Friday, February 9, 2007

Zen and the Art of Chicken Teriyaki – A Kitchen Koan

When I first got to San Francisco, having come from a very small town in Western New York, it was like arriving on another planet. I was fascinated by the amazing variety of foods and cultures, and began exploring them all. Growing up, my family and I had made the occasional trip to the local Americanized Chinese restaurant which was always an exotic treat, but now I was getting the real stuff; Thai, Chinese, Korean, Vietnamese, Japanese, I couldn’t get enough! At the same time I also became interested in the eastern religious philosophies, Buddhism, Zen, etc., which for a former alter boy was quite the experience. This was also when I learned about the Zen “koan.”

For those of you not familiar, a koan is basically a question, riddle, or story that has no obvious answer. It is used by Zen masters to teach or enlighten their students. Most of you have heard the most famous koan, “Two hands clap and there is a sound; but what is the sound of one hand?” What a great idea… teach students by making them even more confused! Well, since I’m doing Teriyaki today I decided to have a little fun at the end of the demo with a koan or two of my own.

A viewer to our site, Connie, had asked for a teriyaki recipe. So I did some research. I had enjoyed teriyaki many times, but always at Japanese restaurants. If I had made it at home, I probably just bought a bottle of teriyaki sauce and brushed it on some chicken. So, today’s clip is the true authentic version (which, of course, there are several sources giving different versions of what the “original” recipe is). I’m very glad I did it, but I’m not sure why. By the way, the term teriyaki comes from of two Japanese words "teri" and "yaki." Teri refers to the shine or luster of the glazed sauce, and yaki means to broil or grill the meat. Prepare to be enlightened… you’ve been warned.

10 Boneless-Skinless Chicken Thighs
1 Cup Sake
1 Cup Soy Sauce
1/2 Cup Mirin
1/4 Cup Brown Sugar

2 tsp finely grated ginger or paste
1/4 Cup Chopped Green Onion


Blood Red Roses said...

I was wondering how the chicken was going to get dark and glazy. It looked very good! I've attempted to make teriyaki from those bottled marinades - not even close.

I grew up in Japan and the USO on base used to have teriyaki chicken with rice, but it was cubes or strips of it prepared General Tso's style. Do you know what I mean? It might have been breaded. As a kid, I really enjoyed the full flavor of having teriyaki chicken this way, and I doubt that I wish ever taste or see Teriyaki done that way.

Your way looks like the best version I've seen since!

Anonymous said...

I liked the video and the recipe. I use chicken breast though. And halve the recipe.

Unknown said...

i love your cooking and am a die hard fan of the website and subscriber of the YouTube channel. Thanks for the recipe and great Koan commentary! :)

cookinmom said...

Hi Chef,
You may already know this but the ginger is not listed in the ingredience on this one... By the way, made your gingerbread cake, awesome!!!!

Unknown said...

Amazing Teriyaki!

Okay so I found several recipes out there but decided to do yours because I have never complained about any of your recipes. Btw made the chicken for Bible study and they loved it...

God bless you chef!

Sarah said...

I made a salmon and shrimps with this sauce a year ago and my family is still talking about it. So Im making it again today. Truly amazing taste :-)

Unknown said...

Do you have a recipe for "yum yum" sauce? The pink sauce at Japanese restaurants used for seafood and shrimp? I have been trying to find a good one but can't seem to get it right.