Japanese Sauces and Pickles – Zero Waste Style

I am so in love with the Japanese cuisine and I had to do some cooking this weekend to re-create this deliciousness. As always my focus is on getting my ingredients package-free and zero waste, and apart from the sushi rice this is what I managed to do by shopping at the Manly Food Co-Op and getting some more exotic vegetables and the meat and fish at Harris Farm Market. I usually don’t cook meat or fish at home (we only eat vegetarian at home), but I had friends over for a celebration, so made an exception.

20190428_170354.jpgThe menu consisted of

  • Sushi including tamago (egg omelette), cucumber, carrot sticks, salmon, tofu, shiitake mushrooms and pickled ginger
  • Miso Soup
  • Cold Udon with dipping sauce
  • Braised Veggies
  • Chicken, Veggie and Tofu Yakitori
  • Teriyaki Salmon
  • Pickles and
  • Umeboshi Plums

I made everything from scratch and today I want to share with you the recipes for the sauces and pickles which are super easy to make and the ingredients are easy to get package-free at your local bulk food store.

Teriyaki Sauce

Mix 1 cup of water, 5 tablespoons of packed brown sugar, 1/4 cup of soy sauce, 1–2 tablespoons of honey, 1 large clove of garlic (finely minced), 1/2 teaspoon of ground or fresh ginger in a sauce pan and bring to a short boil. Mix 2 tablespoons of arrowroot starch in 1/4 cup of cold water and add to the sauce. You might want to add a little less depending on how thick you want the sauce to get (it will thicken further as it cools down).

Teriyaki sauce is great as a marinade, but also as a dipping sauce.

Yakitori Sauce

Add 1/2 cup of soy or tamari sauce, 1/2 cup of mirin, 1/4 cup of sake, 1/4 cup of water and 2 teaspoons of brown sugar in a sauce pan and bring to a short boil. This makes a great marinade for tofu, veggies, fish or meat and can be used to brush over skewers and doubles as a dipping sauce, too.

You can replace the sake with water or by using more mirin and not adding the sugar, but sake gives it that special Japanese twist. Most bottle shops in Australia have some sort of sake these days or check out an Asian or Japanese supermarket nearby if you have access to one.

Radish Pickles20190429_085825.jpg

Japanese love their pickles and these look so pretty and are so delicious (it is actually a Korean recipe, but the result was very similar to radish pickles I had while in Japan).

Cut about 500 g of radishes and daikon into very thin slices and add to a jar. Mix 1 cup of white vinegar, 1 cup of water and 1 cup of raw sugar in a saucepan and bring to a short boil until the sugar melts. Add the liquid to the jar with the radishes while still hot. Let cool, put on the lid and refrigerate. The pickles are best when left for at least one day in the fridge and will keep well for up to 5 days or so. They are a great accompaniment to any Japanese or Korean food**.

Japanese good is delicious and versatile. Feel free to experiment with the amount and type of sugar used. I tend to reduce the amount of sugar in all recipes as it tends to be too too sweet for me otherwise. Coconut sugar is also a great replacement for raw sugar and has a lower GI.

I hope you enjoy these Japanese sauces and pickles as much as I do. They keep well in the fridge and can be frozen, too. 🙂



*I adapted the yakitori and teriyaki sauces from recipes I found on the internet and my cookbooks at home

**This recipe is adapted from mykoreankitchen.com


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