Chicken teriyaki 照り焼きチキン is just about the standard item on most Japanese restaurants and takeout menus. If done right, it is a most savoury and delicious accompanient to plain rice. But it can sometimes be too sweet, or, worse still, have the strange tang of vinegar (don’t ask…) that often comes from using bottled sauces. Teriyaki sauce is amazingly simple to make, using only the essential condiments of most Japanese cooking: light soy sauce, mirin, sake and sugar (you can even omit the sake if you like).
You can of course use beef, chicken, prawns or firm tofu for this dish. Adding some vegetables like bean sprouts, thinly sliced carrots and snow peas will also make this a good one-dish meal on top of rice. If using beef, very thinly sliced beef is best for quick cooking on a pan or grill without drying out the meat. For chicken, I prefer to use chicken thighs for the same reason as opposed to chicken breast, which can get too dry. Most supermarkets have skinless and boneless chicken thighs available (or get them from your local butcher).
Ingredients (serves 2):
4 chicken thighs, skinless and boneless
3 tbsp light soy sauce
3 tbsp mirin
2 tbsp sake
3 tsp sugar
Some toasted sesame seeds for garnish (optional)
1. Trim the chicken thighs of skin and excess fat if needed. Place them in a bowl with the light soy sauce, sake, mirin and sugar. Mix well and leave to marinate in the fridge for at least 30 minutes or overnight.
2. Heat some oil in a frying pan on medium-high heat. Remove the chicken from the bowl, draining off excess marinade, and cook in the pan. Pan fry for about 2 minutes on each side until the chicken is nicely browned.
3. Add 5 tbsp water to te reserve marinade (whatever’s left in the bowl) and pour over the chicken. Cover and simmer on low heat until cooked through, about 2 minutes.
4. Uncover, increase the heat and reduce the sauce to a glaze to coat the chicken (be careful not to burn the sauce). Remove chicken and slice. Pour remaining teriyaki sauce over the chicken and garnish with toasted sesame seeds.
This dish is best served on top of rice so that the teriyaki sauce permeates into and flavours the plain rice. Yum.