Orange Teriyaki Drummies

Being a lover of Japanese food and fully understanding that people who know me will be confused by my use of soy in this dish, I’m going to tell a story. When I was growing up, there were a lot of processed foods in the house. I got sick a lot. Like, hours of abdominal cramping sick. We discovered later that I was allergic to soy. I have the soy version of celiac’s disease. I learned to cook so I could control my soy intake to zero. Because it’s in EVERYTHING. When we realized this allergy, though, there was also a moment of “huh…but I don’t get sick from my favorite Chinese restaurant”. After lots of research, we discovered fermentation kills the enzymes that are trying to kill me. So soy sauce and miso (explained below) are on my food list and I use them generously in my cooking.

Teriyaki is a wonderful export from Japan, but most of the recipes I see for it aren’t very Japanese. The reason, I think, is that people aren’t familiar with Japanese ingredients and go for something they know. That’s why I think we should talk about this.

Teriyaki is a sauce that’s made with mirin, sake, shoyu, and sugar. Huh? Where’s the pineapple juice? That’s not Teriyaki anymore, but it is really good Hawaiian food. Also, skip the brown sugar, ginger, and garlic. That’s still not a Teriyaki sauce.

So what are all these ingredients?

  • Mirin – this is a sweet, tangy rice wine for cooking.
  • Sake – this is actual rice wine. In Japan, tea is a ceremony. So is opening a barrel of sake. It’s called “kagami biraki” and it’s done at special occasions like weddings.
  • Shoyu – well, that’s soy sauce. Like, just use soy sauce. It’s the Japanese word for the stuff you find everywhere.

All of the above ingredients should be readily available in the Asian section of most grocery stores. Other ingredients that don’t have anything to do with this recipe (and might be harder to find) but I hope you’ll become familiar with:

  • Tamari – this is the soy sauce you buy when you have celiacs. It’s gluten-free. I have it on hand because I have friends who thank me for it. It’s also the oldest version of soy sauce in Japan.
  • Sushi rice – This stuff is awesome. Obviously, it’s rice. But no, it doesn’t come ready to wrap around fish. For that, you have to add vinegar and sugar. That’s another post for later. And it shouldn’t be confused with sticky rice…which is Thai.
  • Dashi – this is a broth or stock made from seaweed and fish flakes. No, really.
  • Miso – Like soy sauce, it’s made from fermented soybeans (or rice or grains, actually, but always fermented). This time made into a paste that is used as a base for soups and lots of other Japanese dishes…and it’s delicious.
  • Anko – adzuki bean paste…err…red bean paste. It’s a great filling for dumplings as a sweet treat.
  • Daikon – this a giant, beige radish. If you like radishes, you are in for a treat when you eat this. It’s popular in Japan, but also in Korea where they make a version of Kimchi with it (and which is one my favorite foods).
  • Pickled Ginger – OMG. I could eat it for hours. This is a common ingredient you get with sushi…but you aren’t supposed to put it on your sushi. You are supposed to eat it between bites.
  • Wasabi – that’ll clear your sinuses. The stuff you get here probably isn’t real wasabi. Still delicious and sharp-tasting, though. It’s a relative of horseradish, by the way.
  • Panko – these are bread crumbs that are larger than what we normally see. They are very weirdly made…they electrify them while they bake to make them more oil-resistant later. *Crunch*
  • karashi – when you ask for hot mustard in a Chinese restaurant they roll their eyes in the kitchen. Even though you can get those little packets, I’m told they don’t actually eat that in China. In Japan, however, karashi is a thing.
  • Mushrooms – Shiitake, in particular. They have a great, strong flavor and can resemble jerky if you cook them right (don’t tell my Japanese friends I said that).

Oh, wait…I promised you Orange Teriyaki Drummies. There are a lot of other great Japanese ingredients I’ll share later, but let’s get on with THIS recipe.

I made this recipe up tonight and we had it for dinner. That’s common enough. The photography might not be great because it was just “let’s make that” and the response from Chris was “okay”. That’s common, too.

What’s even more common is that I took that totally authentic sauce that, if you’ll recall, is made from mirin, sake, shoyu, and sugar, and ADDED to it. Right after I told you “bad cook, don’t do that”. Well, I wasn’t really saying that…I was saying if you don’t have ALL FOUR base ingredients, which most recipes don’t, it’s not really teriyaki. That’s why I’m calling this “Orange” Teriyaki Drummies. Because I added orange. See?

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Yields4 Servings

 4 lbs chicken drummies (about 12-15)
For the Sauce:
 ½ cup mirin (sweet rice wine)
 ¼ cup sake
 ¼ cup shoyu (soy sauce)
 ½ cup freshly squeezed orange juice
 2 whole cloves
 2 tbsp sugar
 2 tbsp peanut oil (or other mild oil)
 1 tbsp dark sesame oil
To Serve:
 1 orange
 3 green onions, thinly sliced into rings
 1 head napa cabbage

1

Preheat oven to 375°F.

2

Place chicken in a 9×13″ pan, like this. Set aside.

3

In a medium saucepan, add the mirin, sake, shoyu, orange juice, cloves, and sugar and bring to a boil. Stir occasionally. Once it comes to a boil, lower the heat to simmer and add the oils. Simmer for another 10 minutes or so. The reason I delay on adding the oils is to guarantee they don’t reach their smoke point…or the point at which they actually burn and their flavor breaks down. Especially with sesame oil, you want that flavor. It’s delicious.

4

Pour the sauce evenly over the chicken drummies. Make sure it’s all covered. Baste if you have to.

5

Pop in the oven for about 40 minutes, pulling it out twice to turn over and baste. This will ensure even coverage of the sauce and even cooking.

6

To serve as an appetizer: when ready, remove from oven and transfer to a serving platter that is covered with the cabbage leaves. Place a peeled orange and/or orange wedges on the platter. Use the sauce left in the pan to drizzle over the drummies. Sprinkle with the green onions and serve.

To make a meal of it: Serve with rice and a vegetable. I recommend Braised Cabbage and Radishes.

Ingredients

 4 lbs chicken drummies (about 12-15)
For the Sauce:
 ½ cup mirin (sweet rice wine)
 ¼ cup sake
 ¼ cup shoyu (soy sauce)
 ½ cup freshly squeezed orange juice
 2 whole cloves
 2 tbsp sugar
 2 tbsp peanut oil (or other mild oil)
 1 tbsp dark sesame oil
To Serve:
 1 orange
 3 green onions, thinly sliced into rings
 1 head napa cabbage

Directions

1

Preheat oven to 375°F.

2

Place chicken in a 9×13″ pan, like this. Set aside.

3

In a medium saucepan, add the mirin, sake, shoyu, orange juice, cloves, and sugar and bring to a boil. Stir occasionally. Once it comes to a boil, lower the heat to simmer and add the oils. Simmer for another 10 minutes or so. The reason I delay on adding the oils is to guarantee they don’t reach their smoke point…or the point at which they actually burn and their flavor breaks down. Especially with sesame oil, you want that flavor. It’s delicious.

4

Pour the sauce evenly over the chicken drummies. Make sure it’s all covered. Baste if you have to.

5

Pop in the oven for about 40 minutes, pulling it out twice to turn over and baste. This will ensure even coverage of the sauce and even cooking.

6

To serve as an appetizer: when ready, remove from oven and transfer to a serving platter that is covered with the cabbage leaves. Place a peeled orange and/or orange wedges on the platter. Use the sauce left in the pan to drizzle over the drummies. Sprinkle with the green onions and serve.

To make a meal of it: Serve with rice and a vegetable. I recommend Braised Cabbage and Radishes.

Orange Teriyaki Drummies

Orange Teriyaki Drummies with Braised Napa & Radishes

Okay, I added a little more than orange. And while I think this would be an awesome appetizer and tagged it as such, we made a meal of it. It’s so easy to make that I hope you’ll make it soon and let me know what you thought.

I hope you liked the not-even-close-to-definitive list of ingredients I added, too. I’m curious, though…what’s your favorite Japanese ingredient?

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