The term teriyaki actually refers to a method of Japanese cooking where food is first marinated and then grilled whilst being basted with the marinade which usually consists of soy, sake, mirin and sugar – “Teri” meaning lustre or shine and “Yaki” meaning to grill. There’s good reason for it’s enormous popularity, especially for people new to Japanese cuisine who need time to get their head around sashimi and sushi. The slightly sweet glaze and burnished pieces of meat or fish are extremely appetising and of course the sweet element also makes it a winner with children. I don’t however recommend overdoing the sweet element in the marinade as it can quickly become cloying and over take the other flavours. The version that I cook isn’t exactly traditional as the chicken is pan fried rather than grilled but the result is still delicious. This is such a great midweek dinner – quick to make, satisfying and full of flavour. Again, it’s not traditional but I like to serve it with sides of quartered cucumbers, sliced avocado, and finely chopped spring onions, along of course with steamed rice.
Ingredients – Serves 2
4-6 boneless chicken thigh fillets (depending on how big they are) – you can leave the skin on if you wish.
2 tablespoons sake
Vegetable oil – about 3 tablespoons
1 teaspoon mixed black and white sesame seeds
2 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons water
2 tablespoons sake
2 tablespoon mirin
1 tablespoon sugar
½ a small onion, grated, including juice
Thumb size piece of ginger, grated
Cut the chicken into large bite size pieces, about 2 inches big. Mix all the marinade ingredients in a bowl and add the chicken. Marinade for as long as possible – an hour or two would be great but even 15 minutes will do. Heat 2 tablespoons of oil in a large non stick frypan over medium-high heat. When hot add the chicken pieces, shaking off as much marinade as possible. When the chicken pieces have turned golden brown turn them over and cook for a minute or two more. Add the sake and cover with a lid. Reduce heat and let it simmer for 10 minutes.
Remove the chicken and clean the pan with some kitchen paper. Return it back over a medium heat and add a tablespoon of fresh oil. When hot add the chicken and resume the frying process, once sizzling add the remaining marinade. Cook for about another 5-6 minutes, turning and basting the chicken all the time to get a nice glaze.
Due to the mirin and sugar in the sauce it will have a tendency to burn quite quickly so make sure that your heat isn’t too high. Remove the chicken to a platter, sprinkle with black and white sesame seeds and serve straight away.