Saturday, 24 May 2014

Teriyaki Chicken

Simple, quick and tasty - with an authentic Teriyaki marinade made from only three ingredients

There's really very little to this - the beauty of it lies in the simplicity of the ingredients. You can use breast meat for the lighter option, or chicken thighs for flavour and succulence - or if you want to make a vegetarian version you could use quorn chicken-style fillets or firm tofu and press it for half an hour before marinating then cooking (or go here for Teriyaki Salmon cooking instructions).

This is delicious served with my sesame-miso asparagus or green beans (59 calories per serving) and some quick and easy cucumber-radish pickles (14 calories per serving) accompanied by some rice (or cauliflower rice if you're avoiding carbs) and you can knock all of these dishes up in under half an hour if you're canny about it (I'll post a method for cooking the whole meal as a separate blog).

This serves two people, at 231 calories per person for chicken breast (or 292 calories made with thigh meat).

[Calories in square brackets, if you're counting]

  • 2 skinless, boneless chicken fillets, around 120g each, or 240g chicken mini-fillets/tenders [264]
  • (or use 240g skinless, boneless thighs for 386 calories)
  • 2 tbsp mirin (check ingredients for gluten free as brands vary) [78]
  • 2 tbsp soy sauce (preferably Japanese, e.g. Kikkoman - use tamari for gluten free) [24]
  • 2 tsp sugar (golden caster - or you could substitute honey ) [32]
  • 1 tsp neutral flavour oil, or a dozen sprays of pure oil from a pump spray (e.g. sunflower, or to suit your diet) [45]
  • 1 tsp sesame seeds [19]

(If you want to mix it up a bit, you could also add grated ginger, garlic and chilli to the marinade and include sliced spring onions as an aditional garnish - see notes below)

If using chicken breasts, cut each breast lengthwise into about 3 strips, around an inch wide (do the same if using chicken thighs) so that they cook evenly (if using tofu, cut horizontally into two steaks).

Put mirin, soy and sugar (or honey) in a non-metallic dish which will snugly contain the chicken (or you could use a sandwich bag), stir to dissolve sugar and put the chicken meat into marinade, ensuring evenly covered.

Set aside while you prepare any other side dishes you're going to have with it, 20 to 30 minutes is great if you can - if it marinades a little longer, then even better.

Toast the sesame seeds in a good, non-stick dry pan (that you can later use for cooking the chicken) until starting to turn golden brown, and remove immediately and set aside. 

Remove the chicken from the marinade, shaking off any excess and patting dry. Add 2 tbsp water to the marinade and set aside.

Add the oil to the pan, and put over a medium heat. Swirl the oil around until the pan is hot and evenly coated, then add the chicken to the pan. Cook until you can see that they are cooked almost halfway through on the thickest part (where the flesh becomes opaque/white - this should only take a couple of minutes, but be careful not to burn them) and they are starting to caramelise a little, and then turn them over and leave for a minute or so.

Add the reserved marinade to the pan, and continue cooking, shaking occasionally until the chicken is cooked through, then remove it and put on your serving dishes.

Turn the heat up to high, until your marinade is bubbling, and reduce until thickened somewhat, swirling in the pan (this won't take long, but be careful it doesn't burn around the edges of your pan, or it will taste bitter) then pour over your chicken (or tofu), top with a sprinkling of the toasted sesame seeds, and enjoy!

If you want to change the flavour profile a little, and stray from tradition, you could add some grated ginger (an inch or so) and a clove of crushed garlic to the marinade, maybe even some sliced or finely chopped red chilli, and top with some finely sliced spring onions (scallions) when serving.

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