Chicken Teriyaki

This recipe was inspired by a Korean husband and wife who operated a small restaurant in Sun Valley, CA that I would frequent back in the 1990’s. They made the best chicken teriyaki that I have ever tasted. It was addictive! I always wanted to know how they did it, but I suppose it was a secret family recipe.

Recently, while cooking at home about 20 years later, I ran across a dish with some ingredients that had a very faint, but similar resemblance to that old recipe. It got my taste buds (and my imagination) going so I set out to nail down this recipe and get it right.

There are two parts to this recipe – one, the marinade, and two, the meat. The marinade is key, but the meat has to be just right, also. As it turns out, you have to use chicken wings or drumettes and you have to skin them and debone them to get the right flavor and texture. Skinless breast meat or skinned and deboned thighs are not good enough, but if that’s all you have, it will be so so but not great. When you debone the wings or drumettes and remove the skin, you are left with small pieces of meat that have the exact flavor and texture that you want – trust me.

Chicken Teriyaki Ingredients:

  • 12 oz to 1 lb meat from deboned and skinned chicken wings or drumettes* (approx 1.5-1.75 lbs before deboning)


  • 2 tbsp toasted sesame oil
  • 2 tbsp organic soy sauce (made from organic, non-GMO soy)
  • 2 tbsp palm sugar (or substitute with brown sugar)
  • 2 tsp pineapple juice
  • 2 tsp brown rice vinegar
  • 1/2 tsp Thai roasted red chili paste
  • 1/4 tsp fresh ginger, shredded or minced

Cook a batch of Calrose or sushi rice to be ready when the chicken teriyaki is cooked. Brands of rice: Shirakiku (Calrose), Botan (Calrose) or Kokuho Rose (sushi rice).

Combine marinade ingredients in a bowl and mix thoroughly. Debone and skin the drumettes and then add to the bowl so all the chicken is covered with marinade. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate. Allow to marinate for at least 30 minutes and no more than 4 hours.

After marinating, place about 6 oz (single serving) of marinated meat in a wok or shallow frying pan over medium high heat. Include a proportional amount of the marinade. Stir and turn over with cooking tongs. Chicken will be done when marinade is beginning to caramelize but still a little juicy. Serve immediately over bed of cooked white rice. Use soy sauce as a condiment.

*Alternately, if substituting for wings or drumettes, use deboned thighs or skinless breasts and cut into bite sized pieces. Deboned and skinned wings or drumettes have the best flavor and texture.

Below are the ingredients for making chicken teriyaki – starting top left in the back row: palm sugar, soy sauce, brown rice vinegar, toasted sesame oil, pineapple juice, Thai roasted red chili paste, chicken drumettes and fresh ginger.

Add all the marinade ingredients to a bowl and mix thoroughly. I just use a grater for the fresh ginger and grate it directly into the bowl. Just use a small amount. It is very pungent.

This recipe makes about 1/2 cup of marinade and is good for about 1 lb of meat. If you want to make a separate batch of marinade and store it in a jar, then use between 1/4 to 1/2 cup of marinade per lb. of skinned and deboned chicken.

First, peel off the skin from the drumettes.

Next, debone the drumettes. If you are skinning and deboning wings, you do it in reverse – debone them first, then skin them.

Note: Check out the Youtube video at the end of the page on how to debone chicken wings.

Add the skinned and deboned meat to the bowl with the marinade. Cover with plastic and place in regrigerator. Marinate between 30 minutes to 4 hours.

After marinating, place a serving sized portion of marinated meat along with a proportional amount of the marinade in a frying pan or wok. Heat over a medium high flame, Turn frequently with tongs.

The chicken should be done when the marinade begins to caramelized and while still a little juicy. Just make sure there are no raw red parts in the meat. Chicken is one of those things you have to cook adequately. It should still be tender, though. Don’t overcook to the point where it is hard.

Have a fresh batch of Calrose or sushi rice ready. Place a serving of rice in a bowl. Shown below is a rice cooker.

Serve the freshly cooked chicken teriyaki over a bed of rice. Use a little bit of soy sauce as a condiment.


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