Chicken a la teriyaki

The school year begins today for my younger daughter, Alex. We were both up bright and early and I had two chicken leg quarters in the pan before 6.00 a.m. It was a toss-up between the chicken and potatoes with creamy cheese sauce and teriyaki, and I chose the latter because it didn’t require me to peel potatoes so early in the morning. I really prefer my coffee mug to the vegetable peeler at that hour.

Don’t I mean chicken teriyaki? No, there’s a reason for the a la in the title of this recipe. See, traditional chicken teriyaki is marinated and made with fillets. Because I used chicken leg quarters — which I did not marinate — for Alex’s packed lunch, so as not to get the purists howling, I’m calling this dish chicken a la teriyaki.

All the ingredients are the same as those for traditional chicken teriyaki but the cooking method differs a bit.

For two chicken leg quarters (about 500 grams) chopped through the bone into thirds, I heated a tablespoonful of cooking oil in a non-stick pan then browned the chicken on both sides. Then, I poured in 1/4 cup each of light soy sauce, sake and mirin. I added a few slices of ginger (I omitted the sugar) and braised the chicken in the sauce for 35 minutes over low heat. The slices of onion leaves were added off the fire.

If you think that the chicken won’t turn out tasty because they were not marinated, consider the fact that the chicken will sit in the sauce for a couple of hours until Alex opens her lunch box for lunch. By that time, it’ll be as though the chicken were marinated overnight in the fridge.

Traditional chicken teriyaki is cooked (grilled, actually) until quite dry but because Alex wants sauce to pour over her rice, after the sauce has thickened and coated the chicken pieces, I added 1/4 cup of water to the pan to make the sauce that she likes so much.

Did I pack two chicken leg quarters? No, just one. I reserved the remaining portion. It can be reheated another day when, perhaps, when there isn’t enough time to cook from scratch. Or, perhaps, my older daughter Sam (classes in the university are still suspended because of the A/H1N1 issue) can have it for lunch today.