It’s a throwback Monday!
In high school, Ginger Chicken was on the menu a lot at school. Big bone-in, skin-on chicken breasts simmered in this SAUCE that was incredible, with white rice to sop it all up. It was $5 or something ridiculously affordable, especially for Tokyo.
We loved it. My friends and I loved when the chicken was available, and the other day, while thinking in my brain about what to do with some bone-in, skin-on chicken breasts, I thought about the chicken, which of course made me think about high school, which of course made me moderately weepy.
I’m a mess. It’s ok.
But the chicken. This is my version, and it’s really simple, and REALLY flavorful. I made it for my parents on Saturday night, and the next morning at church my sweet daddy said that he looooved the sauce – which is a big deal 12 hours later from a man who KNOWS Asian food!
This chicken can be marinated well in advance, even the night before, but it doesn’t have to. We marinate, THEN bake it right in the sauce, so if you make the sauce right when you want to bake it or only a few hours in advance that’s fine too. The marinating definitely helps, but spooning the sauce over the chicken once you serve is plenty of deliciousness. Promise!
I use a small grater for the garlic and ginger – you’ll want a good inch or so of fresh ginger. Don’t worry about wasting it, either. Put any fresh ginger you don’t use tightly wrapped in the freezer, and you’ll be good to go – it keeps for a LONG time that way! Like, I think I spent $2 on a gnob of ginger a year ago, and I just grate some into food when I use it. No freezer burn, excellent flavor, and the freezing of it actually helps it grate easier so….buy fresh ginger.
To the ginger and garlic, add 1/2 cup each of mirin and soy sauce, then 1/4 cup of rice vinegar and a drizzle of sesame oil – 1 tablespoon or less. We want the sesame flavor, but it’s strong, so you don’t need much!
When you’re ready to cook the chicken, place it skin side up in a large baking dish, and preheat the oven to 400F. Pour all the sauce over the chicken so that it bakes in its own juices and stays super moist AND absorbs even more of that great ginger flavor.
If the skin starts to get really dark, cover the chicken loosely with tin foil while it finishes baking – I maybe should have done that, but the skin was just DARK, not burned. It was still delicious!
Thinly sliced scallions make a nice green topping, and the sharp onion flavor is a nice contrast to the sortof-sweet marinade, but you can skip them if you’re not into raw onions!
This is REALLY delicious guys, and so easy to make. You could of course grill the chicken, but I like it baked to keep the juice and sauce involved in the cooking process. I can’t tell you how GREAT the ginger flavor is!
Try this soon, and imagine an even more insane blonde girl navigating Tokyo at 16 while eating this.
- 4 bone in, skin on chicken breasts
- 1/2 cup soy sauce
- 1/2 cup mirin
- 1/4 cup rice vinegar
- 3 cloves garlic
- 1 inch fresh ginger
- 1 tablespoon sesame oil
- 2 scallions, thinly sliced, for serving, optional
- cooked white rice, for serving, optional
- Grate the garlic and ginger directly into a large bowl. Add the soy sauce, mirin, vinegar, and sesame oil. Whisk together, then add the chicken to the sauce. Let marinate for as long as you have - 2 - 4 hours is ideal.
- When ready to cook, transfer the chicken, skin side up, and all the juices from the marinade to a baking dish. Preheat the oven to 400F. Bake uncovered for 30 - 40 minutes until cooked through.
- Serve with scallions, extra juices from the pan, and rice, or as desired.
- Check the chicken as it's baking after 20 minutes. If the chicken skin is browned but the chicken isn't yet cooked through, cover loosely with tin foil until chicken is fully cooked.