Panini-Grilled Chicken Teriyaki

As I looked over my list of recipes to photograph last weekend for my panini press cookbook that’s coming out next year, the Chicken Teriyaki recipe jumped up in my priority order. I was still craving Japanese food after an amazing date night dinner Mike and I had at Katsuya in San Diego’s Gaslamp District. The swanky Japanese fusion restaurant, which opened earlier this year in the Andaz boutique hotel, treated us to a variety of their signature dishes. Here are a few of my favorites I was able to capture before the sun went down (if raw seafood isn’t your thing, feel free to skip down to the end to get to the cooked stuff and my Chicken Teriyaki recipe :-)).

Sweet ebi at Katsuya San Diego
Sweet ebi at Katsuya San Diego

The sweet ebi they brought out first could not have been any fresher. Just look at how translucent that shrimp was! Oh my goodness, it was practically still pulsing. And, true to its name, it was sweet as well. Mike always orders the sweet ebi when we go for Japanese, it’s his favorite – this was a real treat for him and I loved it too.

Fried Shrimp Heads at Katsuya San Diego
Fried Shrimp Heads at Katsuya San Diego

I wasn’t kidding when I said the shrimp was fresh. These fried goodies are…er…were their heads. They were dipped in potato starch and deep fried – so light and crunchy! The server likened the experience to eating softshell crab and I agree. You squeeze a little lemon on top and they’re just incredible. Between the raw sweet ebi and these fried heads I don’t think I’ve ever derived this much enjoyment out of a single shrimp!

Crispy Rice with Spicy Tuna at Katsuya San Diego
Crispy Rice with Spicy Tuna at Katsuya San Diego

Katsuya is especially known for its Crispy Rice with Spicy Tuna appetizer (pictured above). The rice base has a lightly crisp caramelized crust on it which makes for a chewy/sweet contrast to the pillow of spicy tuna on top. I wish I knew how to make these – they would really wow at a potluck!

Miso-Marinated Black Cod at Katsuya San Diego
Miso-Marinated Black Cod at Katsuya San Diego

Let me show you just one more dish – my favorite of the night – the Miso-Marinated Black Cod. Miso marinade is my all-time favorite fish preparation, and at Katsuya they marinate the fish for 2 days! Suffice it to say it was sweet to the point of being almost like dessert, along with subtle savory flavor creeping in to make the fish just irresistible. When chef Adam Cho came out from the kitchen to greet us I had the chance to pay him my compliments in person. Thanks so much, Katsuya, for a fabulous night!

Back at home, I craved Japanese food for days. Fortunately, I had a panini-grilled Chicken Teriyaki recipe on my cookbook photo shoot list. I moved it right to the top! I especially appreciate this recipe, which I adapted from the beautifully simple and authentic approach on, on weeknights. Boneless chicken cooks incredibly fast on the panini maker and you can set it in its sweet and salty brine ahead of time. In the recipe I suggest garnishing the dish with chopped scallions, but this time around I had broccoli on hand instead. 🙂

Panini-Grilled Chicken Teriyaki...get the recipe at


Chicken Teriyaki

Adapted from

Prep time: 1 hour 5 minutes | Cook time: 8 minutes | Total time: 1 hour 13 minutes



  • 2 tablespoons sake
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons dark brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons mirin
  • 4 boneless, skin-on chicken thighs

Teriyaki Sauce:

  • 2 tablespoon sake
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 2 tablespoons mirin
  • Toasted sesame seeds and chopped scallions for garnish


  1. Mix the sake, soy sauce, brown sugar and mirin together in a small bowl until the sugar dissolves. Place the chicken in a resealable plastic bag and pour the brine over the chicken. Seal the bag and roll the chicken around in the brine to coat it. Let the chicken marinate in the brine in the refrigerator for 1 hour.
  2. Meanwhile, prepare the teriyaki sauce. Combine all of the ingredients in a small saucepan and bring them to a boil over medium heat. Allow the sauce to simmer and reduce for a few minutes until it thickens slightly (it will not become especially thick). Remove it from the heat.
  3. Heat the panini maker to medium-high heat.
  4. Remove the chicken from the brine (discard the remaining brine) and pat it dry with paper towels. Grill the chicken until it’s cooked through to an internal temperature of 165°F and the skin is crispy, 6 to 8 minutes. Transfer the chicken to a serving plate and ladle teriyaki sauce over the top. Garnish with toasted sesame seeds and chopped green onions and serve with steamed rice.



KathyPanini Happy, online since 2008, is more than just a sandwich blog. Here, you'll find hundreds of my original panini recipes, my guide to choosing a panini press and a whole lot of other creative uses for the panini press.
~ Kathy Strahs
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  1. I am now craving sushi! Wow, this all looks amazing.

    Posted 9.17.12 Reply
  2. Jeanette wrote:

    You’re making me hungry with all those sushi pictures Kathy! And your Chicken Teriyaki sounds like something my kids would love.

    Posted 9.17.12 Reply
  3. This is the perfect weeknight meal that my kids would love!!

    Posted 9.18.12 Reply
  4. Asmita wrote:

    This looks so good. My family would love this!

    Posted 9.18.12 Reply
  5. tamara wrote:

    Looks great….def a great weeknight recipe

    Posted 9.18.12 Reply
  6. Chelsea wrote:

    Delicious! (That chicken teriyaki will be easy for me to make as gluten free too 🙂

    Posted 9.18.12 Reply
  7. right up mine and my 3 kids alley!

    Posted 9.18.12 Reply
  8. richard bennett wrote:


    Haven’t tried this yet, I will, but the solution you put the chicken in you called brine. Brine is a salt and water solution. There is no salt in this solution. I suspect you failed to mention it, if not, adding salt I’m sure would help make the chicken more juicy. Now you may say the soy has salt, but not enough in my opinion to give the chicken the extra juiciness.

    Posted 9.18.12 Reply
    • Kathy wrote:

      Once you try it I’m sure you’ll find the soy sauce makes the chicken very juicy and flavorful.

      Posted 9.18.12 Reply
  9. We still haven’t managed to find a good sushi place here–we were spoiled in the last city we lived in! I love all your creative ideas for using the panini maker. I would never think to use it for something like this!

    Posted 9.19.12 Reply
  10. I love Japanese food. I could live on it entirely. 😉

    Posted 9.26.12 Reply