Chicken teriyaki is one of my favorite Japanese dishes, and a dish many people are already familiar with. But what you may not know is teriyaki is not a flavor, but a style of cooking. Teri means luster and yaki means grilled, so making great teriyaki involves really mastering the technique to create a beautifully glossy, grilled dish full of flavor. While in Japan teriyaki is mainly enjoyed at restaurants that specialize in the skill, it can also be enjoyed at home with minimal effort. This is my go to method for making great teriyaki, so you’ll be enjoying authentic teriyaki chicken at home in no time!
A key thing to note about chicken in Japan is thigh meat is more popular than breast meat because it has more flavor. Where in the US, breast meat is generally more expensive, in Japan thigh meat is more expensive instead! Many Japanese chicken recipes, especially grilling recipes, call for chicken thigh because the Japanese prefer it, so I’m using thigh meat to keep it more authentic. Feel free to use chicken breast instead, just be extra careful not to overcook it, chicken breast can get very dry!
The teriyaki sauce I use below is one of many combinations you can try. If you want to vary it up a little bit, start off with my basic recipe and go from there to find the flavor you like best!
Recipe – Classic Chicken Teriyaki:
– Next prepare the teriyaki sauce. Using a grater, finely grate the onion, ginger and garlic in a small bowl.
– Add the soy sauce, sake, mirin and sugar and stir until combined. Add the chicken and let sit for at least 30 minutes.
– When the chicken is ready to be cooked, heat the oil on medium high heat in a large skillet. Remove the chicken from the sauce and add to chicken to the pan skin side down, setting aside the remaining sauce for later. Cook for a few minutes until browned.
– Flip the chicken over and reduce the heat to medium. Add the two tablespoons of sake, cover, and let cook until the sake is almost completely absorbed.
– Remove the lid, then remove the chicken from the pan briefly. Use a paper towel to remove any excess oil, then return the chicken to the pan.
– Continue cooking the chicken until the skin turns crispy. Add the teriyaki sauce to the pan and stir to coat the chicken. Once the sauce starts to thicken, add the butter, then stir to coat evenly.