Teriyaki, Tamagoyaki, Dashi



The customary saying before eating in Japan. It's more than just bon appétit: it literally means I will have the food respectfully.

For this, the last article influenced by our jaunt to Japan, I'll say thank you (arigato) to Mielko, the lady who taught us to make sushi, and who sent us away with the wee book from which today's offerings come.

I think I first encountered teriyaki in a US or US themed restaurant. I probably thought it came from Hawaii, and pineapple juice was probably involved in the marinade. I really don't mind that in the slightest. (As an aside, Seattle is apparently the teriyaki capital of the States, boasting 83 restaurants with the word teriyaki in the title.) Grilled chicken with a glaze is usually a very fine thing to eat, and the entire world is filled with ingredients to make that possible.

We have, incidentally, just glossed over the original definition. Yaki = grilled (think yakitori, grilled chicken skewers) and teri means shine or lustre, that which you get with a sugary glaze. I have no strong views on how you marinade, coat or glaze it: you can fry it or grill it or bake it or, these days, air fry it. This is Mielko's recipe. Just make sure the chicken is properly cooked. (I should say she also gave us a tofu recipe, but I have my standards.)

Mielko's Chicken Teriyaki


Chicken thighs (allow 1 or 2 per person, depending on size and greed); 1 tbsp dark soy sauce; 1 tbsp sake;

For the sauce

2 tbsp sugar; 2 tbsp sake; 2 tbsp mirin; 2 tbsp dark soy sauce; 2 tbsp dashi or mirin.


Cut the chicken thighs in half. If large, make a slash or two in each. Marinate in the soy sauce and sake for at least 10 minutes. Cook the chicken however you like - in a pan is probably better. When the chicken is nearly done, add the teriyaki sauce and cook until the thighs are nicely glazed.

Japanese Omelette (Tamagoyaki)

This time last year we had much debate about omelette making, but very much on the European options. Mielko also showed us the unusual delights of omelette, Japanese style.

Tamagoyaki Pan

You'll note the obvious difference with the additions to the egg mixture. The technique is unusual too, with the thinnest drizzle of the egg mixture. Four eggs will make three omelettes, each of which involves two layers. But the main difference is in the choice of the omelette pan, which is either square or rectangular. Use the absolute minimum of cooking oil. Mielko dampened some kitchen roll with oil, and lightly wiped the surface each time.


4 eggs; 1 - 2 tsp mirin; 80 - 100ml dashi; 1 - 2 tsp light soy sauce.


Beat the eggs. Mix the mirin and soy sauce with the dashi, then stir into the beaten eggs. Oil your pan and get it very hot. Add a thin layer of egg. Remove the pan from the heat and spread the mixture evenly. When it is nearly done, roll it up in a cigar shape to the end of the pan. Oil the empty space and repeat. This time, start the rolling from the cigar itself, resulting in one large roll. Remove from the pan. In Japan this will often be served cold, cut into sushi like slices.


I wasn't planning to include this;  however, I see it's included in each of the last two recipes. It's an absolute building block of Japanese cuisine, probably even more important than chicken stock is to us. It's very easy to make, provided you can find the ingredients.


3 pieces of dried kelp, each about 10cm square; 1200ml water; 30g dried bonito flakes.


Soak the kelp in the water for 30 minutes, then turn on the heat. Just before the water boils, remove the kelp. Add the bonito flakes. As soon as the water comes to the boil, switch off the heat and leave until the flakes sink to the bottom of the pan. Strain the liquid. That's it.



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