I didn’t see teriyaki dishes in the menu of places we dined at in Japan. Makes me wonder if teriyaki is more popular outside Japan. And the most loved among a vast array of teriyaki dishes I have come across with is chicken teriyaki.
At home, teriyaki is one of our “default” dishes. Even when we run out of basics like fresh onion and garlic, there are always bottles of soy sauce, sake and mirin in the pantry. I’d make teriyaki sauce and use it on whatever there is in the freezer. Chicken, fish, pork, vegetables… It’s just so versatile. And it transforms whatever it touches.
If you have basic Japanese ingredients, it’s easy to make teriyaki sauce. It’s so much better than bottled stuff. The process isn’t complicated as it only involves boiling.
And the best part is that you can make enough teriyaki sauce for three to four dishes in one go. Use whatever you need for one dish and keep the excess sauce in the fridge. It will stay good for two weeks or so.
Once you have teriyaki sauce, cooking chicken teriyaki is fast and easy.
Spray a thick-bottomed pan with oil (if using skinless chicken fillet), heat and lay the chicken fillets side by side. Cook over high heat until the undersides are lightly browned then flip to brown the opposite side.
Then, pour the teriyaki sauce over the chicken. Cook, flipping the chicken occasionally, until the sauce caramelizes.
It’s pan grilling. But to avoid scorching, you need a heavy pan with a thick bottom. A heavy non-stick frying pan is ideal for me.
Chicken Teriyaki With Easy Homemade Teriyaki Sauce
For the teriyaki sauce
- 1 cup soy sauce (use Japanese soy sauce which is less salty than Chinese)
- 1 cup sake
- 1 cup mirin
- 1 tablespoon sugar
To cook chicken teriyaki
- 6 to 10 chicken thigh fillets preferably skin on, about 700 grams total weight
- 1/2 teaspoon cooking oil (only if using skinless chicken fillets)
Make the teriyaki sauce
- In a small sauce pan, mix together all the ingredients for the teriyaki sauce. Heat and bring to a gentle boil.
- Boil the mixture over medium-low heat, uncovered, until reduced by half.
- Set the teriyaki sauce aside. You will need only 1/4 cup. Save the rest in a bottle or jar and keep in the fridge. It will stay good for two weeks or so.
Cook the chicken teriyaki
- Wipe the chicken thigh fillets dry with paper towels.
- Heat a heavy thick-bottomed frying pan.
- If your chicken thigh fillets are skinless, spray or brush the bottom of the pan with oil.
- Lay the chicken thigh fillets in a single layer, skin side down (or smooth side down if using skinless) in the pan. Cook over high heat until lightly browned, about three minutes.
- Flip the chicken fillets over to brown the opposite side, about three minutes.
- Lower the heat to medium and pour 1/4 cup of teriyaki sauce over the chicken.
- Cook for another four to six minutes, flipping the chicken fillets over occasionally, until the sauce has caramelized and coats the chicken fillets evenly.
To serve the chicken teriyaki
- Move the chicken fillets to a chopping board and cut into strips.
- Pile the chicken teriyaki strips over rice in a bowl or serve the rice on the side.