Over a hot plate in 2008 a jokester samurai chef transmitted to me a secret of teriyaki — to vary the source of sweetness.
Maple, rice malt, agave every hue; combined, they go deeper than alone.


sesame oil, dark and toasty
carrot bunch, tops off, sliced on the bias
scallions, a bundle, roots trimmed and cut in three
ginger, a palm-full, julienned
one onion, crescent cut
shoyu, pint
maple, pint
mirin, pint

Warm oil in a skillet and toss vegetables to coat.
Cook with enough gusto to let loose steam but not to sear.
Carry on ’til onions droop and carrots soften.
Pour shoyu, maple, mirin.
Let vegetables soak and liquid reduce.

As if you’re making candy, let’s face it, you are: be ginger.
Before it burns, overcooked teriyaki will be lava on heat and stone cold. Lollipop?

Stop cooking when the syrup coats a spoon.
Strain and share the vegetables, reserving sauce for later.
Teriyaki keeps in a firmly sealed jar at room temp.

Michael Marcus, master of Japanese pottery, tea ceremony, sushi and kaiseki owns Bizen on Railroad Avenue in Great Barrington, Ma.