Saying this with little bit of shame….my family LOVES teriyaki chicken. Okay, I love teriyaki chicken. What do I not love? Waking up the following morning not being able to wear a ring or button my pants because I’m retaining water like the sinking Titanic. The amount of sodium in a dish of teriyaki chicken…well…I don’t even want to know. It starts off okay, with grilled chicken, usually thighs. The sauce is thick, sweet, rich and salty. But oh so delicious. I set out to create my own version of chicken teriyaki we could make at home and eating it would be adding to our health, not be a dish that would be detrimental to our health.
The chicken is healthy enough. I still used chicken thighs because they stay moist, I just cut off the extra fat. You can definitely use chicken breasts, I would just be very careful not to overcook it. If I were to use breasts I would remove the strips from the pan before adding my sauce ingredients, let that thicken up, then return the meat to the pan for just a few minutes to heat back up before serving.
The sauce needed to be sweet, but not have refined sugar. I started off with canned crushed pineapple, for convenience sake. I used an organic variety, canned in it’s own juice. You can definitely use fresh pineapple and process it in the food processor if you have it on hand and the time to do so. 3 Tb of Tamari adds the salty factor. I choose Tamari over regular soy sauce because you can use less, it is an intense flavor. It also contains little or no wheat, which makes it Paleo friendly if you follow that diet. Gluten free varieties also exist. It is the least processed form of soy sauce. 2 Tb of raw honey added the additional sweetness the sauce needed. A bit of sesame oil added great sesame flavor. Some garlic and ginger and I had a delicious, sweet, thick sauce that coated the chicken perfectly. It has all of the yummy umami, savory factors also, but not nearly as much sodium as the traditional chicken teriyaki. I hope you give it a try!
Some optional steps: To make this into a smooth sauce, simply puree the sauce ingredients in a blender to immusify. You can boil the sauce down to reduce in a pan if you wanted to use it as a dipping sauce, or to top the chicken if you would rather grill it. A sprinkling of sesame seeds is great! I served with steamed wild and brown rice for my family, for myself with some baby bok choy I seared in a pan with a little bit of sesame oil. The extra pineapple mixture left in the pan is delicious spooned over your rice or vegetables! If you like it spicy you can add some crushed red pepper flakes for heat, or a drizzle of Siracha sauce.
“Healthified” Chicken Teriyaki
2 tsp healthy oil/fat of your choice
1 lb boneless, skinless chicken thighs, cut into strips
1 cup crushed pineapple, with it’s juice
3 Tb Tamari soy sauce
2 Tb raw honey
2 Tb sesame oil
1 inch fresh ginger, grated
4 cloves garlic, minced
Heat a large skillet or wok over high heat. When hot, add the oil, swirl around the pan. Add your chicken in an even layer and let it get very brown. Turn each piece over and brown on the other side, making sure each side of the chicken is nice and seared. Whisk together the remaining ingredients, pour over the chicken. Keep the heat on high and boil the sauce down until it is thickened, about 3-4 minutes. That is it! Quick and easy! Enjoy!
Watch the video on You Tube: http://youtu.be/Zk1Wy3lZa6I or on this page!