30-minute Teriyaki Chicken Don: Instead of heading to a Japanese restaurant, why not make this easy Teriyaki chicken rice bowl at home? The homemade Teriyaki sauce uses just 3 ingredients and gives a beautiful glossy caramelised finish to the chicken thighs. Serve with a bowl of Japanese rice for a complete meal!
I learnt this dish from my good friend Veronica who is an excellent cook and shared this recipe with me years ago when we were learning line dancing at the Pasir Ris Community Club. She has her own cooking blog Veronica’s Kitchen where she has shared lots of yummy recipes, so do check it out!
This dish is so quick and simple to prepare, even if you are rushing home from work to whip up something to feed the hungry mouths in your household. You don’t even need to buy Teriyaki sauce! You can easily make it at home with 3 common pantry ingredients – sugar, light soya sauce and mirin. The tricky part is in caramelising the sugar but not get it burnt! It may take some practice, but not to worry, you can refer to my Premium Tips section below (sign up for a free trial here!). Here I will show you the 4 stages of the sugar being caramelised, so you know exactly what to look out for and how to control the heat accordingly!
Note: This recipe is based on a rice cooker cooking time of 20 minutes for 2 cups of rice.
Suggested Modifications for Special Diets
- Child-Friendly: Leave out the chilli pepper seasoning
- Egg-Free: No modifications needed.
- Fish-Free: No modifications needed.
- Gluten-Free: Use gluten free mirin and soya sauce
- Nut-Free: No modifications needed.
- Shellfish-Free: No modifications needed.
30-minute CHICKEN TERIYAKI DON
Instead of heading to a Japanese restaurant, why not make this easy Teriyaki chicken rice bowl at home? The homemade Teriyaki sauce uses just 3 ingredients and gives a beautiful glossy caramelised finish to the chicken thighs. Serve with a bowl of Japanese rice for a complete meal!
- 2 Chicken Legs Small
- 1.5 rice cup Japanese Rice
- 1 Japanese cucumber Small
- 2 tsp Coarse Salt To wash the chicken
- 2 tbsp Sugar
- 3 tbsp Light Soy Sauce
- 3 tbsp Mirin
- 3 tbsp Japanese Rice Vinegar
- 0.25 tsp Salt
- 1 tbsp Japanese sesame salad dressing
- 1 tsp Sesame Seed
- 2 Japanese Seaweed sheets
- A Dash Assorted Chili Pepper ( Nanami Togarashi) Optional
PREPARATION FOR TERIYAKI CHICKEN DON (10 MIN)
Wash the Japanese rice and drain dry. Then place the rice in a rice cooker and add 1.25 rice cups of water, then set to cook.
Use the coarse salt to exfoliate the skin of the chicken, then wash thoroughly and pat dry.
COOKING METHOD FOR TERIYAKI CHICKEN DON (20 MIN)
In a pan, add the sugar and fry over medium heat for about 8 minutes or until it becomes sticky and caramel coloured.
Place the chicken legs skin side down and move them around the pan until they are evenly coated with caramel.
Then add in the light soya sauce and 0.5 bowl (or 170 ml) of water. Cover the pan and let simmer for about 15 minutes or until the sauce thickens. Stir the chicken occasionally.
Meanwhile, wash the Japanese cucumber and slice it. Then place it in the fridge.
Cut the Japanese seaweed into strips, and set aside.
Once the rice is cooked, transfer it into a glass bowl and place it in front of a fan. Then add in the salt and 3 tbsp of Japanese rice vinegar (a little at a time), all while stirring the rice with a chopstick while it is still hot until well mixed. Don't forget to check on the chicken as well.
Next, add in 3 tbsp of mirin and turn the chicken thighs over. Then continue to cook for 3 mins or until the sauce becomes sticky but not too dry. You can add more water if it is too dry. Then transfer it to a plate.
Scoop the rice in 2 rice bowls and top with the teriyaki chicken thighs. Sprinkle with sesame seeds, shredded seaweed and assorted chili pepper and serve hot.
PREMIUM: Troubleshooting & Time-Saving Tips
1. I have not tried to caramelise sugar before. How can I ensure that the sugar won’t burn when I am trying to caramelise it?
[mepr-show if=”rule: 12577″] You need to understand the stages of the sugar caramelising, so you can control the fire accordingly.
Once you reach stage 4 (sugar turns caramel brown), you need to put in the chicken thighs immediately. If you continue to cook the sugar on its own beyond stage 4, it will quickly turn dark brown / black and will have a burnt taste. If you put the chicken in too early, it won’t give you the nice brown caramel colour. What we want to achieve is the glossy caramelised finish on the skin of the chicken thigh like in the photo below! Doesn’t it look delicious?
Stage 1: Uncooked sugar
Stage 2: The sugar will start to sweat and form clunks
Stage 3: Next, sugar will melt and turn light golden brown like honey.
Stage 4: The liquid will start to thicken and turn a darker brown. Once this happens, you need to reduce the heat and stir continuously until it turns sticky and caramel coloured. Do not leave the sugar solution unattended as it can burn quickly. [/mepr-show]
2. Why doesn’t my chicken turn out brown and caramelised looking like in your recipe?
[mepr-show if=”rule: 12577″] Firstly you need to ensure that the sugar is properly caramelised before you place the chicken into the pan. Do also ensure that the chicken is placed skin-side down, and that you press down on the chicken to evenly coat it with caramel. Finally, do ensure that during the 15 minutes fo simmering, the simmering liquid has reduced into a thick sauce. If not, your fire may not have been high enough, and you will need to continue to simmer the chicken for a couple more minutes until the sauce turns thick and sticky. [/mepr-show]
3. Why does your recipe add 0.25 rice cup less water than the rice, isn’t it usually a 1:1 ratio?
[mepr-show if=”rule: 12577″] The rice should be cooked with a little less water so that when it is cooked it is drier and can absorb the seasoning better. [/mepr-show]
4. Why do you recommend stirring the rice in front of a fan?
[mepr-show if=”rule: 12577″] Stirring the rice in front of a fan helps it to absorb the vinegar better. Fanning also helps to cool the rice down faster for easy handling and to give it a glossy look. [/mepr-show]
5. Can I skip the step of washing and exfoliating the chicken?
[mepr-show if=”rule: 12577″] Yes you may. However, exfoliating the chicken with coarse salt helps to remove the yellow lining on the skin. If not removed, you may notice that the chicken has a strong poultry smell after it is cooked. That’s why I always prefer to take the extra step of washing and exfoliating the chicken. [/mepr-show]
6. The chicken turned out too salty even though I followed your recipe exactly. Why is that so?
[mepr-show if=”rule: 12577″] Some brands of light soya sauce are very salty, you will need to adjust the amount accordingly. Do check out my article on the Essential Chinese Sauces I stock in my pantry for recommendations on sauce brands![/mepr-show]
7. I prefer the Japanese rice to be sweeter, can I add some sugar?
[mepr-show if=”rule: 12577″]You can add a little sugar to the rice if it is your preference. I prefer the rice to be more savoury so I omitted the sugar. If sugar is added, you need to heat the vinegar and add in the sugar until it dissolves before adding to the rice.[/mepr-show]
8. Why do you advise stirring the rice with a chopstick?
[mepr-show if=”rule: 12577″]Stir the rice with a chopstick helps to minimise breakage of the cooked rice.[/mepr-show]
9. Can I prepare this dish a day or two ahead of time?
[mepr-show if=”rule: 12577″]Once you add the mirin to the rice, it is best to consume it within the day. If you plan to make this dish ahead of time, allow the rice to cool after it is cooked, then refrigerate it. The next day, you can reheat it in the rice cooker, and add the mirin and salt to the dish as per the recipe instructions.[/mepr-show]
10. Why do you need to transfer the rice into a glass bowl?
[mepr-show if=”rule: 12577″]Vinegar is acidic, so its not advisable to add it to the rice in the metal rice-cooker pot.[/mepr-show]
Submit a question for our FAQ (For Premium Members)
[mepr-show if=”rule: 12577″]
[contact-form to=”email@example.com” subject=”Premium Member: FAQ Submission”][contact-field label=”Name” type=”name” required=”1″][contact-field label=”Email” type=”email” required=”1″][contact-field label=”Message” type=”textarea”][/contact-form]