Melbourne photographer and self-taught cook Harvard Wang spent part of lockdown sharing what he called “social distancing” recipes with his friends via social media. These were dishes he had mastered the past 10 years cooking for friends and family, and tips he’d picked up while photographing restaurants and chefs (including for Broadsheet).

Then in August he posted a Japanese curry recipe on the Facebook group Subtle Asian Cooking (SAC) and overnight it garnered 2000 likes.

“I know likes don't cure cancer,” Wang told us in October. “As shallow as this sounds, I must admit the overwhelming support from the SAC group gave me emotional comfort during the lockdown; a distraction; something to look forward to … That encouraged me to get over my imposter syndrome and start compiling these recipes into a book.”

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Wang has now launched Soy Sauce, Sugar, Mirin, an A5-sized wire-bound collection of 36 every-day recipes including “sexy ramen eggs”, “birthday noodles”, “super boring miso soup for two” and “the one salad I make”.

Wang (who documented Melbourne’s ramen scene for Broadsheet) grew up in Malaysia and has a wife who is Japanese, so he says the recipes draw from everywhere.

“They aren’t in your usual ingredients then method format as well, but more of a narration and with suggestions: how to achieve restaurant-level Japanese curry, how to hold your marriage with spag bowl and pro tips for gyoza.”

One of the pieces of wisdom he offers is never paying for teriyaki sauce. Why? Because it’s so easy to make, say Wang. “Soy sauce, sugar, mirin. Repeat after me: soy sauce, sugar, mirin.”

The condiment only takes about 10 minutes on a low simmer, but Wang warns not to overcook it because it’ll turn into caramel. “Which is still nice; add it to ice-cream.”

“I like to toss [the teriyaki sauce] with fried chicken, brush it over the sous-vide rib eye, drizzle it over roasted potatoes, or add it to mayonnaise for a dip for crackers, celery sticks, fat chips … In fact apply it on anything your child won’t eat,” Wang says.

Teriyaki sauce
Preparation time: 5 minutes
Cooking time: 10 minutes

1 part soy sauce (1 cup)
1 part sugar (1 cup)
1 part mirin (1 cup)

One cup is a suggestion – you can make as much or little as you like. Wang says "if you want to be fancy", you can also add 1 part (1 cup) sake or any cooking wine.

Bring to a slow simmer for 10 minutes, or until the desired consistency of “sauce”. It should be foaming towards the end. Be careful not to overcook it or you’ll end up with a caramel sauce.

Store in the refrigerator for three-to-four weeks.

Soy Sauce, Sugar, Mirin is $35 and available for purchase here.

Looking for more recipes? Visit Broadsheet’s recipe hub.