Teriyaki Chicken Sushi Bowl
Japan is so high on my travel bucket list. I think it might only be surpassed by the Philippines but that just because I can’t wait to go diving again,…maybe I could combine the two one day? ANYWAY I adore Japanese food. I hadn’t really tried it before I met my boyfriend about a year ago (he’s been to Japan and I’m so jealous!) as I was so sure it was just all about slimy fish, chewy seaweed and aniseed rice snacks I was given on long-haul flights as a child. But after a trip to the local sushi restaurant my taste buds were well and truly proven wrong! Sushi is diverse, salty-sweet with light, clean flavours, nori is the perfect snacky side or accompaniment, crisp and flavoursome when toasted and well, the aniseed is still something I need to get my head around! I still haven’t attempted actually rolling sushi with nori sheets for fear of having half land on the floor and help down my top, plus I can’t really find fresh enough fish in Southampton especially with my little gap-student budget. But this rice bowl is still simple and light yet filling, incorporating all my favourite flavours and textures of a more expensive sushi take-out dinner.
Adapt this recipe according to your own personal taste. I like chicken here but grilled salmon fillets are also amazing with the same teriyaki glaze, make it veggie with glazed tofu or mushrooms and extra shavings of all your favourite vegetables such as carrot, cucumber or courgette, shaved off with a vegetable peeler and dressed with mirin, sesame oil and seeds. Adding edamame beans will up the protein level, as will extra avocado…enjoy!
For the Chicken Teriyaki:
4 chicken thighs
30 ml soy sauce
30 ml mirin
1 heaped tsp honey
1 teaspoon lazy ginger paste
1 tsp garlic paste (or 1 large clove garlic, minced)
For the Sushi Rice:
200g sushi rice
100ml rice vinegar
1 level tbsp honey
1 tsp salt
For the Spinach:
4 handfuls of fresh spinach
1 tsp lazy garlic paste
1 tbsp stir fry or sesame oil
1 tbsp sesame seeds
1 avocado (I didn’t have this but it goes so well!)
2 spring onions, long slices
First off, lets prepare the chicken. Remove any bones and skin and place in a bowl. Add the other ingredients then squish it all around, making sure everything is covered and marinading, then leave covered in the fridge for as long as possible.
Right about 40 minutes before serving move onto the tricky sushi rice. I make sure to rinse the rice thoroughly, 3-4 times in a fine sieve as it’s so starchy. I then let it soak in cold water for a few minutes and wash out the starchy water left behind. I repeat that step until the water remains quite clear then drain a final time. All sushi rice brands are different but this seems to be pretty crucial. Cook according to packet instructions, then let it sit for a few minutes before transferring to a bowl. Meanwhile, in a small pan simmer the rice vinegar, salt and sugar until dissolved then pour over the cooked rice and leave aside.
Next take out a nice heavy frying pan. Heat on high but don’t add any oil. Throw in the sesame seeds and toast for a minute, releasing all those oils and smells then remove when browned. Add a dash of oil then throw in the spinach, a tsp of garlic and a little black pepper. Wilt and saute for about 2 minutes and remove from the heat and transfer to a bowl.
At this point I come back to the chicken. I flattened out the thighs to make sure they were of uniform thickness to cook evenly. Y0u can grill them, in which case grill for about 12 minutes depending on thickness. However, my grill is terrible so I preheated the same heavy based frying pan and seared them on a high heat for 2 minutes on each side to caramelize then fried for another 5 minutes to cook them through over a lower flame. Either way check on them often to make sure they are turning a dark sticky brown colour rather than black as burning the sugar of the marinade too much will be bitter.
Sushi bowls assemble! Be as pretty as you like. Generally the rice forms the first layer, followed by spinach (which warms again over the rice) then slices of hot chicken, surrounded by any toppings, from avocado to sushi ginger then top with a sprinkle of sesame and sliced spring onion…or you can throw in all in and eat it all together 🙂 Either way, serve alongside some light soy and maybe some nice miso soup.