Chicken is one of those ultimate proteins that tastes good with just about any paired ingredients. One of my favorite chicken dishes is chicken teriyaki. I always end up buying a bottle of teriyaki sauce at the grocery store because it makes for such an easy meal. That is, until I stumbled across this recipe for Easy Teriyaki Chicken. Trust me, it’s easy! And even tastier than the bottled stuff.
Teriyaki is a cooking technique used in Japanese cuisine in which foods are broiled or grilled with a glaze of soy sauce, mirin and sugar. The word teriyaki is derived from the noun teri, which refers to a shine or luster and yaki, which refers to the cooking method (or broiling or grilling). Traditionally meat is dipped in or brushed several times with the sauce during cooking and then the remaining sauce is boiled and reduced to the desired thickness. While in Japan, typically only fish is cooked with teriyaki sauce, in North America any dish made with a teriyaki-like sauce is described as teriyaki – the most common being chicken. Teriyaki sauce may be both sweet and spicy.
One of the key ingredients in teriyaki sauce is soy sauce (also called soya sauce), which is a condiment made from the fermented paste of boiled soy beans, roasted grain, brine and certain molds. After fermentation the paste is pressed, producing a liquid which is the soy sauce. It is a traditional ingredient in East and Southeast Asian cuisine where it is used both in cooking and as a condiment. Soy sauce originated in China as early as the 2nd century BCE and then spread throughout Asia. Records of the Dutch East India Company list soy sauce as a commodity when in 1737 a large shipment was sent to the Netherlands. Soy sauce has a distinctive salty flavoring.
For this teriyaki recipe to make the sauce you will need soy sauce, water and sugar, as well as a couple of herbs/spices (while this recipe calls for fresh, if all else fails you can substitute powdered forms but fresh is desirable). All of the ingredients are combined, the sugar dissolves and what you are left with is a brown liquid sauce – teriyaki. It is important to note that you can easily adjust the amounts of each ingredient depending on how much sauce you need. It is a relatively cheap sauce to prepare, so make extra. You want plenty of sauce to marinade your chicken (you can soak the chicken for up to 3 days, but you want to soak it for at least 24 hours – although, you can boil the chicken in the sauce right after you make it if you’re too impatient and want to eat sooner rather than later). I recommend making this recipe a day or two ahead of time to allow the chicken a decent amount of time to take on the flavor profile of the teriyaki. The longer you leave it, the stronger and richer the flavoring with be.
And that’s pretty much it. After your sauce is made, just add chicken and steam it with a little extra teriyaki sauce. This will ensure your chicken ends up tender and juicy, just the way it should be!