The very popular Japanese dish, Teriyaki Chicken is so easy to make. The sauce is just a mixture of soy sauce, sake, mirin and sugar. You DO NOT marinate chicken in the sauce to make teriyaki chicken. Just sauté the chicken and cook in the sauce. It takes only 15 minutes!
I would say teriyaki chicken (照り焼きチキン, teriyaki chicken or 鳥の照り焼き, tori no teriyaki) is one of the most popular Japanese dishes among the Aussies and I presume in other part of the world as well. At almost every Japanese restaurant in Sydney, unless specialised in a particular type of food such as sushi or noodles, you will find teriyaki chicken on the menu.My daughter Nagi of RecipeTin Eats food blog also posted Teriyaki Chicken (with Homemade Teriyaki Sauce) quite some time ago. The way she makes it is a Western way of making Teriyaki Chicken because she reduces the sauce to make it thicker and she marinates the chicken.
The recipe I am sharing is the traditional Japanese way of making Teriyaki.
I use chicken thigh with skin on. I know the skin is fatty but I think that the chicken looks nicer with skin on when cooked, especially nicely browned. The skin side gets cooked well and excess oil from fat will be removed so the dish is not as fatty as it could be.
Most Japanese meals are served in such a way that you can pick up and eat food with chopsticks, without needing to cut them. A long time ago, one of my colleagues asked how the Japanese would eat a steak with chopsticks. Well, they normally slice or dice the meat so that you can pick up a piece with chopsticks (though if served in the Western way, then they will use a knife and a fork!).
In this recipe, I sliced the chicken after being cooked so that you can still see the whole fillet of chicken but it is easier to pick up a piece with chopsticks. I have served the chicken with shredded cabbage and carrots as the sauce goes well with the vegetables and you don’t need salad dressing. But you can substitute a green salad or other vegetables, if you like.
Nagi was at my place when I cooked this dish for the blog. As soon as I finished photo shooting, Nagi’s baby hand went straight to the chicken to try it out. She was probably trying to be nice to me but she said my version was nicer than hers. And I said ‘YES!’ with a victory pose.
I hope you like my version of teriyaki chicken.
- 350g / 12 oz thigh fillets skin on, bone removed (note 1)
- 1½ tbsp soy sauce
- 1½ tbsp sake
- 1½ tbsp mirin
- 2 tsp sugar
- 2 cups shredded cabbage
- ½ cup shredded carrot
- a sprig of parsley or mint (optional)
- Combine the sauce ingredients in a small bowl or cup and mix well.
- If the thickness of the chicken is uneven, make an incision where the flesh is thick and spread to level the thickness. Poke the skin with the tip of the knife in several places so that the sauce will get through to the flesh better.
- Heat a non-stick fry pan over medium heat. Place the chicken in the pan, skin side down. Cook for 3-4 minutes until the skin gets cooked to a golden brown. Turn the chicken over and cook for about 3 minutes. (Note 2) If a lot of fat oil came out of the skin, absorb excess oil with a paper towel (Note 3).
- When the chicken is nearly cooked, add the sauce, shake the pan to even the sauce and put the lid on. Cook for 30 seconds.
- Remove the lid and cook until the sauce thickens and reduces to about 1-1.5 tablespoons (Note 4). Turn the chicken over and coat the skin side with the sauce.
- Remove the pan from the heat and place the chicken on the cutting board, skin side up. Cover with foil for few minutes to let it cook further. Slice the chicken into 1.5-2cm thick pieces.
- Place mixed cabbage and carrot salad on a plate and then arrange the sliced chicken. Pour the sauce over the chicken and add a sprig of parsley/mint if using. Serve immediately.
You can use skin off and even chicken breast if you prefer. The texture of the chicken will be different, particularly with chicken breast but the flavor should be the same.
2. Depending on the thickness of the thigh fillets, time will vary.
3. It is important to remove excess oil as much as possible. Too much oil from the fat prevents the teriyaki sauce from sticking to the meat. This is the reason for using a non-stick fry pan with no oil. If using a normal fry pan, I’d suggest that you oil the pan with a small amount of oil when heating up.
4. You need to retain enough sauce to pour over the chicken on the plate. After turning off the heat, the sauce continues to cook with pan’s residual heat and concentrate further. So turn off the heat slightly earlier. You can always concentrate further if required.