiian Teriyaki Marinade

If you are like me, you have probably eaten a lot of teriyaki.  If you haven’t…?  I am soooo sorry that happened to you.  Teriyaki is the easiest Asian style food to make from scratch (for me).  Make a sauce.  Marinate your meat, fish, or vegetables and grill/bake/broil.  One, two, three.  One thing that I’ve found from all the teriyaki I’ve eaten?  It’s all different.  No two restaurant chains or retail packaged sauces are the same. 

Now a lot of people think that Hawaiian style means with pineapple, either chunks or juice in the sauce.  This is not the case.  To me, true Hawaiian-Style teriyaki is made with Hawaii-made Aloha Shoyu (soy sauce).  The original recipe is made with wheat and is not gluten free.  There is a gluten free product produced by Aloha, but it is sharper in flavor.  Traditional Aloha Shoyu is significantly mellowed by the wheat in it, which means you don’t need to dilute the shoyu with water so that you can taste the garlic, green onions, and ginger in it.  (As of this writing I am not affiliated with Aloha Shoyu. 

This sauce has many uses. The first is as a straight marinade. I prefer to marinate my meats for at least twenty-four and sometimes as long as forty-eight hours. It is a great dipping sauce for pot stickers and other Asian style dumplings. Adding toasted sesame seed oil turns it into a delicious stir-fry sauce. Mixing with a little rice wine vinegar and a light oil it becomes the base for an Asian flavored salad dressing. With a tweak to the recipe you get my Big Island Style Hawaiian Teriyaki Glaze. It can also be used to make a teriyaki twist on crispy Korean Chicken.

This is my teriyaki recipe. I’ve given out a few copies over the years and it is probably similar to recipes used by others.

Ingredients ready for mixing.

Recipe includes affiliate links:

  • 4-cups Aloha Shoyu (Original Recipe) (#Ad), there is also a Low Sodium (#Ad) version and a Gluten Free (#Ad) Version. I grew up with the Original and the flavor profile of the recipe is significantly changed if you use the others.
  • ½ cup white sugar (#Ad)
  • ½ dark brown sugar (#Ad)
  • 2 bunches of fresh green onions (whites included)
  • 1 and ½ inch piece of fresh ginger
  • 20 cloves or one whole bulb fresh garlic peeled

Some Notes: Before I start the instructions, we need to talk about how you are going to use this recipe.  If it is a marinade only, and the liquid sauce is not going to be included with the finished marinated product, I recommend grating the ginger and garlic with a microplane to ensure as much flavor is infused into the sauce as possible.  However, if the sauce is going to be included in the finished product (like teriyaki chicken baked in the sauce, or if you are jarring sauce for gifts) cut the garlic and ginger into thin slices.  


There are two reason for this.  Reason one; leaving the garlic and ginger in larger pieces will allow the flavors to come out more slowly over the cooking process or while the sauce is sitting in the jar.  Reason two; some people don’t like getting a spicy chunk of garlic or ginger in their tasty sweet-savory teriyaki.  Leaving the ginger and garlic in larger pieces are not only more visually dynamic, it allows eaters to pick out those bits or eat around them.  Hard to do if the ginger and garlic are finely grated.

Brown sugar, white granulated sugar, sliced fresh ginger and green onions.


Combine all ingredients in a pot over medium-high heat and bring to boil.  Reduce heat and simmer five minutes.  Stir while cooking to prevent boiling over.  Adjust heat if necessary, to prevent boiling over.  This can also be done in the microwave on high for ten minutes in a large microwave safe bowl or measuring cup.  Stop every minute to stir.  Stop more frequently if necessary, to prevent boiling over. 


If using to bake with sauce in the pan, the sauce is now ready after this step and can be poured over meat and set to bake immediately.  If it is going to be used later, cool as quickly as possible and put into a storage container alone with a lid or put into marinating container with meat/fish/vegetables to marinate (Of course with a lid).  I like to let meat marinate for at least twenty-four hours.  Vegetables I usually sauté in sauce and I’ve never marinated them for more than five or six hours.

If canning, jarring, or bottling, make sure to process sauce appropriate to the technique you are using.  Make sure your jars, cans, or bottles and their lids/covers are properly sterilized before filling.  Homemade jarred or canned goods always look pretty good wrapped in a ribbon or in a gift basket.  I can’t advise as to how long the sauce will last as it’s never remained unused for more than a week in my house.

Tomorrow’s post? Hawaiian Style Teriyaki Glaze.

This sauce is suitable for use as is or can be canned/jarred for latter use.

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