I’m always looking for quick recipes for chicken thighs. I had a couple of oranges in my fridge, so I zested and squeezed them into an orange teriyaki marinade. The result: fantastic!
I used to be intimidated by the idea of making my own teriyaki sauce, but it couldn’t be simpler. Bring the sauce ingredients to a boil in a small saucepan, turn the heat down to a simmer for four minutes, and you’re done! Use it immediately or as a marinade.
I make the teriyaki sauce in a high-speed blender to create a smooth sauce. You can mix the ingredients together by hand if you prefer more texture. You can substitute lemons or limes for a different, delicious citrus flavor.
Bone-in chicken thighs have more flavor than boneless, but both will work in this recipe. You don’t have to marinade the chicken thighs in the sauce, but I think they taste better if you do. If you have time, salt the chicken thighs and keep them in the fridge a few hours before you plan to use them.
Teriyaki sauce must be sweet, so I use a combination of coconut sugar, honey, vegetable glycerin and stevia to keep the glycemic index to a minimum. Coconut sugar has a slightly lower glycemic index than does refined sugar, but I try to use as little of it as possible. If you don’t have all these sweeteners, the sauce will taste fine with just coconut sugar or honey or a different combination of sweeteners. Stevia is super-sweet, but it can have a slightly bitter aftertaste, and vegetable glycerin isn’t as sweet as sugar, so I always blend them with other sweeteners.
Orange Teriyaki Chicken Thighs
Orange juice adds flavor and sweetness to the teriyaki sauce, requiring less sugar.
- 6 chicken thighs, boneless or bone-in (about 1.5 pounds)
- 1 large red onion, chopped
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 tablespoon coconut oil
- pink or black pepper
- Orange Teriyaki Sauce:
- 1/3 cup plus 2 tablespoons tamari soy sauce or coconut aminos
- 2/3 cup fresh orange juice
- 2 teaspoons vegetable starch (corn, potato, arrowroot, tapioca), optional, for thickener
- Zest of two oranges
- 1.5 teaspoons grated fresh ginger (or 1 teaspoon ground ginger)
- 1/2 teaspoon fresh minced garlic
- 1 teaspoon sesame oil
- 1 teaspoon sweet chili sauce
- 1 teaspoon honey
- 1 tablespoon vegetable glycerin
- 1/4 cup coconut sugar
- 1/8 teaspoon powdered stevia
Make the teriyaki sauce:
Put all sauce ingredients into a blender and blend until smooth.
Pour the sauce into a small pan, bring to a boil, then turn down the heat and simmer 4 minutes.
Remove from heat and allow to cool.
Wash the chicken thighs and cut into quarters.
Put the thighs in a bowl and stir in 1 cup of the sauce, coating the chicken completely.
Cover and refrigerate for at least 4 hours or overnight.
When ready to cook the chicken:
In a large skillet with a cover, heat the oils until they shimmer.
Add the onion, sprinkle with 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/8 teaspoon pepper, and sauté until translucent.
Stir in the chicken and sauté for five minutes, turning it over until the pink color is gone.
Add another 1/2 cup of the teriyaki sauce, turn up the heat and bring to a boil.
Immediately turn down the heat to a low simmer
Cover and simmer 30 minutes, checking after 15 minutes (add 1-2 tablespoons water if liquid is evaporating too quickly)
Serve with pasta or rice with extra sauce on the side.
Store any remaining sauce in the fridge for up to 3 days.
Marinate the chicken thighs in the orange teriyaki sauce for at least 4 hours to bring out the orange flavor.
Serve the cooked chicken thighs over rice with their own delicious sweet Teriyaki sauce.