Yoshinoya is one of Japan’s major fast-food chains with restaurants in China and the United States too. It is best known for the famous beef and chicken teriyaki bowls.
If you compare these delicious dishes to other types of fast food like burgers and pizza, the teriyaki bowls are healthier and full of tasty ingredients.
The teriyaki chicken is a beloved classic, and since many people can’t get their hands on the Yoshinoya version, they’re looking for a recipe to make this dish at home.
I’m here to share a copycat recipe of the Yoshinoya teriyaki chicken bowl, and although it’s different from the real thing, the flavor is similar.
Since you’re making the teriyaki sauce from scratch, you avoid all the additives and unhealthy ingredients hiding in fast food.
In this post we'll cover:
- 1 What is a Yoshinoya teriyaki chicken bowl?
- 2 Yoshinoya-style teriyaki chicken bowl copycat recipe
- 3 Yoshinoya teriyaki chicken bowl recipe variations
- 4 Is Yoshinoya teriyaki chicken bowl healthy?
- 5 Origin of the Yoshinoya teriyaki chicken bowl
- 6 Takeaway
What is a Yoshinoya teriyaki chicken bowl?
The Yoshinoya teriyaki chicken bowl is a menu item in Yohshinoya restaurants.
It is made with tender grilled chicken that’s cooked until it’s golden brown. The chicken is sliced into thin strips and glazed with the restaurant’s own teriyaki sauce.
Each bowl is usually filled with steamed rice and various steamed vegetables. Then the chicken is topped with toasted sesame seeds and green onion.
The dish sounds rather basic, but the teriyaki gives the chicken a tasty sweet, and savory flavor.
Apparently, this tasty dish is not served in Japan. Who knows? Maybe Americans are more obsessed with teriyaki chicken than the Japanese?
In China, teriyaki chicken is made with fried crispy chicken thighs, whereas in the States, it is made with grilled chicken.
Both are delicious, and you can use whichever you like to make your bowl. Of course, authentic grilled teriyaki is healthier than the fried version.
Japanese fast-food lovers like to mix things up, and the chicken and beef combo bowl is one of Yoshinoya’s bestsellers. That’s made with braised beef, and grilled chicken thighs served over white rice with steamed veggies.
But for today’s recipe, we’ll stick to the chicken version because it’s one of the best.
Yoshinoya-style teriyaki chicken bowl copycat recipe
- 4 pieces boneless and skinless chicken thighs
- 1 tsp salt
- ¼ cup cooking sake
- 2 cups white rice
- 2 cups broccoli
- 2 cups cauliflower
- 1 large carrot sliced
For the sauce
- 10 tbsp soy sauce
- 5 tbsp mirin
- 5 tbsp sugar
- 1 tsp ginger juice
- 1 garlic clove minced
- 2 tbsp water
- 1 tsp cornstarch
- Cook white rice in a rice cooker according to package instructions (usually about 20 minutes or so).
- While the rice is cooking, marinate the chicken for about 20 minutes in cooking sake and salt.
- At this time, you can start to steam the carrot, broccoli, and cauliflower for approximately 10 minutes. To do this, boil water in a large pot. Place the veggies in a steamer bowl or colander on top of the boiling water.
- Heat up the grill and cook the chicken for about 10-12 minutes, turning the thighs once halfway.
- To make the sauce, grab a skillet or saucepan and mix together the soy sauce, mirin, sugar, garlic, ginger juice, and water. Let them cook until the sauce begins to boil.
- Now add the cornstarch to thicken the sauce and simmer for about a minute.
- Cut up the chicken into long strips.
- Chop the spring onion.
- Place the rice in a bowl; on one half of the bowl, add some of the chicken and pour the teriyaki sauce on top. Then add some of the steamed veggies to the other half of the bowl.
- Garnish the chicken with spring onion and toasted sesame seeds.
Yoshinoya teriyaki chicken bowl recipe variations
If you choose to make some significant changes to the recipe, it won’t resemble the Yoshinoya teriyaki chicken.
But a way to make it even tastier is to fry the chicken in a pan with some cooking oil or to use an air fryer. That ensures the chicken has crispy and crunchy skin.
When you’re short on time, you can also just cook the chicken thighs in a pan and add the sauce there to coat the pieces.
Alternatively, you can use chicken breast if you prefer a leaner and more diet-friendly version.
As for the sauce, you can always skip the homemade sauce and buy some bottled teriyaki sauce from Kikkoman. There are some reduced-sodium varieties as well as organic sauces.
If you want to sweeten the sauce, you can always add a teaspoon or two of sugar.
Adding sake to the teriyaki sauce will make it taste closer to authentic Japanese teriyaki. North American teriyaki sauce is sweeter and less savory.
Read more here on How to thicken and sweeten teriyaki sauce | Best ingredient options
The two classic side dishes for teriyaki chicken bowls are white rice and steamed vegetables.
But you can substitute the white rice with brown rice or jasmine rice. Not only does this make the dish a bit healthier but it’s more weight-loss friendly too.
When it comes to vegetables, you can go for the classic combination of carrot, broccoli, and cauliflower mix or you can add some snap peas, edamame, peppers, and bean sprouts.
Well, you can eat whatever veggies you prefer and instead of steaming them you can stir-fry them with some teriyaki sauce too but then you’re adding extra calories.
Also check out this recipe for A Healthy Vegan Stir Fry Sauce with No Sugar
Is Yoshinoya teriyaki chicken bowl healthy?
Yoshinoya’s teriyaki chicken bowls are pretty healthy.
Grilled chicken is a lean protein with reduced calories. If you eat the steamed veggies only with no rice, it’s a very light meal.
The chicken alone has only 8 grams of carbs. That’s very little compared to orange chicken, which has a whopping 62 grams.
However, the problem with fast-food teriyaki is that the meals are high in sodium. In fact, the chicken is full of sodium, and so are the veggies.
Therefore, having a bowl with rice, vegetables, and chicken exceeds the recommended daily sodium intake for adults.
The teriyaki sauce is full of salt and sugar too. Therefore, it’s considered quite an unhealthy sauce.
But, if you’re making the meal at home, you can always add smaller amounts of salt and sugar to the sauce to make the dish healthy.
Overall, compared to other fast-food options, the teriyaki chicken is a good healthy option. The chicken is an excellent source of protein, iron, potassium, and zinc.
Steamed vegetables are full of vitamins and minerals.
The rice is the only “bad” part of the bowl. It lacks nutrients and is full of carbs.
But, at the end of the day, having teriyaki chicken bowls is not a poor food choice, and why not indulge in the yummy flavors?
Origin of the Yoshinoya teriyaki chicken bowl
Did you know that Yoshinoya is one of Japan’s oldest and most famous fast-food establishments?
It was founded in 1899 as a place to get cheap, delicious food quickly. Its founder Eikichi Matsuda (松田栄吉), decided to sell fresh food bowls at a low cost for busy people and fishermen who didn’t have time to cook.
Now they serve over 20 tasty bowls, and people still love them.
But teriyaki chicken bowls are not a Japanese classic. In 1983, Yoshinoya America introduced the bestselling cult classic.
In fact, teriyaki chicken is only sold at American restaurants. In Japan, the bestseller is the beef teriyaki bowl.
Who says takeaway or fast food can’t be copied at home?
If you’re looking for a healthy teriyaki chicken that tastes similar to Yoshinoya’s, then look no further than this recipe. Without added MSG, additives, and high amounts of sodium, it’s a healthier alternative.
You can make the teriyaki chicken bowls for the whole family, and it’s undoubtedly going to be a dinner favorite because it tastes like takeout.
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