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In the realm of cookery there are things completely not worth the effort of making them at home from scratch. Pad Thai sauce for instance - you’ll be frowned upon for using ketchup, you’ll never get it just right and if you do, it will be that time you didn’t make a note of quantities. Apparently even highly ranked Thai restaurants don’t make their own but buy - equally highly ranked - ready paste.
Puff pastry is another instance. I fight hard enough with butter crawling out from between the layers of yeast dough for my Danish and croissants to be put off for life from making my own puff. And ditto - chefs swear by good all-butter brands. True, they might be paid to swear by those brands, but what you can buy is good enough for me.
Cooking with fresh tomatoes in the middle of winter, miles to the north of the Mediterranean? You must be joking. They tinned the ripest ones in Italy back in August so I didn’t have to watch my red fruit dissolving into gallons of pinkish water now.
I’m obviously not even glancing into the direction of ketchup, shrimp paste or redcurrant jelly - I have more common sense than ambition (though apparently ricotta can be a home success); and teriyaki sauce appears to belong with those things. Well there’s a surprise for you, as it was for me.
Worth. Every. Minute.
Goodbye, Kikkoman. Farewell, Blue Dragon. I won’t see you now unless for soy sauce.
teriyaki chickenServings: 2Time: 40 minutes plus marinating chicken
- For the teriyaki:
- 100g caster sugar
- 2 tsp brown sugar
- a little freshly ground black pepper (tip of a teaspoon)
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 3 garlic cloves, pressed
- 1 tbsp. freshly grated ginger root
- 1 tbsp. pineapple or apple juice
- 120ml dark soy sauce
- 2 tbsp. corn flour
- For the chicken:
- 1 large or 2 smaller chicken breasts
- 3 spring onions, roughly chopped
- cooked rice, to serve
1. Place all the teriyaki ingredients apart from the corn flour in a small saucepan. Bring to the boil, turn the heat down and simmer for about 3 minutes until the sugar has dissolved. Let it cool completely and sieve to a clean bowl.
2. If you want to just make the sauce and store it in the fridge for a future occasion bring it back to the boil at this point. Mix the corn flour with a little water, pour into the sauce and cook, stirring, until it thickens. Add a little water if it’s thicker than it needs to coat the back of a spoon. When cold, decant it into a jar or a plastic tub, seal tightly and keep in the fridge for up to 2 weeks.
3. To make the teriyaki chicken, put the chicken fillet into the cold teriyaki before it’s had the corn flour added in. Weigh it down with a small plate or cup so it’s submerged and refrigerate overnight.
4. Remove the chicken and set aside. Pour the mixture into a small saucepan, bring to a boil and reduce to a simmer. Mix the corn flour with a little water, pour into the sauce and cook, stirring, until it thickens. Add a little water if it’s thicker than it needs to coat the back of a spoon.
5. Preheat the oven to 200C/400F/gas 6. Brush the chicken with the sauce and roast for 20 minutes. Let it rest for 5 minutes. In the meantime bring the sauce back to the boil and check that it’s pouring consistency, adding a little water if necessary.
6. To serve, slice the chicken breast across the grain not too thinly, arrange on plates on top of rice, sprinkle with spring onions and drizzle with sauce.