The other day, we had accidentally defrosted some chicken thighs instead of chicken breasts, so we decided to leave them in the fridge instead of throwing them back into the freezer. Feeling adventurous tonight, I decided to head into some unknown territory by making a sauce from scratch to pour over the chicken. Thus, the hunt began for a good starting point for a teriyaki sauce recipe. Below is my modified version after some on-the-fly changes for taste.
(Makes 4 servings)
~ 2 tbsp cold water
~ 1 tbsp cornstarch
~ 1/2 cup brown sugar
~ 1/2 cup light soy sauce
~ 1/4 tsp ground black pepper
~ 2 tbsp cider vinegar
~ 1 clove garlic, minced
~ 1/2 tsp ginger, minced
~ 1/4 tsp ground ginger
~ 1 tbsp honey
~ Sesame seeds
~ 6 – 8 boneless chicken thighs (can also use chicken breasts)
Dissolve the cornstarch into the cold water by adding some of the cornstarch a little at a time and then stirring it up. In a small saucepan, add all of the ingredients one-by-one (except the chicken thighs) and simmer it on medium to low heat. Be sure to stir the mixture frequently, and wait until it starts to thicken up (didn’t really happen until maybe around 6 – 8 minutes, but play around with the heat a bit). Taste the sauce after you’ve finished mixing to see how it is. A little forewarning: the flavor will probably be very intense and might have some spiciness added to it as well. When I first tried the sauce from the original recipe I had, the sauce was extremely tangy, almost to the point of sourness. The ingredients list I have above incorporates some of the modifications made to tone down the sauce a bit (extra water and honey).
When the sauce is done, set that aside to cool off for a bit and get to work on the chicken. We used a grillpan on the stove to cook the chicken, but you can certainly use a regular frying pan/skillet as well. You don’t really need to season the chicken, since most of the flavor should come from the sauce. When those are cooked down, the two biggest components of the dish are done.
The way I decided to plate (or bowl, in this case) the dish was to have a bowl of rice and peas, and then cut the chicken into bite-sized strips to put over the rice. Scoop some teriyaki sauce into a spoon and then while holding it vertically over the bowl, make a zig-zag pattern to evenly spread the sauce out. Feel free to repeat this process again if it doesn’t look like there’s enough sauce in the bowl. Finish it off with a sprinkling of some sesame seeds over the top of the bowl, and you’re all set. (If I had some, I would have loved to have also garnished the bowl with some freshly-cut scallions.)
When you take a spoonful of the chicken, the teriyaki sauce, and the rice all together, the flavors really do come together very nicely. The teriyaki provides some sweetness and tanginess, while the chicken provides great contrast with a moist and hearty flavor. The rice also breaks things up with some dryness, but all together it comes down to a savory bite of a delicious meal.