Sep 7, 2012

Talking Teriyaki

Skillet Chicken Teriyaki
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What is teriyaki? It's a way of Japanese cooking. The word, teriyaki is a combination of two Japanese words "teri" and "yaki." Teri means shiny, and yaki means to grill or broil. To make a teriyaki dish, ingredients are broiled, roasted, or grilled after being marinated in or basted by teriyaki sauce. It's the teriyaki sauce that brings the shiny look (teri) to the ingredients. You can buy teriyaki sauce in a bottle at the grocery store, but authentic Japanese teriyaki sauce is very easy to make. To make traditional teriyaki sauce, basically soy sauce, mirin, and sugar are used. The most important ingredient is mirin, which is a Japanese sweet white wine. If you cannot find mirin you may substitute sake with a little extra sugar or honey. Mirin adds luster to ingredients. Teriyaki sauce can be used for glazing and marinating meats and vegetables.

Traditional Japanese Teriyaki Sauce
1 cup mirin (Japanese sweet white wine)
1 cup soy sauce
4 tablespoons sugar

Place all ingredients in a pan over medium heat and bring to a simmer until all of the sugar has dissolved, about 2-3 minutes. Remove from heat and allow to cool. Makes 2 cups.

My Teriyaki Sauce
My teriyaki sauce has a more complex flavor but is very easy to make.
1 cup of fresh minced pineapple or pineapple juice
1 cup of Tamari soy sauce*
1/2 teaspoon dark sesame oil
3 tablespoons brown sugar
2 tablespoons fresh ginger, peeled and minced
2 teaspoons garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon of rice wine vinegar
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1 tablespoon cold water

In a blender, combine all ingredients except cornstarch and water. Blend until combined. In small bowl, mix cornstarch and cold water. With fork, break apart all the cornstarch clumps until liquid is smooth (cornstarch slurry).Transfer teriyaki liquid to sauce pan. Heat up on medium high heat until hot and bubbly. Remove sauce pan from heat and immediately stir in cornstarch water mixture. Stir rapidly until sauce thickens. Allow to cool. Makes about 3 cups of teriyaki sauce. *Note: Although soy sauce and tamari [tuh-MAHR-ee] are both made from fermented soybeans, Japanese tamari is thicker, darker, richer, and less salty than its counterpart. It has a more complex, smooth flavor than regular soy sauce.

Baked Teriyaki Chicken Thighs
6 boneless, skinless chicken thighs

Teriyaki Sauce Ingredients:
1 tablespoon corn starch
1 tablespoon cold water
1/2 teaspoon sesame oil
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup Tamari sauce or soy sauce
1/4 cup of rice wine vinegar or cider vinegar
2 cloves fresh garlic, minced
2 tablespoons fresh ginger, peeled and minced
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper

In a small saucepan mix cornstarch and cold water. With a fork, break apart all of the cornstarch clumps until liquid is smooth. Add the rest of the teriyaki sauce ingredients. Let simmer over medium-high heat, stirring frequently, until sauce thickens and bubbles.

Preheat oven to 425˚F.

Placed chicken thighs in a lightly greased 9 x 13 inch baking dish. Brush chicken with the hot sauce. Turn pieces over and brush again.

Bake in the preheated oven for 25 minutes. Turn pieces over and bake for another 25 minutes, until no longer pink and juices run clear. Brush with sauce every 15 minutes during cooking until it is gone. Serve with white rice and a side salad. Makes 3 to 6 servings.

Skillet Chicken Teriyaki
8 chicken thighs
canola oil for frying
1/3 cup sake for steaming

Teriyaki Sauce Marinade
2 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons water
1 tablespoon sake (Japanese rice wine)
1 tablespoon mirin (Japanese sweet white wine)
1 tablespoon sugar
1/4 onion, grated, including juice
1 inch ginger, grated, including juice

Combine teriyaki sauce marinade ingredients in a bowl or Ziploc bag. Add chicken thighs and marinate for 2-3 hours in the refrigerator. Remove chicken from marinade, saving the marinade. Heat 3 or 4 tablespoons of canola oil in a large skillet on medium high. When hot, place the chicken pieces in skillet and cook until nicely browned on both sides. Now add the sake and cook covered for 8-10 minutes. Remove cover and cook about 2- 3 minutes. Then turn chicken over and add the reserved teriyaki marinade over the chicken. Cook until the sauce is reduced a bit, spooning sauce over chicken as it reduces. Serve the chicken with the sauce and rice and snow peas. Makes 4 servings.

Teriyaki Chicken Sushi Balls
1 1/2 cups short grain rice, cooked
2 pieces boneless chicken thighs
basic teriyaki sauce (recipe below)
2 nori sheets
3 tablespoons rice vinegar
3/4 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon salt
2 cups panko bread crumbs
1 egg lightly beaten
canola oil for deep frying

Teriyaki Sauce:
1/4 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 clove garlic
1 piece fresh ginger crushed

Prepare teriyaki sauce by combining all ingredients. Set 1/3 of the sauce aside for later use. Use remaining sauce to marinade chicken overnight. Prepare rice seasoning by combining rice vinegar, sugar and salt in a small bowl, mix and set aside. Prepare and cook sushi rice, when cooked, season with seasoning liquid. Mix and fluff rice, cover with dish towel and set aside to cool. Cook chicken on the grill or broil in oven for 10-12 minutes or until fully cooked. Cut nori (seaweed) sheets into 3"x3" squares.

Place about 1 tablespoon of teriyaki chicken onto nori squares, moist the edges and fold. Take some seasoned sushi rice and form a round ball around the piece of nori-wrapped chicken. Heat up oil in a deep pan or wok to 370˚F. Roll sushi balls into the lightly beaten egg then into panko bread crumbs. Gently drop the sushi balls into hot oil and fry for about 20 seconds or until its golden in color. Makes 8 to 10 sushi balls.

Sweet Potato Fries with Teriyaki Mayonnaise
3 large sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/4" thick French fry sticks
canola oil for frying
1/2 cup teriyaki sauce, store bought or make your own (see post "Talking Teriyaki") 
1/2 cup mayonnaise

Peel sweet potatoes, cut into French fry sticks. Fry in oil until crispy. Drain on paper towels and sprinkle with a little salt. Mix 1/2 cup Teriyaki Sauce with 1/2 cup mayonnaise for a dipping sauce. Makes 6 servings.
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