Autumn has finally arrived in the San Francisco Bay Area! After the past few weeks of screaming hot weather with temperatures over 100°F, we now have cool breezes and even the possibility of a few showers. I may be able to pull my sweaters out of storage. Hallelujah!
The Artist has been busy taking lots of art classes and enjoying every minute. He loves being involved in the art community, meeting new people, and making beautiful new creations. He recently visited the Asian Art Museum of San Francisco and came home talking all about the incredible pieces he had seen.
Hearing about the beautiful art made me want to create my own visually stimulating creation in the kitchen. So today’s recipe is a new one for me, and a mighty fine one if I may say so 😉 Full of healthy ingredients and just enough unhealthy ones to make you smack your lips, I hope you like it as much as we did.
Teriyaki sauce is one of my favorites and I often order it when we eat in Japanese restaurants. Have you ever made your own from scratch? It is incredibly good and very easy to do. For today’s version I added extra citrus including some orange zest to boost the flavor. It added a lovely nuance that really enhanced the dish.
The good thing about homemade teriyaki is that you can make it ahead and store it for up to a month in the refrigerator. If your kids love chicken nuggets, instead of stopping at the fast food restaurant, grab some panko or Choice Batter®, coat your boneless, skinless chicken cubes or fingers, and fry them until crispy and browned. Give each child a little bowl of your homemade teriyaki sauce along with some of the freshly cooked chicken nuggets. It is always fun to eat dinner with your fingers, especially when you have a delicious sauce to dip it in!
While I love finding new ways to prepare chicken, this dish would be equally good with beef, pork, turkey, sausage, or seafood, particularly shrimp. Buy the best quality you can afford, preferably humanely raised. We must support the ranchers and farmers who work hard to bring us the healthiest ingredients!
If you want a vegetarian meal, leave out the chicken and add more vegetables. You want a wide variety for interest and health, all cut into bite-sized pieces. You might consider adding mushrooms, cauliflower, broccoli, snow peas, bok choy, celery, carrots, bean sprouts, zucchini, etc. Any combination will work, just remember not to use too much of any single ingredient, you are looking for a nice balance.
While serving this over white rice is traditional, consider making brown rice to go with it. It is healthier for us and has a lovely chewy texture. Another idea (if you are not gluten-intolerant or celiac) would be farro or bulgur. Those would both be really interesting and are quite filling. If you are on a budget and trying to feed a hungry family, you could use less chicken and more grains and vegetables. Everyone will still be happy and your wallet will contain a few more dollars to spend on something else!
If you want to make this meal on a weeknight, I would make the sauce a day or two ahead (leave it on the back of the stove while you’re cooking). Then you will have it ready to put this meal together quickly.
Have a wonderful week everyone – enjoy the beautiful Autumn weather!!
Note that most prepared teriyaki sauces are made with regular soy sauce and are not gluten-free. Making you own is not only safer, but infinitely more delicious.
Make sure you are using gluten-free soy sauce or Tamari. Double-check all of your dry seasonings, including the dry mustard, with the manufacturers before using. Penzey’s (penzeys.com) is one of my favorites. Nearly all of their products are gluten-free. They are very high quality, you can buy in bulk saving money, and they are clearly marked with all ingredients.
If in doubt, you can always grind your own in a small food processor or coffee grinder. Store them in small glass jars with tight lids and label each.
Kitchen Skill: Blanching Vegetables
You want to blanch vegetables when serving a crudite platter or when you want to control the amount of cooking each type of vegetable needs. It helps in Asian cooking to have vegetables that need longer cooking times partially pre-cooked so they will finish at the same time as everything else when you are stir-frying.
Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Set a large bowl with water and ice next to the stove. Using a strainer or wire spider, add vegetables to the water and cook just until brightly colored. Scoop them out and immediately immerse in the ice water to stop the cooking process. Transfer to a paper towel-lined baking sheet to drain.
If you are blanching multiple types of vegetables, start with the white or lightest colored ones first, progressing through and ending with the darkest green ones at the end. This way none of your ingredients will be stained by colored water.
- 1/2 tsp kosher salt
- 1/4 tsp ground black pepper
- 1/2 tsp ground ginger
- 1/4 tsp ground coriander
- 1/2 tsp ground paprika
- 1/4 tsp garlic powder
- 1/2 tsp onion powder
- 1 tsp cornstarch
- 1-1/2 to 2 lb boneless chicken breasts or thighs
- 2 tbsp organic olive oil, divided
- 1/2 medium onion, coarsely chopped
- 1/2 medium red bell pepper, seeded and coarsely chopped
- 1 cup chopped asparagus, broccoli, snow peas, or bok choy
- Orange Teriyaki Sauce
- 1 cup gluten-free Tamari or soy sauce
- 1/3 cup unsweetened pineapple juice
- Zest from 1/2 orange
- 1/2 cup freshly squeezed orange juice
- 1/2 to 2/3 cup firmly packed brown sugar
- 1/3 cup granulated sugar
- 2 tbsp bourbon, dark rum, or dry vermouth, optional
- 3-inch piece of fresh ginger, peeled and thinly sliced
- 3 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed
- For Serving
- Steamed white or brown rice, kept warm
- Sliced chives or scallions, for garnish
- White sesame seeds, for garnish
- Make Dry Rub: In a small bowl, combine the dry rub seasonings. Whisk until evenly blended.
- Marinate Chicken: Rinse and pat dry with paper towels. Slice into 1/2-inch thick strips and place in a resealable plastic bag. Sprinkle dry rub evenly over chicken pieces to coat. Seal bag with and toss to thoroughly coat each piece, massaging it as needed. Refrigerate chicken for 30 minutes or up to overnight.
- Prepare Teriyaki Sauce: While chicken is marinating, make sauce. Combine the soy sauce, pineapple juice, zest, orange juice and sugar in a medium saucepan over low heat. Stir until sugar is completely dissolved, about 2 minutes. Add the bourbon (if using), ginger, garlic, and mustard, whisking until smooth. Taste and add more sugar if you want a sweeter sauce. Raise heat to medium and bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low and simmer for 30 to 45 minutes or until reduced and fairly thick, stirring often.
- Strain out the ginger and garlic; discard. Keep sauce warm until needed. Leftover sauce will keep in the refrigerator in a tightly sealed container for up to 1 month.
- Cook Chicken: Heat 1 tbsp olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. When hot, carefully add chicken, half at a time, and cook until lightly browned on all sides. Using a slotted spoon or tongs, transfer chicken to a plate and reserve. Repeat with remaining chicken and when browned, add to the previously cooked chicken.
- In the same pan, add another tbsp of oil and sauté onions and peppers until softened, about 3 minutes. Add the asparagus and cook 1 minute, stirring often. Add the chicken back to the pan, along with any accumulated juices and cook another minute. Add about 1/4 cup of the Orange Teriyaki Sauce to the pan, tossing everything together. Cook, stirring constantly, until everything is coated evenly, the chicken is cooked through, and the vegetables are crispy tender.
- Fill warmed serving bowls half full with prepared rice. Top with some of the chicken mixture and garnish with chives and sesame seeds. Serve immediately, passing additional teriyaki sauce at the table.
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