Chattering Kitchen

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Japanese Cooking Made Easy:Grilled Chicken Teriyaki With A Twist

Hailing from Japan and a staple order in every Japanese restaurant; the popularity of chicken teriyaki or any other meat, poultry or seafood teriyaki, is insurmountable. A favorite among children, adults and gourmet food connoisseurs alike, no Japanese dinner would be complete without its inclusion in the menu. Almost everyone, including me before I studied this dish, associated teriyaki with sauce. Somehow due to its association with all types of meat, we assume that teriyaki is the name given to the type of sauce accompanying the meat. This, however, is a misnomer. In traditional Japanese cuisine, the term “teriyaki” refers to the method of cooking. According to Wikipedia, “The word teriyaki derives from the noun teri, which refers to a shine or luster given by the sugar content in the tare, and yaki, which refers to the cooking method of grilling or broiling”. In simple terms, it is grilled chicken with a sweet sauce.

Chicken Teriyaki

Due to its popularity, many companies have made life easy for household chefs. Supermarkets are now inundated with branded teriyaki sauces or marinades. All one needs to do is grill the meat at home and pour the ready-made sauce over it. But what do you do when you wake up with the desire to eat chicken teriyaki? Two options either make it yourself or order in. Faced with this same urge this morning, I set out on yet another culinary discovery of whipping up this dish myself. The first obstacle, each recipe that I read online required honey and rice wine such as sake or mirin. Those two were the only ingredients that were not present in my larder. So either I experiment and make my own substitutions or give up the quest till I hit the shops. But how was I going to enjoy my road to discovery if I gave up so soon. Then it hit me, play with the ingredients that I had in my kitchen. The first place I scanned was my fridge for something that would add the sweet yet acidic texture to my sauce; the answer – apple juice. Quite unconventional, but believe me it actually worked. Honey was simple to substitute, just use sugar instead. I saw an unopened packet of tamarind paste lying in my fridge too. What better time to open it. The sour flavor added just the right amount of tanginess to this otherwise sweet sauce. The results exceeded my expectations, hence it became obligatory upon me to share this delicious yet unorthodox recipe of chicken teriyaki. It is definitely worth trying.

Chicken Teriyaki

INGREDIENTS

  • 1/4 kg chicken breasts, cut into strips
  • 1/2 cup soy sauce
  • 1/4 cup sweet soy sauce
  • 1/2 cup apple juice
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 2 tbsp minced ginger/garlic paste
  • 2 tbsp sugar
  • 1 tsp tamarind paste
  • 3-4 red chillies, whole
  • 3 tbsp cornflour mixed with 3 tbsp water

PREPARATION

  • Mix the soy sauce, sweet soy sauce, apple juice, tamarind paste, water, ginger/garlic paste, sugar and red chillies in a saucepan
  • Bring the mixture to a boil and then simmer on very low heat for about 15 minutes. Make sure the sugar has completely dissolved
  • Bringing the Teriyaki Sauce to a Boil

  • Take off the burner and pour the sauce through a sieve to remove the excess pieces of the garlic, ginger and chillies. Do not discard the chillies, use them as garnish later
  • Before returning the sauce to the heat, pour about 2-3 tbsp over the chicken strips. Coat the chicken well with the sauce and let it stand till ready to cook
  • Coat the Chicken in Teriyaki Marinade

  • Pour the cornflour into the sauce slowly, stirring well to prevent any lumps from forming. Add the amount of cornflour you desire depending on how thick you want the sauce to be
  • Bring the sauce to a boil, stirring constantly, for another 5 minutes
  • Once the sauce has reached your desired consistency, turn off the heat and cover the pan with a lid
  • Teriyaki Sauce

  • Heat a grill and glaze with sesame oil
  • As the grill starts to smoke, add the chicken strips
  • Grill for about 2-3 minutes per side, or till golden brown
  • Place the chicken on a plate and pour the teriyaki sauce over it
  • Serve hot

Grilled Chicken with Teriyaki Sauce

The sauce is good for more than one use, so store it for up to 2-3 weeks in the refrigerator or 1-2 months in the freezer. Maybe next time you can go for a traditional Japanese teriyaki meal. Traditional Japanese teriyaki consists of fish such as salmon, tuna and mackerel among others. While it is the West that has popularized the use of meat and poultry with teriyaki sauce. Serve it with jasmine rice, garlic rice or noodles lightly fried in sesame oil, this straightforward recipe is sure to brighten up your day. Maybe you too can change this recipe around to suit your own needs and come up with more ingenious ingredients. There is nothing comparable to the joy of successfully creating a dish using the ingredients available in your fridge or larder and not the ones mentioned in every recipe book.

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