Everything is better when it’s in a bowl; that’s a fact. There’s always the instant temptation to use pulled meats in an expected way, i.e. between two buns with lots of gooey sauce, but as soon as I heard of Olly’s pulled chicken, I wanted to do something different from the norm; hence the chicken teriyaki bowl was born.
Let’s get one thing straight; this product is a godsend when you’re hard-pressed for time and still want something nourishing and tasty to eat. Instead of waiting eight long hours for your precious chicken to get pulled, Olly’s has done that for us; all I had to do was remember to defrost from the night before! My experience with frozen food has taught me it is always best to defrost in the fridge from the night before; although you can use your microwave to do it if you’re in a pinch, the fridge method ensures that the meat remains of the utmost quality! As the chicken is pre-cooked, all you need is a good 5-7 minutes of sautéing on medium heat in a pan for the pulled chicken to be cooked. Since this recipe calls for lots of luscious teriyaki sauce, I lightly sautéed the chicken for about 3 minutes before adding in the sauce and allowing the two to cook out together for the remaining 3-4 minutes. I cooked up some basmati rice to go with the chicken, but rice noodles or soba noodles would be fantastic!
I love this recipe because it’s an absolute star to make ahead of time. The rice and sauce can be prepared a day or so before and stored in the fridge until needed; when you’ve come home from a long day all you’ve got to do is heat up the rice, cook the chicken through in the sauce and cut up whatever veggies you want to top the whole thing off with. This teriyaki sauce is a thing of beauty. Previously, I used to make a version of teriyaki sauce that was no-cook, which was admittedly a tad easier than this version but lacking miles in flavour when compared to this. I strongly recommend making sure you have fresh ginger and garlic on hand for this; although the sauce is still pretty banging if you opt for the powder versions, using fresh ingredients takes it to a whole other level. For all those who are gluten-intolerant, just swap out the soy sauce with tamari and you’re good to go!
If you do make the sauce ahead of time, follow the recipe as normal, except for the addition of cornstarch. When it comes time to chow down, just mix up the cornstarch with some water and add to the sauce before heating everything up. Speaking of cornstarch, that one ingredient makes all the difference in Asian sauces like teriyaki; it is the ingredient which thickens up the sauce and gives it its’ signature consistency. This thickening action only happens when the cornstarch mixture heats up, so don’t worry if the sauce is thin when you add it to the chicken! All you need is 2-3 minutes on medium heat and some stirring, and it should thicken up in a jiffy. If you like your sauce on the thinner or thicker side, add more cornstarch mixture or water to your preference.
- 2 servings Olly’s pulled chicken
- 1 cup basmati rice + 2 ¼ cups water
- 1 tbsp oil
- ¼ cup grated carrot
- cucumber, sliced into ribbons
- radishes, sliced
- 2 spring onions, chopped
- handful sesame seeds
- ½ cup soy sauce
- ¼ cup white sugar
- 1 tsp brown sugar
- 1 tbsp grated fresh ginger
- pinch ground pepper
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 tsp pineapple juice
- 1 tbsp cornstarch + ¼ cup water
- Defrost two packets of Olly’s pulled chicken overnight in the fridge.
- In a pot, add in the water and basmati rice, cover and cook on medium-low heat for 20 minutes, or until all the water is absorbed and the rice is tender. Add more water as necessary.
- For the teriyaki sauce, mix together the cornstarch and water in a glass; set aside. Add all the other ingredients to a small saucepan, and bring to a boil. Once at a boil, bring down to a simmer and cook for 5-10 minutes, until the sugar has dissolved. Discard the cinnamon stick. If the sauce will be used right away, add the cornstarch slurry to the sauce mixture.
- In a pan, heat 1 tbsp oil over medium heat. Add the chicken and sauté for 3-5 minutes. Add the sauce mixture and continue to cook until the sauce begins to bubble and thicken, coating the chicken. Remove from the heat and set aside.
- To assemble, add rice into the bowl, then top with a heaping spoon of pulled chicken, then garnish with cucumber, carrot and radish, and finally a sprinkle of sesame seeds and green onions.
As for toppings, I made use of whatever was in the fridge for this beautiful bowl, with the exception of spring onions. I specifically went out for those because who wants teriyaki chicken without spring onions? This bowl is an excellent way to add some veggies to your diet, and to get rid of any produce lying around in your fridge. Anything goes here; don’t be afraid to experiment!