“Mommy,” my six-year-old leaned her head on my shoulder, “Thanks for making this for dinner.” Music to this mothers ears. This super simple teriyaki is a new favorite of mine because it is so easy and fast to do, but it is also our new family favorite because it is sooooo good! I think that this recipe is very similar to teriyaki we have gotten at favorite Japanese restaurants!
Granted, we still love my family’s version of teriyaki with the sour notes, and the ginger and garlic too. But one day I was in a hurry and decided to try the method a local Asian chef had told me about that used just soy sauce and brown sugar for teriyaki. I used coconut sugar (and have since then tried it with a variety of unrefined sweeteners) and it was amazing! You would think that it would be too plain with just two ingredients, but what I realized was that soy sauce is a complex ingredient. Just using sweetened soy sauce allowed that complexity to shine through in a new way. Our other family recipe covers up the complexity a little with all of the “add-ins”. Plus, this recipe actually uses less sugar because it doesn’t have the vinegar, which make you add more sugar to balance out the acidity of the sauce.
Just make sure you use an organic brand of soy sauce that is traditionally made (I give some information here and linked to another favorite brand below as well)
There have been few dishes that I have made so often in such a short amount of time, but this one has been such a clear winner in my household that I have made it numerous times each week (seriously).
Now you can use these proportions to marinate drumsticks or wings (like my other recipe), and that is delicious too. But since I have already walked you through that process, I thought it would be nice to give instructions for cooking flattened chicken thighs for a very fast and easy method. My kids love this!
I am listing this recipe under my “$10 main” category as it is also quite frugal. I recently found out that both Costco and Whole Food’s sell organic chicken thighs for $4 dollars a pound, which makes this dish not very expensive to make.
Cost Per Item:
Chicken: $4-6 dollars
Organic Tamari: $1.70 (as per ounce when bought from, Vitacost.com)
Organic Coconut Palm Sugar or other sweetener: $.25-1.00
Fat for pan: Approx. $.66
Total:$6.61 to $9.61
- 1 to 1 ½ pounds chicken thighs (or breast), trimmed of excess fat
- ¼ cup coconut sugar, unrefined cane sugar, or sweetener of choice
- ½ cup soy sauce or tamari (use tamari for gluten-free option)
- Heat safe fat for cooking (coconut oil, ghee, tallow, etc.)
- Place a chicken thigh/breast in a gallon freezer bag (I use freezer bags as they hold up better to the pounding process), wrap in plastic wrap, or place between two sheet of wax papper.
- Using a meat mallet, pound the thigh/breast lightly, but firmly with the flat side. Start at the middle and work your way to the edges. I like to flatten mine to about ¼ inch. Flatten all of the chicken thighs/breasts. Place the chicken in the freezer bag or in a pan, and pour over the soy sauce and sugar of choice. Make sure that the marinade is evenly covering the chicken and place in the refrigerator. Marinate for 20 minutes (for a light taste) to 2 hours (for a stronger flavor).
- In a cast iron pan,heat enough fat of choice to coat the bottom of the pan, over medium heat until a drop of water sizzles when dropped in the pan.Add chicken (you may have to do this in batches if you have a small pan). Cook until the first side is starting to get a nice browned color, and then flip. Brown the other side. It should cook quickly (5-8 minutes total) since you pounded it thin.
- Once there is no pink in the thickest part of the chicken when cut, remove and let sit for about 5 minutes. Slice thinly and serve. (If not serving right away or if you are cooking it in batches, don’t cut the chicken right away, but place in a serving bowl and cover with foil to help it keep warm).