October 27, 2009

Chicken Teriyaki Donburi = Chikiteridon!

I had no idea that delicious chicken teriyaki was so darn easy.

I've become very interested in Japanese cuisine, of late. I learned how to make maki sushi years ago, but frankly it's not something that I tend to make at home. I have never been to Japan, so my assumptions about the cuisine are somewhat biased by the Japanese restaurants in Vancouver, and somewhat ruthless reading. I'm currently trolling for cookbook recommendations, if you have any suggestions, please leave me a comment or shoot an e-mail my way.

I recently purchased some Japanese rice, and have consequently been playing a little. I've always been fond of donburi - Japanese rice topped with assorted delicious bits - and I had some luck with an oyakodon (chicken and egg donburi) several years ago. Donburi is a favourite (and infinitely variable) and filling lunch when I'm out and about.

Chicken Teriyaki is one of those things that I tend to find, in restaurant preparations, rather too sweet for me, although I do like the flavours. Most of the attractive recipes that I could find specified a mixture of sake, mirin, sugar and soy sauce. Some had ginger and garlic, which doesn't seem to suit the smooth texture of the sauce. The most user-friendly recipe that I found was from Just Bento, a website devoted to the marvels of the bento lunch. This is also where I found the term "Chikiteri", which is quite wonderful. Here is my adaptation.

Chicken Teriyaki
Adapted from Just Bento

Serves 4
Total Prep & Cooking time: 45 minutes, including 30 minutes marinating time

Note: I didn't have mirin (alas! Next time!), so I made do with just sake. The good news is, it was excellent, so don't let a lack of mirin put you off making this as soon as possible.

¼ cup Japanese soy sauce (low sodium)
¼ cup sake
2 Tablespoons honey
1 Tablespoon plain rice vinegar
6 skinless chicken thighs
1 Tablespoon canola oil
2 green onions, sliced diagonally

Mix the soy sauce, sake, rice vinegar and honey in a wide, shallow dish.
Remove any big fatty bits from the chicken and slice the thighs into chopstick-friendly pieces – I cut with the grain into pieces roughly the size of short, fat, carrot sticks. Add the chicken to the soy sauce mixture, stir well, and allow to rest for 15 - 30 minutes (or overnight, if you can plan ahead).

Drain the chicken in a sieve, reserving the marinade.

In a large, non-stick skillet, heat the canola oil over high heat. Once it is hot enough for a drop of water to sizzle, add 1/3 of the drained chicken to the pan in a single layer. Let it cook without moving the pieces for 30 seconds, then add half the remaining chicken in the spaces around the first batch. Allow to cook further 30 seconds undisturbed, then stir through once and add the rest of the chicken to the pan. Let it cook undisturbed for about a minute (you can keep an eye on the earlier pieces, and flip them if they look like they’re going to burn otherwise) and then stir everything through so that the chicken browns and turns glossy on all sides.

Add the reserved marinade and stir through. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the chicken is a lovely dark golden brown and the sauce has reduced to the desired consistency.
Serve with Japanese rice, and garnish with green onions. Stir fried snow peas and shiitake mushrooms make a lovely accompaniment.

Garnish with green onion. Serve with Japanese rice, preferably, and some crisply cooked vegetables (upon reflection, I should have added some ginger to the mushrooms above).


Heidi Richter said...

"Chikiteri" is a wonderful term!!

Dawna said...

Yes, it's very cute! Although, "Chikiteridon" sounds like a prehistoric chicken, don't you think?