baked oats green chile chicken enchiladas chow mein bakery-style butter cookies

copyright jennifer yu © 2004-2023 all rights reserved: no photos or content may be reproduced without prior written consent

nothing funky about this chicken

Recipe: chicken teriyaki bowl

YES! TWO FEET of snow graced our mountains by storm’s end (we averaged 16 inches around our house). Jeremy and I were patient, letting the snow settle for 24 hours before diving into it. Our assessment over two days of backcountry skiing is that the bottom of the snowpack was a wet spring base, but the upper 12 inches of fresh snow was good and wintry. Even Kaweah enjoys feeling the snow underfoot when she does her rounds in the yard. We’re all snow lovers in this house.

jeremy breaking trail into 2 feet of fresh

winding up into the high country

beautiful, untouched snow

plus a little sunshine and bluebird

jeremy ripping skins as a squall approaches

Our temperatures are on the upswing now. Piles of snow that adorned our yard Wednesday morning were gone by the close of business. That’s fast melt. The good news is that the high country keeps getting more snow as guerilla snow storms pop up on the Continental Divide. I know people want the roads to campgrounds, access to trailheads, and trails cleared of snow. Me? I go with the flow. As long as there is good snow, I can ski it and it keeps most of the crowds away. And when it all melts out? We hit the trails running, fast packing, backpacking, mountain biking, or hiking. I love the mountains year-round, every single day.

a glorious sunset

Some of my friends look at me with suspicion. Why is it that I prefer schlepping gear up a steep trail to sleep on the ground (with the bears) and not shower for days on end as opposed to staying in some posh hotel and partaking of fine dining and other luxuries? I find if I don’t go outside and get my heart pumping on a regular basis, I get into a funk. This was especially clear to me during my chemo on days when I didn’t have the strength to sit up in bed. If I don’t stay in nice places and eat fine food, I don’t really miss it. And besides, we are not deprived of fine food. We make damn fine food in the House of Butter. Let’s work some chicken magic.

chicken teriyaki: dark soy sauce, soy sauce, mirin, water, sake, honey, brown sugar, chicken thighs

I have a prejudice against many fast foods. It’s not that I haven’t had my share. Sometimes when you’re road tripping through the sticks on a photo shoot, the only options are the lonely burger outposts or the ubiquitous KenTacoHuts. But more and more I’ve come to realize that a homemade version of a burrito or fried chicken or burger can not only be far healthier (you know what ingredients you put in your food), but way way tastier. Walk past any mall food court and you’ll probably encounter a place that serves some sort of teriyaki rice bowl. I have no idea what those taste like, but all of the parts add up in my brain to something good. How hard could it be to make it yourself?

pouring mirin into a ziploc with soy sauce and dark brown sugar

adding water

drop some chicken thighs in

marinate for up to 24 hours

Turns out that chicken teriyaki is ridiculously easy to make, which means a teriyaki rice bowl is only slightly less ridiculously easy to make. I’m using chicken thighs because I prefer dark meat to white meat. You can use chicken breasts if that suits your fancy. Marc‘s recipe uses skin-on boneless thighs, but skinless is all I could find. If you’re short on time, you can marinate the chicken on your counter for an hour. I chucked mine into the refrigerator overnight. Whenever you’re ready to grill the chicken, prepare the teriyaki sauce.

dark soy sauce

adding honey to the dark soy sauce, mirin, and sake

boil on medium until the sauce turns glossy and thickens

Did I ever mention how many varieties of soy sauce I have in my refrigerator? Dark soy sauce, thick soy sauce, light soy sauce, regular soy sauce, tamari – I’m sure I’m forgetting a few. There’s actually a difference between dark soy sauce and regular soy sauce. Dark soy sauce is more viscous and more intense in flavor. You should be able to find it in most Asian grocery stores. Once the sauce is ready, you can grill the chicken. You’ll need the sauce to glaze the chicken for the last half of grilling.

baste the chicken with the glaze

all shiny and done

You can put whatever you like on your teriyaki bowl. I steamed Japanese short grain white rice and sautéed some snow peas in vegetable oil with garlic and a little salt. A sprinkle of furikake (Japanese dry condiment for rice) over the rice adds a nice bit of additional flavor. Cut the chicken into bite-size pieces and set them atop the rice along with some vegetables. Use the remaining sauce to drizzle over the chicken.

some garlic and snow peas to stir-fry

slice the chicken

finish with the sauce

See how simple it is to make? Nice clean and fresh flavors for lunch or dinner. And it isn’t swimming in that gloppy fake sauce full of thickening agents and blegh. You can make all of the components in advance. Just assemble as needed and heat up your own chicken teriyaki rice bowl. These also pack well for lunch (Jeremy gets really jazzed about certain lunches he takes to the office).

garnish with green onions and sesame seeds

some life skills can be so tasty

Chicken Teriyaki Bowl
[print recipe]
based on the chicken teriyaki from No Recipes

1/2 cup water
2 tbsps soy sauce
2 tbsps dark brown sugar
2 tbsps mirin

4-6 skin-on (or skinless) boneless chicken thighs
8 cups steamed rice
4-6 cups sautéed vegetable (spinach, zucchini, snow peas, or broccoli)
furikake (optional)

2 tbsps honey or maltose
2 tbsps dark soy sauce (it’s much thicker than regular soy sauce)
2 tbsps mirin
2 tbsps sake

Place the brine ingredients in a ziploc bag. Add the chicken thighs. Push the air out of the bag and seal it. Marinate the chicken for at least an hour or up to 24 hours in the refrigerator. Before grilling the chicken, prepare steamed rice (I like to use short grain white rice) and sauté a green vegetable of your choice (I used snow peas and a couple cloves of crushed garlic). In a small saucepan, combine all of the sauce ingredients over medium heat and stir until glossy and slightly thickened (this takes about 4-5 minutes). Scrub the grates of your grill clean and turn it to high heat. Using tongs and a paper towel with some vegetable oil on it, grease the grates. Place the chicken thighs skin-side down (if skinless, then the smooth-side down) on the grill. Close the lid and cook for about 5 minutes or until brown and the thighs release from the grates. Flip the chicken pieces and baste with the sauce. Continue to grill until the chicken just starts to char (another 5-6 minutes on my grill). Remove from heat and cut the chicken into bite-size pieces. Fill a medium bowl half full of steamed rice. Sprinkle some furikake on top (optional). Set one thigh’s worth of slices on top of the rice. Add a cup of sautéed vegetables. Drizzle some of the teriyaki sauce over the chicken. Garnish with green onions. Serves 4-6.

more goodness from the use real butter archives

teriyaki pork chops teriyaki salmon collar or fillet asian chicken sandwich chinese tea-smoked chicken

14 nibbles at “nothing funky about this chicken”

  1. William @News4Foodies says:

    I am SO glad you mentioned that soy sauce comes in a variety of flavors. Until a few years ago, I wasn’t even really aware that this was a thing. Since then, I’ve been on a constant mission to convert my friends to trying out the good stuff instead of the standard Kikkoman or whatever you can pick up at the grocery store.

    Do you have a particular favorite? Something I could recommend to people that really shows how dramatic the difference can be?

    Beautiful pictures too, by the way!

  2. Kristin says:

    And another great looking & sounding dish to try!

  3. M. says:

    Yes! The teriyaki rice bowl is one of our dinner workhorses! We get this Korean rice/grain blend that cooks up to almost purple from H-mart, use whatever veggies happen to be around, and some protein. Chicken, tofu, a soft egg, flank steak… it’s so versatile and easy. Plus, leftovers = great lunches. I usually keep the protein and veggies pretty neutral, using the sauce and occasionally sriracha for all the flavor, but I’ll certainly try this little marinade sometime. Thanks for the idea!

  4. Lisa says:

    With a little planning ahead, one can make a good dinner that is so easy and tasty. This dish can provide all the vitamins and minerals that good for you. It’s good for weekday meal and great for a summer weekend backyard B-B-Q gathering.

  5. Pey-Lih says:

    Thank you! I will cook this recipe tomorrow!

  6. Dani H says:


  7. jill says:

    OK, what’s ripping skins? I had a horrible visual after reading that in a previous post…and now I see it doesn’t look painful…but what does it mean?

    The teriyaki bowl looks heavenly fresh and delicious. nom nom

  8. Claire says:

    I’m with Jill, what does ripping skins mean? Seriously, you’re an amazing person, writer, cook, etc. The list goes on. You should have your own food show, photography gallery, etc.

  9. Sophie says:

    Haha I love your comment “We make damn fine food in the House of Butter”! Indeed you do! Sometimes if we go out to a restaurant and walk away feeling underwhelmed, I get so grumpy that we spent the $$$ because we could have made it better at home!

    Jen you styled this bowl so artistically! Love your photographs of it and the simplicity. We’ve got a restaurant nearby that puts all these things into a wrap with pickled ginger sprinkled throughout. I know, carbs wrapped in carbs? But it’s crazy good!

  10. Sara says:

    I just recently discovered your blog, and I want to make everything. Also, I’m happy to read and see all about Colorado. I had a chance to move there a few years ago, but opted to go overseas instead. It’s still on my list of places to live, as I found it lovely and really healthy lifestyle choices to be made.

  11. Jasmine says:

    Hi Jen,
    What sort of container do you use to pack Jeremy’s lunch for work? I guess he has to heat up the food in the microwave before eating? I’m trying to find an all-glass container with glass-lids that are no-spill, easy to transport and microwavable.


  12. Anne says:

    That looks so good! I wish I could eat it from the screen. :) Your pictures are so beautiful!

  13. jenyu says:

    William – I don’t actually have brand favorites because I’ve only recently (in the past 10 years) come to learn about the different soy sauces. I think thick and dark soy sauces are a good place to start compared to standard soy sauce.

    jill – well, when you backcountry ski, you need to be able to climb up the snow. Regular skis will slide backwards because they have smooth waxed bottoms. So you can get climbing skins that stick to the bottoms of your skis. One side is sticky adhesive and the other is mohair, nylon fake hair (like short short fur), or a combination of the two. It grips the snow and allows you to climb up with your skis on. When you get to the top, you pull the skins off the skis and it sounds like ripping because of the glue :)

    Claire – see my reply to jill above :)

    Sophie – yes, I absolutely have the same thing with dining out. I can’t stand when I’m disappointed with an expensive meal and could have done better at home ;)

    Sara – I hope you get a chance to visit Colorado and even move here. It is a most magical place (and not everyone has to live in the mountains… there are warm places too!)

    Jasmine – I pack his lunches in tupperware. In his office he has a microwave and a set of porcelain dishes. I have instructed him to NEVER EVER heat his food in the plastic containers :) He washes the dishes in the communal kitchen area.

  14. jill says:

    So cool, thanks for the explanation, Jen!

leave a reply