Chicken teriyaki is a Japanese dish that incorporates many flavors, such as the subtle sweetness from mirin, saltiness from soy sauce, spiciness from ginger, and distinct savoriness from garlic. All these come together as a complex yet balanced taste profile characteristic of many Asian dishes.
Given such beautiful complexity, you must carefully choose your side. To help you out, here are 14 delicious side dishes for teriyaki chicken that are Asian-inspired to suit teriyaki’s Japanese flavors. Try them out!
1. Brown Rice
Chicken teriyaki is typically served on a bed of warm white rice. However, you can cook brown rice instead as a unique yet similar alternative. It’s fluffy and light – like classic white rice – but much healthier and has a subtle, nutty texture. The cooking procedure is also the same; boil the rice in just the right amount of water – not too much, not too less.
If you find plain rice too basic, you’ll prefer this flavorful and aromatic chahan or Japanese-style fried rice. You should use day-old, short-grain Japanese rice best to avoid stickiness. Then combine it with a medley of ingredients, like onions, mushrooms, eggs, corn, and vegetables. You can also add Asian flavorings, like soy sauce, sake, seaweed flakes, sesame seeds, and pickled red ginger.
This Chinese-style cauliflower fried rice is a perfect alternative for those who still want savory fried rice flavors but without too many carbs or starch. To make this recipe, the rice is stir-fried with eggs, scallions, garlic, ginger, soy sauce, red pepper flakes, and many other flavorful ingredients. However, expect the texture to be slightly different as you use cauliflower, not rice.
Soba is a Japanese buckwheat noodle served hot or cold as a side or main dish. This recipe flavors the soba noodles with typical Japanese condiments and seasonings, like soy sauce, rice wine vinegar, sesame oil, sugar, garlic, ginger, onions, sesame seeds, and cilantro. It’s light, cooks fast, and has simple flavors – perfect for tasty chicken teriyaki.
Nasu dengaku, or miso-glazed eggplant, is a flavorful Japanese side dish. Still, despite its richness, it doesn’t overwhelm the chicken teriyaki’s flavors. It even elevates it by making it more satisfying and bringing out more of that umami or savory taste in the meal. Cooking is quick, and the ingredients are simple and distinctly Asian: oil, miso paste, mirin, sugar, sake, and sesame seeds.
Although steamed broccoli doesn’t sound Asian-inspired, its healthy, simple, and fresh flavors go well with many oriental dishes, including chicken teriyaki. But if you want it to taste more decadent, you can follow this recipe which serves the vegetables in a tasty sauce. The sauce is made from oil, garlic, oyster sauce, light soy sauce, sesame oil, and pepper, primarily Asian ingredients.
Another healthy treat to go with your chicken teriyaki is this garlic stir-fry asparagus. Stir-frying, an Asian cooking technique, incorporates a unique flavor while minimizing the dish’s oiliness. It helps keep the asparagus crisp and allows the flavors from the garlic, oil, salt, and pepper to blend deeper and better.
These sesame roasted green beans are another way to incorporate greens into your chicken teriyaki meal. Its sesame, savory flavors allow it to blend harmoniously with the chicken dish, but it also has a distinct personality. For instance, it is much more light and fresh than teriyaki, which is the contrast you need to make the meal satisfying but not overwhelming.
If you want more than one vegetable in your veggie side dish, that’s doable, especially with this yasai itame recipe. This Japanese version of stir-fried vegetables has snow peas, onions, cabbage, carrots, garlic, ginger, oil, and bean sprouts. Although it also often includes pork or meat strips, you can do without them as you have chicken teriyaki as your protein.
Chicken teriyaki also goes well with many salad sides, including this Japanese cabbage salad. It’s refreshingly crunchy and simple, just what you need to complement and highlight the chicken teriyaki. Prep time takes only 3 minutes – really quick – and you’ll need five ingredients: shredded cabbage, ponzu, almonds, green onions, and sesame oil. Ponzu is a unique Japanese condiment with citrus soy flavors.
If you crave a juicier treat, try this recipe for Asian cucumber salad. Like the cabbage salad, it’s refreshing and brings light, cool, and unique flavors to the chicken teriyaki meal. The Asian flavors include rice vinegar, sesame oil, garlic, ginger, and chili paste. Aside from those, there’s also sweetness from maple syrup or honey to complete the marriage of flavors.
This sesame broccoli salad is a Korean-inspired treat that combines with your Japanese teriyaki to comprise a medley of oriental flavors. It’s also another way of having your broccoli without truly cooking them as you do with roasted, steamed, or other recipes. In this recipe, the florets are blanched instead, then tossed with a homemade Asian-flavored dressing.
13. Spinach Ohitashi
Spinach ohitashi is a classic Japanese side dish. It’s savory, as the blanched spinach is served in a sauce made from dashi and soy. Dashi is a stock known for flavoring soups but is also used in side dishes like this recipe. Traditionally, you’d soak the spinach in the dashi for several days; however, you can skip that part for a quicker process.
Teriyaki chicken goes well with plain hard-boiled eggs. However, if you want to bring more flavors to the table, elevate your eggs by turning them into shoyu or soy sauce-marinated eggs. It’s often served with ramen but is also perfect with other Japanese dishes. As the flavors need to penetrate the egg, you must prep this at least three days before using.