Not every healthy meal has to take hours to get on the table. Nor does it have to be bland and uninspired as so many have been taught to believe. A little imagination and some good ingredients can produce something delicious, nutritious, and even interesting to the palate in less than an hour easily. Much like these teriyaki chicken thighs with roasted eggplant!
This isn’t a teriyaki chicken that cuts corners by buying store-bought sauce, but one that includes a quick recipe for your own sauce that allows for tweaking of the ingredients to make it just right. Thighs are used over breasts to help the chicken stay succulent while being baked, not stir-fried in a pool of oil. Not to mention that that sauce coats the chicken in a sweet sticky glaze that caramelizes around the edges as it cooks to create a beautiful texture for your tongue to enjoy.
Not wanting to leave out a vegetable, roasted eggplant that has been tossed in a savory-sweet miso and mirin based sauce is included with this teriyaki chicken. Swiping the tops of the eggplant with some of that homemade teriyaki helps to pull it all together to make a cohesive meal that can stand alone or can include a scoop of sticky rice or a twirl of udon noodles.
Spicy Teriyaki Chicken with Miso Roasted Japanese Eggplant
- Teriyaki Sauce
- 4 cloves garlic
- 1 inch fresh ginger
- 2 spring onions
- 2/3 cup soy sauce
- 2/3 cup mirin
- ¼ cup rice wine vinegar
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- ¼ teaspoon wasabi powder
- 4 skinless chicken thighs
- Teriyaki sauce see above
- 6 Japanese eggplants
- 2 tablespoons miso paste
- 1 tablespoon mirin
- ½ tablespoon rice wine vinegar
- ½ teaspoon sesame seeds
Preheat the oven to 375F and line a baking pan and a baking sheet with aluminum foil.
Mince the garlic, grate the ginger, and slice the spring onions and reserving the green tops.
Pour the soy, mirin, rice wine vinegar, sugar, and wasabi powder into a small saucepan. Add the garlic, ginger, and whites of the spring onions to the pan.
Place the saucepan on a burner over medium high heat and whisk well to combine and bring it to a rapid boil. Reduce the heat to medium-low and allow it to simmer about 12 minutes, or until it has reduced by nearly half and has started to thicken. Turn off the heat.
In a small bowl or measuring cup, whisk the miso paste, mirin, rice wine, and sesame seeds together.
Cut the tops off the eggplants and cut them in half lengthwise before cutting them into 1 inch long pieces. Transfer the eggplant to a bowl along with the green onion tops and pour the miso mixture on top. Toss the eggplant with the sauce so that it coats all the pieces before placing them on the prepared baking sheet, skin side down.
Bake the eggplant in the oven for 20 minutes. At that time, use the reserved teriyaki sauce to brush the top of the eggplant and allow it to cook another 5 minutes. Remove the eggplant and cover to keep warm while the chicken finishes cooking.
Lay the chicken thighs on a cutting board and dab off any excess moisture with a paper towel. Transfer them to the lined baking pan and pour ¾ of the teriyaki sauce on top, turning the chicken to coat all sides. Cover the pan with another sheet of aluminum. Reserve the rest of the unused teriyaki for the eggplant.
Bake the chicken in the oven for 20 minutes. At 20 minutes, remove the foil from the pan and use a basting brush to brush the teriyaki sauce in the pan on top of the chicken thighs. Return the chicken to the oven to cook another 10 minutes, or until the chicken is cooked through and a thermometer reads 165Remove the chicken from the oven.
Serve the chicken with the eggplant and any reserved green onion and a sprinkle of sesame seeds.
STEP ONE – PREPARE THE OVEN
Preheat the oven to 375F. Cut three sheets of aluminum foil and use one to line a baking pan, one for a baking sheet, and save the other.
STEP TWO – PREPARE THE INGREDIENTS FOR THE TERIYAKI
STEP THREE – MAKE THE TERIYAKI SAUCE
In a small saucepan, whisk together the soy, mirin, rice vinegar, sugar, and the wasabi powder.
Stir in the garlic, ginger and the sliced white part of the spring onions.
STEP FOUR – COOK THE TERIYAKI SAUCE
Heat the saucepan over medium-high heat and whisk again and bring the mixture to a boil.
Reduce the heat to medium-low and let it simmer as it reduces and thickens.
STEP FIVE – MAKE THE MISO SEASONING
In another clean bowl, whisk together the miso paste, mirin, rice wine vinegar, and sesame seeds for the eggplant.
STEP SIX – PREPARE THE EGGPLANTS
Remove the tops from the eggplants and cut them down the middle lengthwise.
Cut the eggplants into 1 inch long pieces and put them in a bowl, add in the green onion tops and pour in the sauce.
Toss the eggplant with the sauce and lay them out on the lined baking sheet.
STEP SEVEN – COOK THE EGGPLANTS
Put the eggplant into the oven to bake for about 20 minutes. Brush the tops of the eggplant with a bit of the teriyaki sauce and let them cook another 5 minutes.
Remove the tray from the oven and cover the eggplants to keep them warm.
STEP EIGHT – PREPARE THE CHICKEN THIGHS
On a clean cutting board, lay out the chicken thighs. With a paper towel, dab the chicken to remove any moisture. This helps the sauce stick to the chicken.
Transfer the chicken thighs to the lined baking dish and pour about 3/4ths of the teriyaki sauce over the chicken. Turn the thighs over in the sauce to make sure it’s well seasoned with the sauce.
Use the third aluminum foil sheet to cover the pan well.
STEP NINE – BAKE THE CHICKEN
Place the baking dish with the chicken into the oven and let it bake 20 minutes.
Remove the top foil, and brush any teriyaki in the dish on top of each thigh in a thick layer. Let it cook another 10 minutes or until the chicken is cooked through.
STEP TEN – SERVE THE CHICKEN AND EGGPLANT
Remove the chicken from the oven and plate it with the eggplant and serve immediately.
While this recipe is geared for a low-carb presentation, a scoop of white rice or a few udon or ramen noodles would be perfect to accompany this teriyaki chicken! Remember to reserve a little extra of that homemade teriyaki or miso sauce to stir in with your carb of choice.
How do you serve your teriyaki chicken? Do you prefer a dark meat version like this recipe, or chicken breast instead? Please comment and let us know!
Jen Miller is a former electrical engineer and product specialist with more than 20 years of product design and testing experience. She has designed more than 200 products for Fortune 500 companies, in fields ranging from home appliances to sports gear and outdoor equipment. She founded Jen Reviews to share her knowledge and critical eye for what makes consumers tick, and adopts a strict no-BS approach to help the reader filter through the maze of products and marketing hype out there. She writes regularly and has been featured on Forbes, Fast Company, The Muse, The Huffington Post, Tiny Buddha and MindBodyGreen.