Once a week, I meet up with some friends (other parents from my children’s school) for a morning coffee at a little local pub/cafe. It can often be quite an eclectic group, comprising of Japanese, Swedish, American, Ni-Vanuatu and of course a few Australians added to the mix. Spending time amongst this small but diverse array of nationalities, I most love the fact that there’s often such interesting and varied perspectives as we sit and chat about all manner of things. It reaffirms for me that we can learn so much from each other and that in doing so, the world somehow doesn’t feel quite so vast anymore.
With that said… my Japanese friend, who comes along to sip coffee each week, is the reason for this post. She is as passionate about cooking and food as I am and over the years that I’ve known her, she has imparted not only much knowledge about life in Japan, but also (to my delight and great interest) knowledge about Japanese food. A week ago, she ever so kindly brought me a gift of some small purple-skinned Japanese sweet potatoes to try. I baked them in the oven as instructed and was amazed at how different in flavour they were from any sweet potato I’d tasted before. Much sweeter than what I was used to, but with my penchant for sweet things, they were savoured and devoured without a hint of hesitation. I’ll be looking out for them in future…
The following recipe, inspired by this lovely lady, has been readily welcomed into our home. It’s simple to prepare, beautifully aromatic in the kitchen and so full of flavour.
Watashi no yūjin arigatō! xx
Chicken Teriyaki with Udon Noodles | Gather and Graze
- 125ml/½ cup (Salt-Reduced) Soy Sauce
- 125ml/½ cup Mirin
- 125ml/½ cup Sake
- 1 Tablespoon Raw Sugar
- 2 Cloves of Garlic (cut into chunks)
- 1 Piece of Fresh Ginger (thumb-size)
- 6 Free-Range Chicken Thigh-Fillets (cut in half)
- 1 Tablespoon Vegetable Oil
- 300g Udon Noodles
- Your choice of: Broccoli, Asian Greens, Snow Peas or Green Beans
In a small saucepan, combine the soy sauce, mirin, sake, raw sugar, garlic and ginger. Place the pan over medium to high heat and bring to a boil, stirring occasionally to ensure the sugar has dissolved. Once bubbling, reduce the heat and allow to simmer for about 10-15 minutes or until slightly syrupy. Be sure to taste as you go, to ensure a sauce well balanced in flavour. Remove the pan from the heat and allow to cool to room temperature. Strain the sauce to remove the chunks of garlic and ginger.
In a glass or ceramic bowl, marinate the chicken thigh fillets with the cooled Teriyaki sauce, cover and refrigerate for several hours (if time permits).
I prefer to bring all meat to room temperature before I cook it, so approximately one hour before I plan to start cooking I’ll remove the chicken from the refrigerator. Please feel free to make your own decision regarding this step.
Bring a large saucepan of water to the boil for the noodles. Depending on the noodles, these will usually take about 10 minutes to cook. Use your own judgement (after reading the next two steps) as to when you should put the noodles in to cook.
Heat the oil in a large frying pan over medium heat and gently fry the chicken pieces (being sure to reserve the marinade). Feel free to brush a little more of the marinade onto the chicken pieces as they cook. Once done, remove the chicken from the pan to rest somewhere warm for a few minutes while you finish off the sauce.
Pour the remaining sauce that the chicken was marinating in, into the frypan and bring to a boil, allowing it to simmer and reduce for about 5 minutes. I like to add the broccoli (or other green veggies) in with the sauce while it simmers – though please feel free to steam or boil them separately to your liking and serve on the side or toss through with the noodles and chicken at the last minute.
To serve, slice the chicken into bite-sized pieces and combine with the noodles, extra sauce and vegetables in a large serving bowl.
- I initially tried using normal soy sauce in this recipe and it was way too salty. Very strongly recommend that you purchase a salt-reduced soy sauce.
- The Sake I use is neither the cheapest or the most expensive on the shelf. Perhaps have a chat with your local Japanese or Korean grocer as to their recommendations…
- Great also served with rice, instead of the noodles.
- Works beautifully with beef, salmon/other fish or even mixed vegetables.