Real Teriyaki is amazing. High quality meats or seafood slowly grilled over impossibly high quality charcoal, caringly tended and basted with an almost magical sauce made from simple ingredients. It’s a way to really make the quality of the produce and technique show though.
This isn’t authentic Japanese Teriyaki – which is in itself delicious. Like a lot of other foods I love, this is my version of a dish I frequently ate for lunch during my time in San Francisco. Let’s call it “West Coast lunch counter Teriyaki” All up and down the west coast, particularly in the Pacific Northwest, there are lunch counters, drive-throughs, and fast-foodified Teriyaki joints. They cluster close to college campuses, business districts with big lunch crowds, and military bases. The quality and cooking techniques utilized by these places varies greatly, but the basic formula is the same. Hunk of grilled, broiled, or pan seared protein, a pile of rice, a generous ladle of sweet soy based sauce. Sometimes there’s a “salad” of iceberg and carrots in a orange dressing that bridges the gap between soy-ginger and thousand island.
This is my take on that dish. On lunch counter, fast food, drive though teriyaki. The sauce is similar – though often spiked with ingredients beyond the traditional mix of soy, mirin, and sugar – but it’s not really cooked in the same way. In fact, this particular version is pan cooked instead of grilled. It’s fast, it’s delicious, and generally something that even discerning dinners (aka kids with strong food opinions) will eat.
I like to simmer shitake mushrooms in the sauce, which both makes the sauce even more delicious, but also makes delicious teriyaki mushrooms. You can leave them out if you want – but really, trust me, they’re great.
Easy Chicken TeriyakiCourse: Lunch, MainCuisine: AmericanDifficulty: Easy
A quick and easy lunch counter style teriyaki chicken.
4 boneless, skinless chicken thighs
½ cup plus 2 tbsp soy sauce
½ cup plus 2 tbsp mirin
¼ cup granulated sugar
1 tbsp rice wine vinegar
1 tsp Huy Fong Foods Sriracha sauce
¼ tsp toasted sesame oil
1 tsp corn starch
1 tbsp water
1 cup small shitake mushrooms, cleaned and trimmed (optional)
- Marinade the chicken
- Mix 2 tbsp Mirin and 2 tbsp soy sauce together in a non-reactive bowl. Add the chicken thighs and turn to coat completely. Allow to rest refrigerated for at least 10 minutes and up to 2 hours.
- Make the Sauce
- Mix remaining soy sauce and mirin, the sugar, vinegar, and Sriracha to a simmer.
- Cook until this mixture is reduced by 1/3.
- Make a slurry of 1 tsp corn starch and 1 tbsp water. Add this to the simmering sauce and stir well to combine.
- If using mushrooms, simmer them in the sauce for 2-3 minutes.
- Stir in the sesame oil and keep warm until service.
- Cook and Finish
- Remove the chicken from the marinade. Pat each piece dry with a paper towel.
- Cook over low heat in a non stick pan until cooked though and lightly browned on both sides. Brush with sauce, and slice thinly.
- Top with mushrooms if using.
- Serve over hot short grained white rice.
- Top with shredded green onions for a nice effect.
Be sure to check out my other food project, The Weekly Menu!