I was not able to eat chicken teriyaki for 3-4 years, until recently. Prior to The Incident, I loooooved teriyaki chicken (either ordered as spicy, or just dolled up with lots of sriracha sauce on my own). Being from the Seattle area, there is no shortage of teriyaki. There is a teriyaki joint on every corner (right next to Starbucks, of course). It was one of the many things that fascinated my husband every time he visited the northwest, and now living here. I don’t think there’s a single teriyaki restaurant in upstate New York (they serve it, at other Asian restaurants, but I don’t think there are any restaurants specifically for it).
So, you may be curious as to what The Incident is. Well. When I was living in a Seattle neighbourhood several years ago, I had been on a no fast food program (and by program, I mean I just gave up fast food) for a few years, and there was one night that I was famished, I didn’t have time or want to cook upon arriving home, everything was closed, etc. and it was about 9:30pm. Only thing open? Fast food. I passed a teriyaki restaurant by my apartment that was miraculously still open, so I stopped in. It was empty, and appeared to be almost closing, but I ordered up, took my food home, went to my room, opened the carton and took a bite of…chewy, nasty chicken. Also, while at the restaurant, I heard the guy in the back room, and I heard the CHOP CHOP CHOP of the chicken and it just reminded me of some horror movie, or decapitating a live chicken, or God knows what. I spit out the food in my mouth, dumped the entire container in the trash, and proceeded to not eat teriyaki for over 3 years. Yes, I’m a little crazy.
In any case, the other month I had spicy chicken teriyaki and it was absolutely divine. So I think the curse is broken! Though I don’t think I’ll ever go back to the place mentioned above. And this entire, semi-gross story leads me into the topic of this post, which was slow cooker teriyaki chicken by Gimme Some Oven!
It is quick, it relatively simple, and does not use sugar! Granted, it uses honey, which is very high in calories (but a “healthier” option than straight sugar). It was pretty sweet, I gotta admit. I doused mine up with sriracha sauce, of course, but my husband could only eat one bowlful of the sauce (which I guess is good, cuz of proper portions!). But it definitely had the distinct taste of restaurant teriyaki sauce (minus the chicken actually being seared on a hot grill or stove).
I do have to add that this is one of those “high maintenance” crock pot recipes, which kind of irritates me, because the purpose of using a crock pot is to be LOW maintenance – but some people have crock pots with timers, which I’m sure would come in handy, or if you are home during the day or have a spouse, friend, or child that can pop in and turn it on halfway through the day, then it’ll be ready when you walk in the door after a hard day’s work!
Slow Cooker Teriyaki Chicken
-2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
-1 clove garlic, minced
-1/4cu chopped white onion
-1/4cu low sodium soy sauce
-1/8cu rice wine vinegar
-1/2tbsp chopped fresh ginger
-ground pepper, to taste
-1/8cu cold water
(optional toppings: sliced scallions and toasted sesame seeds)
-Put chicken breasts in a single layer on the bottom of your crock pot.
-In a separate bowl, whisk together the garlic, onion, honey, soy sauce, rice wine vinegar, ginger, and black pepper until combined. Pour the mixture on top of the chicken breasts. Cover and cook on high for 4-5 hours, or until the chicken is cooked through and shreds easily with a fork. Remove the chicken (minus sauce) to a separate bowl and shred it using two forks. Transfer the remaining teriyaki sauce from the slow cooker to a medium saucepan.
-Meanwhile in a separate bowl, whisk together the cold water and cornstarch until the cornstarch is dissolved and not lumpy. Pour the cornstarch slurry into the teriyaki sauce mixture, and whisk to combine. Bring the mixture to a boil over medium-high heat, reduce heat, then let it continue to boil for about 1-2 minutes or until thickened. Remove from heat, and pour the sauce on top of the shredded chicken. Toss to combine.
-Serve topped with scallions and toasted sesame seeds if desired.