A teriyaki chicken poke bowl is a thing of joy – and the perfect quarantine meal.
First, what’s poke bowl … is it Japanese or Hawaiian?
Poke is a regional American-based cuisine from Hawaii, heavily influenced by Japanese cuisine.The word “poke” means “to slice or cut” in Hawaiian. In the original version, poke bowls feature chunks of raw, marinated fish scattered over rice. It is usually served with vegetables and umami-packed sauces.
But as the dish became popular, other nations have added their own spins to it. In poke bowl restaurants throughout KL, you’ll find all kinds of adaptations. There are poke bowls that feature teriyaki chicken, pulled beef and vegetarian versions that use tempeh or tofu as protein.
I never thought I would make this at home though. But in this post-Covid pandemic world, I’ve experimented with all kinds of recipes. When I finally attempted this teriyaki chicken poke bowl, I was bowled over by just how comforting, delicious and EASY it was to make.
With succulent chicken thigh pieces glazed in a sweet, sticky, savoury marinade, this is one damn good teriyaki chicken poke bowl.
… even though it’s not 100% authentic.
Before you clobber me, consider the fact that teriyaki (照り焼き) is actually the name of a cooking method, not the name of a sauce. The method entails pan-frying or pan-grilling fish or meat in a sauce until it thickens and starts to glaze the protein. One of the most popular sauces used in the teriyaki method is that sweet, savoury, sticky glaze we’ve come to associate with this style of cooking.
Ok. Maybe I shouldn’t even call my version “teriyaki chicken”, but I guarantee you it is legit delicious. Why?
This recipe marries the best parts of a classic Chinese soya sauce chicken recipe with Japanese teriyaki cooking techniques
This is how I do it.
1. Teriyaki sauce. There’s no one standard teriyaki sauce recipe. I repurposed a delicious Chinese soy sauce chicken recipe given by a dear friend, adjusted the ratio slightly and added vinegar to brighten up the sauce. This sauce is thicker than the typical teriyaki sauce, but trust me, it is goooood!!! Possibly even better if you like thick, caramelly, sticky sauces!
2. The best thing about this recipe? There’s no need to marinate the chicken as the soy sauce and sugar-based sauce is so intense. Cut chicken into biggish chunks. Do not dice too small as the chicken will get overcooked and lose its juiciness. Then toss the chicken pieces in some cornflour, just enough to cover outside. The cornstarch helps the chicken brown easily outside, stay juicy inside, and thicken the sauce as you’re stir-frying.
3. Now comes the cooking part. Heat up a little oil and when the pan is hot, add your chicken pieces and sear them until they start to brown on both sides. Then add in the teriyaki sauce and then let it bubble until the sauce thickens. While frying, spoon the teriyaki sauce over the chicken occasionally so that the chicken absorbs as much of the delicious glaze as possible.
Poke bowls are so versatile that you can literally put in whatever you want, as long as the ingredients are complimentary in flavours and textures. I used:
1. Ramen egg – to me, nothing says Japanese like ramen egg, so I made one, and then rolled it around in the teriyaki sauce so that it’s coated with all that precious goodness!
2. Avocado – the creamy texture of avocado binds everything together
3. Greens – any green vegetables will do. Have you tried roasting bok choy? If you haven’t, you totally should!
4. Pickles – you can use store-bought. Me, I make my own pickles by marinating julienned vegetables in a mix of vinegar, salt and sugar.
5. Rice – ideally, you should be using Japanese rice but I don’t have any, so I cheated by making a vinegary rice. When my normal rice had just finished cooking, I poured a Kewpie soy sauce dressing over the rice. This ain’t sushi rice but it went well with all the other toppings.
6. Nuts – they add a welcome crunchy texture. Try The Nuts for Life‘s Sweet Hungarian Paprika Mixed Nuts!
Teriyaki Chicken Poke Bowl
- non-stick pan, rice cooker
- 100g boneless skinless chicken thigh
- 1 tbs cornflour
- 1 large egg at room temperature
- Cooking oil
- 1 ripe avocado
- Handful almonds
- Spring onions
Sauce for chicken and egg
- 2 tbs light soy sauce
- 1 tbs dark soy sauce
- 1 tbs sugar (See Recipe Notes 1)
- 1 tsp vinegar
- 1/8 cup finely shredded cabbage
- 1/8 cup finely shredded carrots
- Rice Vinegar
- Raw rice for 2 pax
- Kewpie's sesame soy sauce dressing https://shopee.com.my/Kewpie-Dressing-Sesame-Soy-Sauce-1000ml-Halal-i.35567318.2180795975
- Prep your pickles first. Mix carrots, cabbage, vinegar, salt and sugar together and chill in fridge for several hours.
- Cook rice as you normally do. Once it's finished cooking and still warm, mix the rice with Kewpie's sesame soy sauce dressing. This is purely a cheat and not authentic sushi rice ok!!
- Combine sauce ingredients in a small pot. Then boil over low heat until sugar/lakanto dissolves. Adjust for seasoning.
- Heat up a pot of water and boil your egg for 7.5 minutes. Remove egg and place into cold water/ice bath to stop cooking. Remove shell. The easiest way to do this is to do it INSIDE the ice bath.
- Cut chicken into at least 1 in x 1in, or even 1in x 1.5 chunks. Do not cut dice small as the chicken will get overcooked and lose its juiciness. If you have one whole chicken chop, cut it into 6-8 pieces. Toss the chicken pieces in some cornflour, not a thick crust but just enough to cover the chicken piece. The cornstarch helps the chicken brown easily on the outside and stay juicy inside, plus it helps thicken the stir-fry sauce. Heat up a tbs of oil in non-stick frying pan. When pan is hot, add chicken and let sear for several minutes. Cover with a lid as the oil will splatter. After 2-3 minutes, open lid to check. If the bottom has started to brown, it's time to flip chicken pieces and cook the other side.Add the sauce. Move chicken pieces so they get coated with the sauce. Remove chicken pieces from heat once cooked.
- Wait, we're not done with the sauce yet! That's liquid gold. Remember the egg we just cooked? Now just transfer the egg to the sauce and using your spatula, toss it around so that the egg is glazed with the sauce as well. Slice egg in half - one half for each serving.
- Assemble everything. Start by spooning your rice into a big bowl, then arrange the chicken, egg, pickles, almonds and avocados in a ring. Lastly, scatter the furikake and spring onions on top, and enjoy!
- You can replace sugar with Lakanto 1 to 1.