Wednesday, 28 August 2013

Japanese Chicken with Nori & Sesame Rice

A few hundred years ago saw the manufacture of soy sauce develop from something that would happen in people’s households to an utterly commercial industry. To increase production, and naturally increase profit, the thick, whole soybean mixture was replaced with a mixture of half wheat and half soybean. The liquid which resulted from fermentation of this became known as Shoyu, the common type of soy sauce still used today.

Tamari is a type of Japanese soy sauce that is made without wheat and is therefore suitable for those with wheat allergies (the name presumably comes from the fact that Aspergillus tamari is the species of funghi used in its fermentation) . It is also made with more soybeans than ordinary soy sauce, resulting in a smoother, more balanced, and complex flavor: its dark colour and soft rich aroma & flavour make it useful in marinades and dressings but if you can’t find it just substitute dark soy sauce.

I’ve previously talked about Nanami Togarashi here, and as well as the nori it is optional: do try and get your hands on black sesame seeds for the rice though as they make it look great and bring a lovely nuttiness to it. This is a prepare-ahead recipe as I marinate the chicken overnight. If you can’t do this, do try and give the marinade at least a couple of hours.

This recipe is adapted from one here.

Japanese Chicken with Nori & Seasame Rice

serves 2

For the chicken
1 tbsp tamari soy sauce
juice of 1 lemon
½ tbsp mirin
1 tsp freshly grated ginger
1 ½ tsp brown sugar
1 garlic clove, peeled and minced
4 free-range chicken thighs, excess fat trimmed, each cut into 2 or 3 pieces

For the rice
1 cup basmati rice (approx 150g)
½ sheet nori seaweed, crumbled
2 tsp black sesame seeds
To serve
nanami togarashi
small handful fresh coriander leaves, finely chopped
3 spring onions, finely sliced
½ green chilli – deseeded, finely sliced
lemon wedges

Whisk the chicken marinade ingredients (tamari, lemon juice, ginger, brown sugar, mirin and garlic) in a large mixing bowl.

Add the chicken thighs, mixing well. Cover the bowl with cling and place in the fridge to chill and marinate overnight.

When you are ready to cook, remove the bowl of chicken from the fridge to bring to room temperature.

Rinse the rice thoroughly at least 2 or 3 times and then add to a medium saucepan that has a tight fitting lid with about 300ml of water.

Bring to the boil and then turn right down to a very low heat and cover the pan with a lid (I often put two sheets of kitchen roll between the lid and pan to ensure an even tighter fit).

Simmer the rice for around 12, 13 minutes then remove from the heat and leave to stand, covered for 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, lightly oil a griddle pan and heat up.

Drain the marinade from the chicken into a small frying pan, add 1 ½ tsps each of brown sugar and tamari and set aside.

When the griddle pan is hot, add the chicken thigh pieces with a little of the marinade and cook for 3-4 minutes before turning over and repeating on the other side for a further 6-7 minutes, adding a splash of lemon juice as you cook.

Towards the end of the chicken cooking time, gently heat the marinade in the saucepan.

Remove lid from the rice, add the crumbled nori, sesame seeds and a good grinding of black pepper then mix it all up with a fork, fluffing the grains of rice as you go.

Divide the rice between 2 plates and scatter with green chilli, coriander, and spring onion

Serve the chicken alongside the rice, with little bowls of the heated sauce and nanami togarashi, some extra tamari & lemon wedges.


  1. Ooh this looks delish! I think I may have had a bottle of tamari soy sauce in the cupboard before. Not used black sesame seeds before so will have to try them. Pinned for later :)

  2. This looks absolutely delicious! I may have to give this a go next weekend - bookmarked :)


    Em’s Mixed Bag

  3. Thanks Sam & Em :-)

    I'm actually just back from a trip to Tokyo where I attended a Japanese cooking class so I hope to post those recipes soon too!