Teriyaki Chicken Don

Teriyaki Chicken Don

Donburi, or Japanese rice bowl dishes are common menu items in many Japanese restaurants. These consist of a bowl of plain rice served with various toppings in a sweet or savoury sauce. Common toppings include meats such as beef, chicken, pork or fish.

One of my favourite donburi dishes is Teriyaki Chicken Don, which as the name suggests, is a serving of teriyaki chicken served on rice. Unfortunately, most restaurants don’t include vegetables with the dish, and the teriyaki sauce used tends to be MSG-laden.

My solution? Cook it at home!

Cooking Japanese food can be a time-consuming and laborious process, but donburi is actually very quick and easy to prepare at home. Making teriyaki sauce from scratch is not difficult, and I find the homemade sauce to be more subtle in flavour compared to a ready-made one.

Here I’ve used a teriyaki sauce recipe from Japanese Cooking by Emi Kazuko. The ingredients (Japanese soy sauce, sake, mirin) can be easily found in most Asian grocery stores. However I recommend buying genuine cooking sake and mirin instead of the watered-down imitations. If in doubt, check the alcohol content and buy the version with a higher alcohol percentage.

Add lots of steamed vegetables, and voilà! A well-balanced Japanese meal full of taste and flavour.

Teriyaki Chicken Don

2 servings, as a main

1 cup Japanese short-grain rice (sometimes sold as sushi rice)
2 chicken breasts, diced
1 small head broccoli, cut into florets
2 tbsp (30 ml) cooking oil
2 tsp (10 ml) sugar
shredded nori (seaweed sheets), for garnishing, optional

For the teriyaki sauce:
3 tbsp (45 ml) shoyu (Japanese soy sauce)
3 tbsp (45 ml) sake
3 tbsp (45 ml) mirin
1 tbsp (15 ml) sugar

Make the teriyaki sauce by mixing the sauce ingredients together and heating in a saucepan over low heat until the sugar is dissolved. Set aside and leave to cool.

Wash and cook the rice with 1 cup (250 ml) of water.

When the rice is cooked, leave it to stand, covered. Steam the broccoli and set aside, uncovered. (If left covered the remaining steam will overcook the vegetables).

Heat the cooking oil in a frying pan over medium heat and lightly fry the chicken meat. When the colour of the meat changes, add the teriyaki sauce and sugar. Cook for another 3-5 minutes until the meat is cooked. As the sugar dissolves, the teriyaki sauce will reduce into a glaze. If the sauce is reduced before the meat is done, lower the heat, add 1-2 tbsp of water to the pan and continue cooking. When done, remove from heat.

Scoop the warm rice into individual bowls, then top with the steamed broccoli and teriyaki chicken. Drizzle any remaining sauce over the bowls and garnish with the nori, if desired.

Serve hot.

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3 Comments

  1. hilla
    Posted January 13, 2011 at 1:33 PM | Permalink

    there is a huge misconception behind MSG. There is nothing wrong with it. It all started with one scientist that felt ill after eating Chinese take out. Other than that, there is no research saying that it is bad. MSG is bad from some sort of sea kelp, and that’s it :\

    You mentioned MSG in some other recipes, but I thought that you should know that there is nothing wrong with MSG.

  2. Gilbert
    Posted January 16, 2011 at 10:38 PM | Permalink

    Hello hilla, thanks for taking the time to comment.

    I’m not a health professional, but personally I’m of the opinion that MSG (like any artifically-produced food additive) is best minimised or avoided altogether.

    I’m also fully aware that my favourite instant noodles are MSG-laden. MSG does have side effects that affects individuals differently – I get very thirsty after eating food with MSG and the thirst lasts for hours even with a lot of water. I’ve also had people tell me they have severe allergic reactions to MSG.

    If you have a browse around holistic health websites, you’ll find some interesting arguments for and against MSG.

    Now if only I can wean myself off those tom yum instant noodles…

  3. Andrew
    Posted May 10, 2011 at 12:24 PM | Permalink

    Hey, thanks for this recipe, I’ve never made my own teriyaki sauce to go with my teriyaki-don. I like the instructions with cooking the meat too, I appreciate the detail. BTW it is probably the salt making you you thirsty when you eat high MSG foods as they are very high in sodium too, and your body needs water to reach equilibrium after eating lots of salt. I always get thirsty after high sodium foods myself at least. So it might not be the MSG. And for the instant noodles, I pour out half the sauce then pour a teeny bit of water in and it greatly reduces the salt, that might help you.