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!
I love this dish because it is so simple to prepare – you don’t even need to buy Teriyaki sauce! You simply make it at home with 3 simple ingredients – sugar, light soya sauce and mirin.
Whenever possible, always use fresh chicken thighs and not frozen ones! I once made Teriyaki Chicken using the frozen thighs as I didn’t have time to go to the wet market and was rushing for time, so I grabbed the frozen ones from the nearest supermarket. and the meat tasted bland. My children, now getting more picky, didn’t enjoyed it as much before and asked why the meat tasted bland and the texture of the chicken was so different. The moral of the story: don’t take too many short cuts, because there will be tell tale signs!
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The tricky part of this dish is in the sauce – it is important to cook the sugar until it caramelises but is not burnt, and it may take a bit of practice to get it right. To help you, here are the 4 stages of the sugar being caramelised, so you know what to look out for.
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?
Indeed this is the easiest and fastest way to whip up a meal when you have to rush home to feed the hungry people. Hope you enjoy this recipe, and please leave me a comment below if you have any questions, suggestions or feedback for me!
Note: This recipe is based on a rice cooker cooking time of 30 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.
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 Large Chicken Thigh with Drumstick
- 2 tsp Coarse Salt To wash the chicken
- 2 TBsp Sugar
- 3 TBsp Light Soy Sauce
- 1/2 Bowl Water
- 3 TBsp Mirin
- 1 tsp Sesame Seed
- 1 1/2 Cup Japanese Rice
- 1 1/4 Cup Water
- 1/4 tsp Salt
- 2-3 TBsp Mirin
- Some Japanese Seaweed Strips
- A Dash Assorted Chili Pepper ( Nanami Togarashi) Optional
Wash the 1 1/2 cups of Japanese rice and drain dry. Place the rice in a rice cooker and add 1 1/4 cups of water, then set to cook as per normal rice.
Use the 2 tsp of coarse salt to exfoliate the chicken thighs to remove the yellow lining on the skin (this gets rid of the smell). Wash thoroughly and pat dry.
In a non-stick pan, add in the 2 TBsp of sugar and fry over medium heat until it becomes sticky and the colour of caramel.
Place the 2 chicken thighs skin side down. Move them around the pan, pressing them down with your hands, until they are evenly coated with the caramel and turn brown.
Add in the 3 TBsp of light soya sauce and 1/2 bowl (or 170 ml) of water. Cover the pan and let simmer until the sauce thickens (about 15-20 mins). Stir the chicken occasionally.
Next, add in the mirin and turn the chicken thighs over, then continue to cook for 3 mins or until the sauce becomes very sticky but not too dry. A little water can be added if it is too dry. Transfer to a plate.
When the rice is cooked, add in 1/4 tsp salt and mirin a little at a time and stir with a chopstick while it is still hot until well mixed. [Expert Tip!] It is best to stir the rice in front of a fan as it helps the rice to absorb the vinegar and gives it a glossy look.
Scoop the rice in 2 rice bowls and top with the teriyaki chicken thighs. Sprinkle with sesame seeds, shredded seaweed and assorted chili pepper (optional) and serve hot.
- When frying the sugar, be careful not to burn it. You need to control the fire and adjust the heat accordingly. Once the sugar starts to caramelise, reduce the heat and continue to stir constantly until it turns sticky and caramel in colour.
- The chicken should be placed skin-side down so to caramelise to get the desired colour and sweet fragrance.
- Some brands of light soya sauce are very salty, you will need to adjust the amount accordingly.
- 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.
- 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.
- The vinegar must be added a little at a time and evenly distributed on the surface of the rice before stirring.
- Do not add the vinegar to the rice in a metallic pot because of the acidicity of the vinegar. Instead, transfer it to a glass bowl or any non metallic pot first.
- Stir the rice with a chopstick to minimise breakage of the cooked rice.
- For making sushi, the best is to stir the rice in front of a fan as it helps it to absorb the vinegar better. Fanning also helps to cool the rice faster for easy handling and give it a glossy look.
- It is best to consume the rice within a day as overnight sushi rice does not taste good.