I call this my Irresist-A-Bowl!! Don’t you agree?
Take a closer look… Tender juicy chicken glistening with savory, salty, sweet and umami rich teriyaki sauce, smothered to perfection. Alongside this are bright, crunchy colorful veggies dressed in a nutty sesame oil dressing, kinda like Asian coleslaw. All this on a bed of hot rice… and yes, how can we forget that creamy avocado? All this sprinkled with sesame nuttiness.
Yes! Teriyaki… you make me happy!!
Does your wish list for a meal look anything like this?
- I want something quick and easy, but tasty, for busy nights.
- I want to pack something for my kids, something nutritious and kid-pleasing.
- I want to meal prep for a week.
- I am craving for mall food or takeout.
- I want something foreign and exotic, yet something very familiar and comforting.
These chicken teriyaki bowls are the answer to all your wishes. Everybody loves teriyaki flavor, it’s probably the most beloved Japanese food outside Japan.
Making a quick Bowl meal is one way to pack a lot of nutrition with the protein, carbs and veggies in one dish. A complete meal! Be it a hot rice bowl or noodle bowl or even salad bowl… In Japan, rice bowls are called Donburi, also abbreviated to just “don”. They could have fish, meat or vegetables cooked and served over rice in oversized bowls.
Teriyaki Chicken donburi ranks pretty high on the popularity chart in Udon restaurants. And why not? The flavors coming from all the seasonings that go in Teriyaki sauce is just too endearing, addictive and comforting.
Food trends come and go but savory, easy to make meals in bowls are here to stay. So I say Donburi, be happy… 🙂
What is Teriyaki?
Teriyaki is not just the name of the sauce, but a cooking method. Teri means “to shine or luster ” + Yaki means “to broil or grill”. This Japanese cooking technique is to pan fry or grill meats or fish and then cook them in the sauce, brushing the glaze until it glistens.
Traditional Teriyaki sauce is a mix of soy sauce, sake and mirin, the latter two being kinds of rice wines with sugar. Mirin has lower alcohol content and more sugar to give the sauce that lovely glaze. This sauce evolved into many versions as it left Japan. Places like Korea or Hawaii started using what they like or found in abundance like garlic, ginger, honey and even crushed pineapple or pineapple juice.
In absence of mirin and sake, rice vinegar or even regular white vinegar works perfectly fine and still gives you a delicious cracker teriyaki.
Here is what you want for this teriyaki bowl
- Chicken – Please use boneless skinless thighs, as they get more tender and juicy than breasts after smothering in sauce.
- Rice – We are using short grain for this bowl, but you can use any of your favorite. We can see jasmine rice working here too.
- Avocado – Looks and tastes great with chicken.
- Cooking oil
For the Teriyaki Sauce
- Soy sauce – Umami bomb.
- Rice vinegar – In its absence, use regular white vinegar. If you happen to have sake or mirin in your pantry, you can use them instead.
- Sesame oil – This makes a real difference.
- Brown sugar – To create that glaze.
- Aromatics – Ginger + garlic + red chili flakes. Not traditional, but makes for some great tasting sauce.
- Cornstarch – To thicken the sauce.
For Asian inspired coleslaw
- Red cabbage
- Green Onion
- Dressing – Apple cider vinegar + sugar + sesame oil + salt + pepper + toasted sesame seeds.
Now the easy part. Yes, this gorgeous bowl is easy!
Let’s start by making the star of the dish, Teriyaki sauce.
Finely chop ginger and garlic and combine with the rest of the teriyaki sauce ingredients, except cornstarch. In a small sauce pan, bring the mixture to a low boil, stirring continuously until the sugar is dissolved. Once boiling, lower the heat and simmer for 5 minutes.
Mix the cornstarch with a little water and add this to the sauce to thicken it… see it happily bubbling away. When its viscosity starts looking like duck sauce or Thai sweet chili sauce, it’s ready. Remove from heat and let cool.
Now cooking the chicken in teriyaki sauce part…
Ideally, your chicken will have a lot of happy flavors if it marinates in teriyaki sauce for a few hours. But saying that, on some busy days you can go straight to cooking, as it will be smothered in sauce as it cooks. We are using well trimmed skinless boneless thighs for our bowl. They are just great in this, trust me. We let them marinate in a quarter of the sauce for a couple of hours.
When time to cook, simply heat up some oil in a skillet over medium high heat. Place the chicken thighs in the skillet and give them a quick sear, about 3-4 minutes, smear them with a few spoonfuls of teriyaki sauce and flip. After a couple of minutes, pour in the rest of the sauce and let the chicken cook uncovered in the sauce.
Patiently spoon the sauce over the meat and repeat until the chicken absorbs some sauce and starts to shine, flipping it a few times. Simmer till the chicken is cooked through, then remove to a plate and set aside. So simple, but the end result is juicy, tender chicken bursting with amazing teriyaki flavors. When ready to assemble your bowl, cut your chicken into strips.
While your chicken is cooking, you can cook the rice according to the instructions on the package. We often have leftover rice in our fridge and to make this bowl even quicker just reheat some in the microwave. Some days you can have this over noodles or go the cauliflower rice route.
Coming to the colorful part, the Asian coleslaw part!
Quickly toast the sesame seeds in an ungreased pan over medium heat for a minute or so, just till they get a little more color to them. Then mix them in with the rest of the dressing ingredients. Taste and adjust for salt and pepper. It’s a great dressing combining acidity, sweetness and sesame nuttiness. So good on some crunchy veggies.
Cut the veggies into thin matchsticks and mix them with the above dressing. You can make it ahead and refrigerate it while making the rest of the bowl.
Cut your Avocado whichever way you like it.
Well, there you go. All components of your bowl are ready. All of the above steps are pretty quick and easy!
Assemble the bowl by first placing a layer of rice on the bottom. Then, atop the rice, add your cut chicken, coleslaw and avocado. Sprinkle a good amount of white and/or black sesame seeds for garnish and just admire your work for a second… 🙂
Aren’t they Irresist-A-bowl?? Seriously!
Dig in, savour that familiar teriyaki flavor along with crunchy veggies and creamy avocado.
Some more ideas to swap for the above combo in this bowl
- Steamed, sauteed or baked broccoli goes great with this bowl.
- Edamame, snow peas, and green beans will look and taste awesome too.
- Try different meats, like beef or shrimp.
- A slice of grilled pineapple or some pineapple chunks goes so well with teriyaki flavor… ala Hawaiian style teriyaki chicken.
- Some cherry tomatoes or colored peppers will add even more color.
How to store Teriyaki Chicken
This is a great meal prep option. You can cook a huge batch of chicken and refrigerate it in airtight single portion containers along with rice and slaw for all your weekday lunches. You will want to quickly add fresh avocado each day, as leftovers tend to oxidize. Or just store a big batch of chicken in a single air tight container for up to 3-4 days in the fridge. You can also freeze your teriyaki chicken for a couple of months. Place leftover chicken in a ziploc bag and seal, making sure to remove as much air as possible for best quality.
Pin or bookmark this bowl and give it a try with your very own homemade teriyaki sauce. Store bought teriyaki just tastes like soy sauce.
While you’re here, check out my collection of the best Asian Recipes. Give these amazing flavors of my chicken teriyaki bowl, aka chicken teriyaki don, a try… Donburi, Be happy!!
Japanese Teriyaki Chicken Bowl, on my Gypsy Plate… enjoy!
- 4-5 boneless skinless chicken thighs
- 1 cup short grain rice (see note 1)
- 1 avocado
- 2 Tbsp cooking oil
For Teriyaki Sauce
- 1/2 cup soy sauce
- 2 Tbsp rice vinegar or white vinegar
- 1/4 cup brown sugar
- 1 Tbsp honey
- 1 Tbsp sesame oil
- 1 Tbsp garlic, finely chopped
- 1 Tbsp ginger, finely chopped
- 1/2 tsp red chili flakes (optional)
- 2 tsp cornstarch
- 1/4 cup water
For Asian Coleslaw
- 1 carrot or 8-10 baby carrots, cut into thin match sticks
- 1 small cucumber, thin match sticks
- 2 cups red cabbage, julienne
- 2-3 sprigs cilantro
- 2 green onion
- 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
- 1.5 Tbsp sugar
- 1 Tbsp sesame oil
- 1.5 Tbsp sesame seeds
- Kosher salt, to taste
- Pepper, to taste
- Mix all the ingredients for teriyaki sauce in a bowl and transfer to a sauce pan. Cook over medium heat and bring it to simmer, stirring continuously. Once its starts boiling, lower the heat and simmer for 5 minutes. Mix the cornstarch and water and slowly add this slurry to the sauce, stirring constantly, to thicken it. Remove from heat and let it cool.
- Marinate the chicken with a quarter of the sauce, cover and marinate in refrigerator if time allows.
- Cook the rice according to the instruction on the package.
- For coleslaw, chop cilantro and green onions and mix in with the rest of the cut veggies.
- Toast the sesame seeds for one to two minutes in an ungreased pan over medium low heat. Mix them and the other dressing ingredients in a bowl. Pour dressing over coleslaw and mix well. Store in the refrigerator till ready to assemble the bowl.
- Heat oil in a skillet over medium high heat and add chicken. Sear the chicken 3-4 minutes, spoon some sauce onto the chicken and flip. Cook a couple more minutes. Then pour the remaining teriyaki sauce over the chicken. Simmer until chicken is cooked through, flipping a few times and spooning sauce onto the chicken every now and then. Add a little water if the sauce is getting dried out. Once chicken is shiny and glistening, remove to a plate, let cool and slice it into strips.
- Slice the avocados
- Assemble the bowl with rice at the bottom Atop the rice, place your chicken with generous amounts of coleslaw and avocado. Garnish it with a sprinkle of white and/or black sesame seeds.
- For a keto friendly bowl, use cauliflower rice.
- Refrigerate leftover chicken in airtight container for 3-4 days. Leftover chicken can also be frozen in a ziploc bag for up to two months,
- This bowl is very versatile! Try different veggies or meats.
- Watching your salt intake? Replace regular soy sauce with low sodium soy sauce or tamari sauce.
Nutrition InformationYield 4 Serving Size 1
Amount Per Serving Calories 655Total Fat 34gSaturated Fat 6gTrans Fat 0gUnsaturated Fat 27gCholesterol 171mgSodium 2205mgCarbohydrates 51gFiber 8gSugar 26gProtein 41g
Nutrition information calculated by Nutritionix.
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