I love sushi in all its forms, but my guilty pleasure has to be Teriyaki Chicken Sushi. The flavour of sweet and sticky teriyaki chicken holds its own against all the other delicious ingredients in a sushi feast, and it’s economical and easy to make at home.
It’s also a great alternative to sushi made with raw fish for those who don’t like seafood or raw meat.
When many people hear ‘sushi’, they instantly think of raw fish and completely switch off, but in fact, sushi involves a whole range of fillings.
The Japanese word sushi means ‘sour rice’ as the rice is seasoned with vinegar, salt and sugar. So while sushi rice can be served with sashimi or raw fish, it’s delicious with chicken, pork, cooked fish or vegetables!
In the Western world, we often use the word sushi to describe Makizushi or rolled sushi, and it’s these classic rolls that I’m talking about today.
Why make sushi?
Making your own sushi rolls is a fantastic way of saving money, as just a few ingredients go a long way. Once you have the technique down pat, making sushi is great fun too.
With living costs soaring and the price of a sushi roll averaging nearly $10 in many US cities, this is one luxury ‘fakeaway’ you can easily make at home.
Making your own sushi rolls is a fantastic way to use leftover roast chicken meat! Just add leftover shredded chicken to the teriyaki sauce.
Conquer the fear
If you’ve ever been to Japan (or even a Japanese restaurant!), you’ll know that Japanese food is always presented beautifully.
I’m here to tell you that the first roll of sushi you make will likely be a little (or a lot) misshapen. Persevere. With a bit of practice, you’ll be whipping up beautiful sushi rolls worthy of a Japanese restaurant in no time.
Don’t stress about lumpy sushi rolls, it does take a bit of practice to get them nice and smooth. However, I promise it’s entirely possible, and you do not need special sushi rolling gadgets. A simple bamboo mat will do.
To make Teriyaki Chicken Sushi, you’ll need the following main ingredients:
- Sushi rice: One of the two non-negotiables in this recipe. This short-grained white rice has lots of gluten, making this sticky rice perfect for sushi rolls. You can use another short-grained or round rice in a real pinch, but it won’t stick together as tidily as sushi rice. Sushi rice is usually available in well-stocked grocery stores and readily available online.
- Nori sheets: The second necessary ingredient! These flat sheets of pressed seaweed are what wrap the sushi.
- Sushi vinegar: Nice to have but not necessary. Sushi vinegar is simply seasoned vinegar. Rice vinegar, white vinegar or even apple cider vinegar all taste fine once you add a little sugar and salt.
- Chicken breast: A little goes a long way! Chicken strips or tenders are ideal in this recipe as they are usually cheaper than full breasts.
- Vegetables: I like red peppers and cucumber in this sushi, but you can use what you have available.
The complete ingredient list and detailed instructions are in the recipe card at the bottom of the page.
How to make chicken sushi
There are three main stages in making sushi rolls (full instructions in the recipe card!)
- Cook, season and cool the rice: Wash the rice under cold running water until the water runs mostly clear. Add to a saucepan with an equal amount of water by volume, bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to the minimum, cover and cook for 10 minutes.
- Check the rice to ensure it has cooked through, then transfer it to a bowl. Drizzle over the seasoned vinegar, stirring to combine. Allow the rice to cool to room temperature (traditionally, the rice is mixed and fanned with a large wooden spoon to cool it down).
- Make the teriyaki chicken: Mix all teriyaki sauce ingredients and cook with the chicken breast until dark and sticky. Set aside to cool.
- Assemble the Chicken sushi rolls: Lay a sheet of nori on a bamboo rolling mat. Cover with a thin layer of rice, a line of chicken and vegetables and roll tightly, wetting the end to seal
- Then all you need to do is chill until firm, slice and serve!
Mix up the vegetables: Use whatever vegetables you have to hand; just make sure they are thinly sliced. Green peppers, carrots, or avocado slices are all popular options.
Change the meat: This exact same recipe will work with other meats. I love to make sushi with smoked salmon, but tinned tuna is a delicious and cost-effective alternative too.
Cheat option: Leftover shredded chicken from a supermarket chicken is also delicious in this recipe. Either cook up my easy Teriyaki sauce or use a good quality store-bought one for extra flavour.
Frequently Asked Questions
How long can I store sushi in the fridge?
This sushi, with cooked filling ingredients, can be stored for 3-4 days in the fridge (though it is best eaten fresh).
Do I have to make all the sushi ingredients at the same time?
Not at all! You can make the teriyaki chicken and rice the day before you assemble the sushi. As the rice will dry out a little, I tend to add some mayonnaise to the filling if I’ve made the rice in advance.
Easy Teriyaki Chicken Sushi
for the rice:
- 350 g sushi rice (see notes), se notes
- 50 ml rice vinegar, to taste
- 2 tsp white sugar
- ½ tsp sea salt
for the teriyaki sauce:
- 75 ml light soy sauce
- 2 Tbsp mirin or Chinese cooking wine
- 2 tsp brown sugar
- 1 clove garlic, crushed
- 2 Tbsp finely grated ginger
- 300 g chicken breast
- 1 tsp sunflower oil
for the sushi rolls:
- 1 small cucumber, thinly sliced
- 1 small red pepper, thinly sliced
- 4-6 nori sheets, seaweed sheets
- sesame seeds
- pickled ginger
- COOK RICE: Pour the rice into a sieve and rinse well under cold running water. Transfer to a deep saucepan and add 1.5 cups water. Bring to the boil, turn the heat right down, cover and simmer for 10 minutes. Remove from the heat.
- PREPARE CHICKEN: While the rice is cooking, prepare the chicken. In a medium-sized bowl, stir together the soy sauce, mirin, brown sugar, garlic and ginger. Slice the chicken lengthways into finger-thick strips. Toss them together with the sauce and set aside.
- FLAVOUR RICE: When the rice has cooked, transfer it to a large mixing bowl. In a separate bowl, stir together the rice wine vinegar, sugar and salt. Add the vinegar mixture to the cooked rice, a little at a time, mixing well until it has been used up.
- COOK CHICKEN: Heat a drizzle of oil in a large non-stick skillet or frying pan. Add the chicken and all the marinade to the pan and cook for 5 minutes, occasionally stirring, until the marinade has thickened and the chicken is golden brown. Remove from the heat and set aside.
- ASSEMBLE SUSHI: Place a sheet of nori shiny side down on a bamboo rolling mat. Have a bowl of cold water and a kitchen towel or paper towels nearby to clean your hands. Wet your fingers, then pick up a handful of rice, spreading it in a thin layer evenly over the nori sheet. Leave a 2cm gap at the end furthest from you.
- ADD FILLINGS: At the end closest to you, make a line of cucumber, pepper and chicken. Don’t go overboard. A little filling goes a long way. Use your finger to wet the seaweed that isn’t covered with rice, then use the bamboo mat to help you tightly roll the sushi into a tube.
- CHILL THEN SERVE: Repeat with all remaining seaweed and rice, then chill sushi rolls for 1 hour. Use a sharp knife to slice each roll into 8 pieces, then transfer to a serving plate with pickled ginger, wasabi and soy sauce for dipping.
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