Japanese Barbecue Ground Chicken: A Flavourful Delight

When it comes to ground chicken recipes, this Japanese barbecue ground chicken takes the crown. Created in the Kinda Healthy Kitchen, this 20-minute recipe is a fantastic addition to your barbecue repertoire. The homemade sauce has the perfect blend of sweetness, saltiness, and umami, complemented by that bold barbecue flavor we all love. Whether you’re in the southern US or anywhere else, this dish is sure to impress.

Japanese barbecue chicken bowls

The Quintessential Japanese Barbecue Sauce

I’ve always been a huge fan of Bachan’s Japanese barbecue sauce. From BBQ chicken fried rice to jerky fried rice, I’ve used it in a variety of dishes. But this time, I decided to try my hand at recreating the magic with a homemade version. By studying the simple ingredient list on Bachan’s, I was able to reverse engineer a sauce that tastes just as incredible.

To create this sauce, you’ll need the following ingredients (with potential substitutes):

  • Dark Soy Sauce: This gives the chicken its rich color and intensely flavorful profile. While light soy sauce or coconut aminos can be used as replacements, they will result in a lighter color and slightly milder flavor.
  • Maple Syrup: Instead of granulated sugar, I opted for healthier maple syrup. Its deep flavor works wonders in barbecue sauces. Dark maple syrup is recommended for its robust taste.
  • Tomato Paste: Although tempted to use a spicier chili paste, I stuck with Bachan’s recipe and used tomato paste. It adds acidity and a touch of sweetness to balance the flavors.
  • Mirin: This sweet cooking wine is crucial in Japanese cuisine. If you don’t have mirin on hand, you can use another dry white cooking wine or increase the amount of rice vinegar.
  • Rice Vinegar and Toasted Sesame Oil: These pantry staples are essential for the perfect balance of flavors. No substitutions are recommended here.
  • Aromatics: Garlic, ginger, and scallions are essential ingredients that add depth to the sauce. Convenient options like frozen crushed garlic and ginger can save you time in the kitchen.
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Japanese barbecue sauce ingredients

The Versatility of the Sauce

While this recipe calls for cooking the sauce with ground chicken, you can also use it as a marinade or cook it down for other dishes. It pairs well with fried chicken, grilled or roasted vegetables, and various proteins. To make the sauce, heat a saucepan with a teaspoon or two of toasted sesame oil over medium heat. Add the aromatics and cook until fragrant. Then, add the tomato paste and cook for another 30 seconds. Finally, add the remaining ingredients and simmer until the sauce reaches a thin barbecue sauce consistency.

Cooked ground chicken seasoned with homemade Japanese barbecue sauce

Serving Suggestions

For a delicious and wholesome meal, try serving the Japanese barbecue ground chicken on a bed of “half calorie rice.” This can be achieved by combining jasmine or basmati rice with cauliflower rice. The combination of flavors and textures is simply unbeatable.

If you want to incorporate vegetables into your dish, consider cooking broccoli, mushrooms, carrots, and zucchini in olive oil before adding the ground chicken. You can cook them separately and season them to serve on the side or roast them in the oven or air fryer.

Japanese barbecue chicken and rice bowls

Saucy Garnishes

To elevate your dish, garnish it with toasted sesame seeds and scallion greens. For an extra touch, try serving it with a low-calorie yum yum sauce. Made with light mayo, sriracha, rice vinegar, garlic powder, and honey, this creamy sauce adds a delightful kick to your meal. If you prefer a mayo-free version, I also have a healthy yum yum sauce recipe made with Greek yogurt.

If you’re in the mood for something different, consider trying blended kimchi sauces inspired by Korean cooking. These sauces pack a healthy gut punch. In my ground beef bulgogi recipe, I blended kimchi with gochujang, honey, light mayo, and water. To make either sauce without mayo, you can use Greek yogurt along with a bit of dijon mustard, white pepper, and vinegar.

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Final Thoughts

As a fitness enthusiast, protein and rice bowls are always on my menu. However, the Japanese BBQ chicken offers endless possibilities. You can serve it in ramen, udon, seaweed wraps, or even as a filling for taiyaki. The choice is yours!

I’m eager to hear how you serve your chicken and your thoughts on the barbecue sauce and recipe. Feel free to share your feedback in the comments or write a recipe review. And if you’re looking for more ground chicken recipes, be sure to check out my extensive list, featuring dishes like firecracker chicken and high protein spaghetti and meatballs.

So why wait? Try this Japanese barbecue ground chicken recipe and taste the flavors that will transport your taste buds to the Land of the Rising Sun.

Rowdy Hog Smokin BBQ