This vegan Teriyaki is great for the grill, or you can fry it up in a pan. You can use this Teriyaki Sauce on tofu steaks, or tempeh or vegan meats, such as a vegan burger served with a ring of grilled pineapple on top, etc. We like the leftovers in sandwich wraps for lunch, tucked in with shredded kale or lettuce, pickled onions, Vegenaise, and grated carrots. This is my Dad’s teriyaki sauce that we grew up with. As a young military man, he would go to this little mom-and-pop place in Monterey, California. He loved their teriyaki and asked the nice Japanese lady there for the recipe. She revealed the recipe to him (he was exceedingly handsome) and luckily for us, he wrote it down all those decades ago. To grill tofu, make sure your grill grate is clean and smooth–I rub it with a wire brush, or a steel wool pad and then rinse it clean with the hose. Once the grill is hot, take tongs and dip a wad of folded paper towel into a dish of cooking oil, and swab the grill grate before adding the tofu, and repeat when turning the tofu. You also want to make sure there’s a little oil in your marinade. Soak your skewers for hours, and use two skewers per piece of tofu (for stability).
GRILLED TERIYAKI TOFU STEAKS
Serves: 3 to 4
16 oz. block of Extra-Firm tofu, pressed and drained
for Teriyaki Sauce
1/2 Cup soy sauce or tamari sauce
1/2 Cup sugar (not brown sugar)
1/2 -inch piece ginger root grated
1 jigger sake or gin or whiskey (a jigger = a shot, or 1.5 oz. or 44.3 ml)
(I use a mini bottle from the liquor store = 50 ml)
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1 clove garlic pressed, or crushed and chopped
1 Tablespoon cooking oil (not canola) (I used peanut oil this time)
Soak slender wooden skewers in water overnight, or for several hours. Press and drain tofu. Stir all sauce ingredients together until sugar is dissolved. Slice tofu thickness in half. Then cut each piece into two equal rectangles. Soak tofu steaks in marinade over night, or for several hours, turning them over at least 2 or 3 times. Before grilling, skewer each piece of tofu using two skewers, so the tips of the skewers protrude out the other end just a bit. Make sure grill is very clean and smooth, and oil the hot grill before adding the tofu. Grill each side. Or, pan fry in a non-stick skillet on medium heat, until a nice caramelized sear is achieved.
Notes: You can also marinate sliced tempeh. I use organic Tamari sauce, but in Hawaii, Kikkoman soy sauce is the favorite, and many locals use the Kikkoman Less Sodium Soy Sauce, which is good, and my Dad is a Kikkoman man, of course. Since the original recipe did call for “a jigger” of any of the three alcohols, I used gin this time for that juniper-berry flavor, but I think my Dad usually used sake or whiskey. The original recipe calls for 1/4 teaspoon MSG, which I eliminated.