Adventures in Miso Chicken

Posted in Chicken on November 16th, 2010 by admin – Be the first to comment

I was recommended a recipe for miso turkey, good for Thanksgiving, but since cooking a whole turkey is beyond me at the moment (and thankfully I have no obligations to yet) I wondered if there was a more everyday version of miso chicken.

Yes there is… lots of them. The one I chose was a baked miso chicken. It looks like this one was modified a bit from the original and I modified it a bit more (by using breasts instead of thighs). The actual chicken I bought was labeled ‘chicken breast fillets’, smaller than whole breasts which made them an easy size to work with. I’ll definitely be looking for these in the future. But I can’t help imagining them being cut down from full breasts to get that size the way baby carrots are cut from regular carrots.


  • 1/2 cup soy sauce
  • 1 cup mirin
  • 1/2 cup miso
  • 4 scallions, thinly sliced
  • 2 teaspoon freshly grated ginger
  • 2 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 6-8 (about 2-lbs.) boneless chicken thighs
  • 1 teaspoon toasted sesame seeds

I do find it kind of funny that they think being able to buy miso by the tub is a big deal. This is the miso selection at Uwajimaya… a bit intimidating.


  • Combine soy sauce, mirin, miso, onions, ginger and garlic in a small bowl. Divide marinade into 2 parts. Pour half into in a one-gallon zip-lock bag. Shake to mix well.
  • Add chicken pieces and coat well. Refrigerate for 8-12 hours. Refrigerate reserved marinade in a separate container.

I try to use my reusable containers for marinating as much as possible.

8-12 hours means the chicken has to start marinating before I leave for work, which means I have to remember to put the chicken in before I leave for work. Well there’s no way I’m up for cooking that early in the morning so instead I mixed it up very late at night.

Very late at night is also where I realized that I didn’t have enough mirin for the whole recipe. No problem, I thought, since the marinade gets divided in half I can make half now and pick up more mirin on my lunch break. Except, it turns out, QFC doesn’t sell mirin… must have bought it at Uwajimaya.

No problem again. I had a very little left, about 1/8 of a cup, and did my best to 1/8th the recipe.

  • Remove chicken from marinade and pat dry with paper towels.

I didn’t understand this step at all – why wipe off the marinade just to reapply it? But I figured this is one of those things done by People Who Know More Than Me and would be my own fault for skipping steps if the recipe didn’t turn out.

  • Arrange chicken pieces in a single layer on a large rack set over a baking pan. Cook for 30 minutes. Brush with reserved marinade.

And this is where I failed. For some reason I misread adding the reserved marinade before it goes into the oven (which is why the last step made even less sense.) By the time I realized my mistake the same brush had touched the raw chicken and the marinade so it was a lost cause. I put the chicken into the oven as is and tried to salvage something.

While it baked I tried another attempt at the marinade, this time with sake. It didn’t smell right so I tried adding more soy sauce, and then it became unbearably salty. At least I have no qualms about wasting this much miso since eventually the top gets knocked off and it dries out in the fridge before I can go through a whole tub.

There’s my sad little chickens with the inedible sauce… I served them sheepishly with a sprinkle of sesame seeds.

The chicken itself was surprisingly moist despite being served “dry”. I think miso chicken is a win, even if I failed.