I grew up in a family where we ate a home-cooked dinner together nearly every night. The food was a rotation of comforting things like roasted chicken legs, skillet chili and baked salmon, and my parents were always juggling grocery shopping and cooking duties in order to make it happen.
On the rare nights when the grocery and cooking system hit a snag, we’d go down the road to Best Teriyaki. They served an array of grilled and teriyaki-glazed meats alongside steamed rice and piles of sauteed cabbage and broccoli. It was affordable, relatively healthy and entirely delicious. My sister and I loved it.
Thanks to that early conditioning, on nights when I’m weary and want relief from the kitchen, I crave teriyaki chicken. Sadly, Philadelphia does not have the same profusion of teriyaki restaurants that my childhood home in Portland, Ore., did, so to satisfy this yearning, I have to make my own (though I do always wait for a night when the desire to cook has returned).
One version I’ve been making a lot lately is Rachael Ray’s Teriyaki Chicken with Soba. The flavor of her homemade teriyaki sauce is spot-on. The buckwheat soba noodles feel more virtuous than white rice. And I love the addition of sauteed peppers and scallions (I do still add some quick-cooked broccoli to the dish to up my green vegetable intake). It’s simply a very nice meal for your next Weekender.
Before you start cooking, read these tips:
— If making your own teriyaki sauce seems overwhelming, you could certainly substitute a bottled version. Though truly, it’s no harder than measuring and boiling. I’ve taken to tripling the batch, as it keeps well in the fridge for at least two weeks.
— This meal would work just as well with seared tofu or grilled beef as it does with chicken.
— If you’ve never cooked with soba noodles before, do try them. They have an earthy flavor and cook quickly. I like to buy them at Asian grocery stores, as they come in larger packages and are far more affordable than at mainstream supermarkets.
Marisa McClellan is a food writer and canning teacher who lives in Center City Philadelphia. Find more of her food (all cooked up in her 80-square-foot kitchen) at her blog, Food in Jars. Her second cookbook, Preserving by the Pint: Quick Seasonal Canning for Small Spaces, is now available for pre-order.