Chicken or Portobello Skewers with Nobu's Teriyaki Sauce

Teriyaki was a food fixation when I was a small person. From New York to LA, the only thing I would order at restaurants was chicken teriyaki with an extra side of sauce, white rice preferred, vegetables optional. Sally is my soul sister.

After coming across Alexandra's take on Nobu's Chicken Teriyaki, I immediately pinned it and announced to Rob that I'd be bringing teriyaki into our life. Pretty sure my irrational exuberance made him nervous. Would we be eating teriyaki with every meal? Is my wife still 7? Perhaps.

Recipe Notes

  • The recipe makes about 3 - 4 skewers and is more than Rob and I can eat in one sitting. The leftovers keep pretty well in either the refrigerator or the freezer.
  • Alexandra recommends homemade chicken stock for the teriyaki. I made the sauce with both boxed and homemade stock and found the latter definitely created a richer flavor, though I could eat either version off of a boot.
  • For vegetarians, my homemade vegetable stock is plenty "meaty" and will be a fine substitute. The portobello mushroom version of this dish is delicious (pictured bottom left).


Jalapeños at Milliken Family Farms - Santa Monica Farmers Market


Nobu's Teriyaki Sauce (Adapted from Alexandra Cooks)

  • 1 cup homemade chicken stock or homemade vegetable stock for vegetarians (see "Recipe" notes above)
  • 1/4 cup sugar Note: The original recipe calls for 1/3 cup but I found 1/4 to be plenty sweet.
  • 1/3 cup soy sauce
  • 2 tbsp mirin
  • 2 tbsp sake
  • Handful of chopped scallions or green onions.
  • Optional: 1/2 tsp Aleppo pepper Note: This adds a touch of warmth to the teriyaki.


  • 3 garlic cloves, crushed and skin removed
  • 1 tbsp minced fresh ginger
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tbsp soy
  • 2 tsp sake
  • 2 tsp mirin
  • 1/4 chopped scallion greens
  • 1 tsp flake-style salt
  • Several cranks of fresh pepper


  • 1 1/2 lbs boneless skinless chicken breasts Note: I find there are scraps that don't work for the skewers but can be cooked separately, that's why I suggest 1 1/2 lbs as opposed to 1 - 1 1/4 lbs.
  • Vegetarian Option: 2 large portobello mushroom caps in lieu of the chicken, wiped off with a damp towel. You will not marinate these for the full time.
  • 2 large bell peppers
  • 4 large jalapenos
  • 1 large onion


  • Long-grain white rice or rice of choice


Nobu's Teriyaki Sauce (This can be made a day ahead.)

  • Combine all of the ingredients minus the scallions in a non-reactive saucepan and bring to a boil, whisking to combine.
  • Reduce the temperature so that the liquid is still bubbling but not at a rolling boil, then simmer until it's syrupy and coats a spoon (about 30 minutes give or take).
  • 10-15 minutes before the sauce is finished, add the scallions.
  • When the sauce is thickened, scoop out the scallions and discard, cool, then transfer to an airtight container and refrigerate if making the day before. Sauce can also be frozen.


  • Trim your chicken into 1 1/2-inch cubes. Note: I take the scraps and put them on a separate skewer, grill, and then save for lunch or store them in the freezer for a future meal.
  • Cut your bell peppers into approximately 16 pieces. Here's my method:
    • Cut off each end.
    • Stand the pepper up and trim into 4 sections using the ribs as your guide.
    • Cut each 1/4 into two pieces.
  • Cut your jalapeños into 16 pieces. Here's my method:
    • Cut off each end.
    • Slice lengthwise.
    • Cut each half crosswise.
    • If you like heat, leave most of the ribs and seeds intact, but if you want a milder pepper trim them out.
  • Cut your onion into about 16 large pieces. Note: The outer layers of the onion work best, so I save the unused onion in the freezer for homemade stock.


  • Combine all of the marinade ingredients in a freezer bag, then add your chicken, bell peppers, onions, and jalapeños. Note: If you're making vegetarian skewers, don't add your mushrooms yet as they will act like a sponge and soak up all the marinade.
  • Double bag to avoid any leaks, turn and massage so that the marinade is evenly dispersed, then lay flat on the refrigerator shelf.
  • Marinate overnight or for several hours (minimum of 4-5), and when you think of it take the bag and and slosh the contents around.


  • Prepare rice as instructed.


  • Take the bags out of the fridge about 20-30 minutes before you want to grill so they lose some of the chill. (Same goes for the teriyaki if you made it ahead of time.) For the vegetarian skewers, this is the point at which you should drop the mushroom pieces into the bag so they're coated in the marinade.
  • There's no need to dry the veggies or meat, just put them right on the skewer.


  • Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil (for easy cleaning).
  • Grill the skewers until the chicken is cooked through. Note: Cooking time varies based on the grill.
  • Transfer the cooked skewers to the lined baking sheet and brush with teriyaki.
  • Plate your rice, then brush the skewers with teriyaki one more time before unloading them into the bowl Note: I'm a teriyaki junkie so I brush the chicken and veggies a third time once they're on the rice.

Grilling Tips

I'm inexperienced when it comes to grilling so here are the things I learned while making this meal. I'll probably look back on these "tips" years (days) from now and think, "what a n00b".

  • Sometimes the chicken sticks and tears (because of the marinade? because the grill isn't hot enough?) so I use a large spoon to gently nudge/scrape under/loosen the skewers before rotating. The spoon is a random tool but I find it to be the easiest for maneuvering.
  • Ideally you don't want to grab the meat or veggies with tongs, but rather you want to use the ends of the skewer to turn it. This is where the Pit Mitt comes in handy.
  • Rotate the skewers from front to back halfway through. I forgot the first time I made this dish even though it's grilling 101.

Related Posts