You can easily make chicken teriyaki using bottled teriyaki sauce but when you discover what’s in it, you will wonder why you have been buying bottles and bottles of the stuff when it’s so easy to prepare it at home. Mirin, sake, soy sauce and, optionally, honey. I like to add a bit of ginger but it’s not really a must. In fact, the traditional Japanese teriyaki recipe does not include ginger at all. You mix the ingredients for the sauce, marinate the boneless chicken in it and then you grill the chicken. That’s it, in a nutshell. Of course, if you want to make sure that your chicken teriyaki is not so-so, you will have to pay attention to the small details that make all the difference.
1) Try to use chicken thigh or leg fillets rather than chicken breast fillets. Skin on.
2) Use light soy sauce. I use Kikkoman but if you have access to more brands, you can always try something else. There might be something better than Kikkoman. The local soy sauce brands like Silver Swan and Datu Puti fall under dark soy sauce. They give the chicken a dark rather than a reddish-gold color.
3) You can’t dispense with the marinating part. You have to give the chicken enough time to absorb the flavors in the marinade.
- 300 grams chicken fillets preferably thighs or legs, skin on
- 1/4 cup light soy sauce
- 1/4 cup mirin (sweet rice wine)
- 1/4 cup sake
- 1 tablespoon honey optional
- 1/2 teaspoon fresh ginger grated, optional
- onion leaves finely sliced, to garnish
- Place the uncut chicken fillets in a bowl. Add in the soy sauce, mirin, sake and, if using, honey and ginger. Mix well. Cover and let sit in the fridge for several hours or, preferably, overnight.
- Pour in the reserved marinade into a small pan. Boil gently for about five minutes or just until thickened. Set aside.
- Heat up the grill (or grill on the stove top with a cast iron skillet). Drain the chicken fillets, reserving the marinade. Lay the chicken fillets on the grill (or skillet), skin side down, and cook over high heat until the skins are brown and start to turn crisp.
- Flip them over, lower the heat to medium and continue cooking for a few minutes until the opposite is browned and the meat is done.
- Transfer the cooked chicken to a chopping board. Chop into strips about half an inch wide (or not if you prefer to serve them whole). Arrange on a plate. Spoon the sauce over the chicken. Sprinkle with onion leaves before serving.