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Growing up, one of my absolute favorite treats was when my mom would splurge at Costco and bring home Mr. Yoshida's Gourmet Sauce. It made EVERYTHING taste better.
As an adult – especially one who works hard to avoid preservatives and food additives and who writes books about how to healthify your kitchen by making your own pantry staples – I really truly do miss Mr. Yoshida's.
Sure, it's still found at my local Costco, but if the story of how the sauce originated is true, then the recipe must have changed significantly through its history, as the high fructose corn syrup, dextrose, and modified corn starch aren't ingredients that would have been readily available in the home kitchen where Mr. Yoshida first developed the sauce.
But as I experimented and experimented and experimented some more, I finally stumbled upon this miraculous mix – and more importantly, balance – of ingredients. I had been trying to come up with a Yoshida-like sauce when I was developing recipes for my homemade pantry staples book, The DIY Pantry, but hadn't gotten it quite right.
Turns out, the problem was that I needed to use a more flavorful vinegar and far less ginger (I tend to be heavy-handed with ginger when it comes to Asian cuisine) since this sauce is more sweet and robust than peppery.
And thus, this DIY gourmet Asian marinade and cooking sauce was born.
It's best for stir-fries and barbecued chicken thighs where it has opportunity to caramelize a bit, but you can use it spooned over rice as well. It's a bit overwhelming to be a dipping sauce, but there's a lovely recipe for dipping sauce in my other pantry staples book, Restocking the Pantry (which is available for immediate download), if you're needing something just right for dim sum night.
A note about the sugar: there's a fair bit of sugar in this recipe, but without it, the flavors aren't quite balanced and the sauce doesn't caramelize as well on broiled and barbecued foods.
Be sure to use a minimally processed granulated sugar, such as evaporated cane sugar or coconut sugar, so that you're mitigating the effects of sucrose by providing the body a minimally-processed form of the food and by providing a few minerals, as well as avoiding genetically modified beet sugar.
DIY Yoshida's Sauce: Gourmet Asian Marinade and Cooking Sauce
- ½ cup non-GMO soy sauce, preferably traditionally fermented, such as nama shoyu
- 1 cup mirin OR water, see where to buy traditionally brewed mirin
- 1 cup water
- 2 cups brown sugar, see how to make your own brown sugar
- 3 tablespoons non-GMO cornstarch OR arrowroot powder
- 1 cup balsamic vinegar
- 4 small cloves garlic, finely minced
- 1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger
- Combine all ingredients in a heavy-bottomed saucepan large enough to accomodate 1 1/2 quarts of liquid. Whisk to combine.
- Place over medium-high heat and bring to a simmer. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer steadily until thickened, 1-2 minutes, whisking frequently.
- Use immediately, if desired, or cool and store in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.