Teriyaki is a Japanese method of cooking involving food broiled/grilled (yaki) in a sweet soya sauce (tare). In Japan, fish such as salmon, mackerel or cod are often cooked this way.
Teriyaki chicken is a favourite bento food item. It's saltiness lends itself to being eaten with plain rice, and it tastes great cold, too. One problem I find with preparing food for bento in advance is the re-heating before the bento is packed. The additional heating tends to overcook small bento-sized chicken pieces, especially for breast meat. So with that in mind, I tried to find a way of preparing this dish so the meat stays as juicy as possible, even with the re-heating.
I use chicken thighs, as breast meat tends to cook too quickly and dry out. Of course you can use breast meat if you like.
300g boneless chicken thighs (skin on or off)If you are eating the teriyaki chicken straight away, or are packing it directly into your bento:
4 Tbsp soya sauce
3 Tbsp mirin
3 Tbsp sake
2 Tbsp sugar
light olive oil/other cooking oil
- Trim the fat off the chicken thighs and poke holes into the thighs with a fork. This allows the marinade to enter the meat more quickly.
- Mix the remaining ingredients together in a bowl, and add the raw chicken thighs. Marinade for a short while (5 mins is fine) as you are getting everything else ready.
- Coat the base of a large frying pan with a little oil, and heat the pan on medium heat.
- Lift up the chicken pieces and try to drain off as much marinade as you can, before adding the chicken to the hot pan.
- Fry the chicken on both sides until just cooked (around 2 - 3 minutes).
- Remove the chicken and set it aside.
- Turn up the heat to medium high, and pour the marinade into the pan. Boil until the marinade bubbles and thickens.
- Slice the chicken into smaller pieces, add back into the marinade and mix to glaze and coat the chicken (on low heat).
- Serve immediately, or cool down and pack into your bento.
Version 1 (This takes slightly less time, but the chicken may be a little more cooked)
- Follow steps 1 to 7 (above).
- Then pour the marinade into a small bowl. Cover the marinade and plate of chicken (uncut) with plastic wrap and keep it in the fridge.
- The next morning, heat up the piece of chicken in a small frying pan. Remove and cut into smaller pieces. Heat up the marinade in the pan, turn the heat off, and stir in the chicken pieces. Cool a little, then pack into your bento.
Version 2 (Takes a little longer, but is the best way to keep the chicken juicy)
- The night before, prepare the teriyaki sauce by mixing the soya sauce, mirin, sake and sugar together. Heat up a frying pan and boil the sauce until it thickens.
- Pour into a small bowl, cover and refrigerate.
- The next morning, poke holes into the raw chicken with a fork, then cut up the raw chicken meat into smaller pieces.
- Add a little of the marinade into the frying pan, and fry the chicken until cooked. Set aside.
- Heat up the remaining marinade in the pan until bubbling, add the chicken pieces and mix.
- Cool a little before packing into your bento.
Tip: You can also use the teriyaki sauce to coat meatballs and grill/panfry cod or salmon fillets.