I decided to make this marinade after listening to a podcast about eating bugs. Hear me out! In a recent episode of The Splendid Table, Soleil Ho describes a marinade when she visits a mountain village in Japan whose delicacy is wasps. They describe what seems like a delicious marinade in the podcast–peanut butter, miso, soy sauce, and ginger. I just had to try it, but I am not about to eat a wasp. I had actually never thought of using miso as a marinade, but it’s absolutely brilliant with it’s savory umami flavor. I present my Miso Grilled Chicken with Vegetables, a super simple dinner recipe that’s a little bit different than your run of the mill grilled chicken.
Do you know what Umami is? I actually hadn’t heard the term until a couple years ago, but it’s a flavor profile just like sour, sweet, bitter or salty. Umami is the savory and rich flavor kind of like the flavor from broth or meat juices. Fascinating, right? This dinner has a delightful umami flavor that you can impress your guests or family members with. Here’s how we make it.
Start with bok choy. You can find this at your local grocery! Simply cut off the bulbous end and leave the stems on. Then set aside. To make your marinade.
The marinade is super easy. Just whisk together or blend the miso paste, peanut butter, ginger, garlic, peanut oil, rice vinegar, soy sauce, and salt. Butterfly your chicken by halving them horizontally, then opening them like a book and cutting them into two pieces. Put your chicken in a bowl or ziploc bag and coat the chicken with the marinade. Let it sit for at least thirty minutes at room temp or longer in the refrigerator.
When you’re ready to grill, put a grill pan on medium high heat. Add a tablespoon of peanut oil to coat, and grill your chicken for about 6 minutes on each side without moving until the side easily loosens up to turn and no longer sticks. Set on a plate and cover in aluminum foil to keep warm and let it rest.
To cook your vegetables, heat your remaining oil in a large skillet. Add your bok choy and stir for one minute. Add the soy sauce and broth and stir, braising the bok choy until it’s wilted. Once wilted, remove it to a plate with tongs for serving. Leave the juice in the pan. Add the mushrooms to the juices and cook for three to four minutes until softened. Plate the chicken with the cooked rice, mushrooms, and bok choy. Serve hot.
- 2 tbsp minced ginger
- 2 tbsp garlic cloves
- 2 tbsp miso paste (any kind, but I used red)
- 2 tbsp peanut butter
- 2 tbsp rice vinegar
- 2 tbsp peanut or canola oil
- 3 tbsp soy sauce
- pinch salt
- 1 lb chicken breasts
- 2 tbsp peanut oil
- 1 shallot, thinly sliced
- 8 oz shitake mushrooms, sliced
- 1 bunch bok choy
- ¼ cup soy sauce
- ¼ cup chicken broth
- cooked white rice for serving
- To make the marinade, whisk together the marinade ingredients or blend in a blender to mix well. Butterfly the chicken breasts and cut in half by slicing the chicken horizontally and opening like a book. Then cut it into two separate pieces. Place chicken in a large bowl or ziploc bag, slather with the marinade, tossing to coat. Cover and let it sit out for 30 minutes or in the refrigerator for a day.
- Heat a grill pan or skillet to medium high heat. Add a tablespoon of the peanut oil to the skillet. Add your chicken breasts, careful not to crowd them. Let them get very brown on one side, about 6 minutes, and do not turn them until they no longer stick to the pan. Turn and cook another 6-7 minutes on the other side. Check the chicken for doneness with a thermometer. It should be 165 degrees fahrenheit. Remove to a plate and cover with aluminum.
- Cut the bulb end off the bok choy, leaving on the stems. To cook the vegetables, put a deep skillet over medium heat. Add the remaining tablespoon of peanut oil. Add the shallot and stir, until lightly browned. Add the bok choy and stir for one minute. Add in the soy sauce and chicken broth, stirring until bok choy is wilted. Once wilted, remove the bok choy to a platter with tongs. Add the shitakes to the same pan and cook until softened, about 3-4 minutes.
- To plate the chicken, start with a bed of rice, then top with vegetables, then chicken and then any sauce from the vegetables remaining. Serve immediately.