Last night I made something that I have never made before, strangely enough: Teriyaki Chicken. I love it. I order it when I am not in the mood for sushi at a Japanese style restaurant. I even bought a Trader Joe’s frozen chicken teriyaki for the girls’ lunches (very good, I might add).
I was perusing some old cooking magazines when I came across a recipe in Cook’s Illustrated for chicken teriyaki. Their recipes are always very well tested and authoritative, if occasionally quite complicated. The chicken teriyaki was not complicated. However, it vociferously called for skin-on chicken thighs instead of skinless, and I bought skinless (health week, remember?). And the sauce sounded incredibly sweet. So, I went on a search for another recipe.
I came across Ellie Krieger’s on the Food Network website. Looked good. Decided to try it. I made the marinade early in the day (so quick and easy). That meant that dinner would take only a few minutes. I realized, though, that the girls would probably want some sauce on their rice and broccoli and that the recipe was for marinated chicken. No sauce. So I went on another hunt and found many, many recipes for Teriyaki Sauce (which they loved from the Trader Joe’s frozen variety).
I served the chicken with jasmine rice, broccoli, carrots and blood orange slices (picked from our own tree – gotta love California). I forgot to put the timer on for the broccoli/carrots and they were…well done, let’s say. AKA broccoli mush. S & I ate our veggies, but we didn’t force L & J to eat theirs since they were sort of gross. Nonetheless, the chicken was a TOTAL hit. I will definitely make it again. Also, J was so cute. She decided that since we were having a Japanese style dinner, we should eat with chopsticks and have tea, served from a teapot with a bamboo handle. It was a delightful change from forks and water.
Here is what I came up with for the sauce, as well as some of the changes that I made to Ellie’s recipe based on user comments as well as my own taste.
Chicken Teriyaki Thighs
adapted from Ellie Krieger, Food Network
1/4 c. low-sodium soy sauce
2 tbsp. dark brown sugar
2 tbsp. dry sherry or mirin (if mirin, reduce sugar by ½ tbsp.)
2 tbsp. rice vinegar
2 garlic cloves, crushed with a garlic press
2 tsp. finely grated fresh ginger (grate about 1 1/2-inches of ginger on a microplane grater)
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
2 lbs. boneless skinless chicken thighs
Combine the soy sauce, sugar, sherry, vinegar, garlic, ginger and red pepper flakes and stir until the sugar dissolves. Transfer to a resealable plastic bag and add the chicken. Seal the bag and marinate the chicken in the refrigerator, turning once, for 1 hour. The chicken can be marinated for up to 4 hours.
Heat the broiler to high. Put oven rack on 2nd to top level, so the chicken doesn’t burn. Coat a broiler pan with vegetable oil spray. Arrange the chicken on the broiler pan flat side down and broil until brown and crispy, about 8 minutes, depending on the thickness of the meat. Flip the chicken and broil until cooked through, about 6-8 minutes longer.
Remove from the oven and slice into ½ inch thick strips, against the grain. Drizzle with teriyaki sauce (recipe below).
1/3 c. low sodium soy sauce
2 tbsp. mirin
2 tbsp. dark brown sugar
1 garlic clove, crushed with a garlic press
1 tsp. finely grated ginger (about ¾ – 1 inch of ginger grated on a microplane)
¾ cup water, divided (1/2 c. plus 1/4 c.)
1 tbsp. cornstarch
In a small saucepan, combine the soy sauce, mirin, brown sugar, garlic, ginger and ½ cup water. Bring to a simmer. Meanwhile, combine ¼ cup water and cornstarch in a small bowl and mix until there are no lumps. Add the cornstarch mixture to the simmering soy sauce mixture and stir gently until it is bubbling and has thickened. If the sauce is too thick, add a little water. Strain the sauce if you want it to be smooth.