Teriyaki Glazed Chicken Drumsticks

It was about 25 years ago when Japanese food was still considered “nouveau” cuisine. Sushi  and sashimi were relatively new and they weren’t really being picked-up by the public up until probably Karate Kid showed in theatres and Sanrio started flooding the market. Daniel San’s Crane Stance, however, was frowned upon by many martial artist, but the Japanese dojo where he trained and the Japanese culture the movie imparted gave the viewers an idea of Japan itself.  After that, maybe, anything Japanese became popular.

Growing up, my family and I would usually have lunch at the old Kimpura in Makati after hearing mass at Magallanes.  I still vividly remember their teppanyaki grill and the sweet ‘dilis’ they served before every meal. It was, at that time, an experience in fine dining. Competition was nil to limited.

I really have no idea how Japanese food grew leaps and bounds, but it has definitely made some headway in the last three decades or so.  When Saisaki opened its doors introducing another Japanese food concept in the mid to late ‘80s, the love for Japanese food exploded like wildfire.  Anyway, Japanese food has become so mainstream nowadays that some of its dishes have been infused by other cultures or into other cooking techniques to achieve a more or less the same taste without sacrificing the Japanese essence; so to speak.

Besides Oyakudon. Gyudon and Sukiyaki, I consider Teriyaki as one of my faves.  Its sweet, soya taste leaves a lingering taste in my tongue and the sauce punctuates its already perfectly caramelized meat from the grill. Moreover, it perfectly matches Sake. That’s all that matters; perhaps only for me.  Japanese grilling is as efficient and streamlined as their manufacturing and electronic capabilities. It’s really not as rough or rustic like many I have seen. Ramen is another story that’s yet to be told.

I also wanted this dish to be as accessible to many as possible. I was again requested by a friend to create a simple and affordable recipe using local ingredients and ingredients that were also available in Southeast Asia. The only option I had at hand was Chicken drumsticks.  I’m not sure if this is ‘as simple’ enough but if a charcoal grill is available, I think it would definitely make a big difference.  I had to use the oven to achieve the colour and flavour I envisioned in creating this meal.

Ingredients: to taste

  • 4-5 Chicken Drumsticks
  • Garlic
  • Ginger
  • Light Soy Sauce
  • Chicken Stock
  • Brown Sugar
  • Mirin (optional)

Season the drumsticks with salt & pepper. In a sauté pan, heat oil and pan-fry the drumsticks until golden.

Remove from the pan and set the drumsticks in an oven tray and shove it in a 300’C- 350’C preheated oven.

Discard some of the oil from the pan, and sauté the garlic and ginger. Don’t let the garlic turn brown. Add the Light Soy Sauce, Chicken Stock, and Brown Sugar. Turn the stovetop to low and wait until the sauce caramelizes. Adjust the seasonings to taste.

Baste the chicken with this glaze repeatedly until the drumsticks caramelize.

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