Mrs. Thornton has been in our lives for what feels like forever. She's the kind of family friend who has been a part of your life for so long you forget how and when they came to you in the first place. She has literally known my brother since he was in the womb and was a fixture for us growing up as she was our "emergency contact". My Mom repaid the favor for her kids as well. The highlight by far was the time she was called to school to pick up Mrs. Thornton's son after he fell off the roof while chasing a wayward ball (he was fine, don't worry).
The kids are (mostly) all grown and now my Mom and Mrs. Thornton are on to grandbabies and granddogs. The last time they caught up, Mrs. Thornton shared this recipe with my Mom. It's original form was as a ground chicken mixture with pine nuts and teriyaki sauce that goes in lettuce wraps. Think PF Changs only super, super easy. Because I never seem to be full from lettuce wraps, I switched it up and served the mixture over some steamed rice.
I know calling this "Teriyaki Asian Tacos" makes no sense at all. But stir fry seemed inappropriate since there's no wok. And the ground chicken with the veggies and the sauce... it's so close to the way I do tacos, just with Asian flavors. It used it to describe the recipe to Roy and it stuck.
So Teriyaki Asian Tacos it is!
I used a little bit of diced celery and matchstick carrots for color and texture. The original also called for pine nuts but I used cashews because I love cashews with Asian flavors. I added a sprinkling of toasted sesame seeds and served this with steamed white rice. I really like the sauce that Mrs. Thornton recommended - Mr. Yoshida's. It's not as abrasive as regular Teriyaki can be and it eliminates the need to add spices or cook down the Teriyaki on it's own until it thickens. Which means it's perfect for weeknights!
If you want to stay true to the original recipe, serve this in a romaine or Belgian endive lettuce cup. Enjoy it as an appetizer or like we did, as a full meal and switch up the veggies to make it work for you. And by all means, feel free to suggest some new names for the dish!
Teriyaki Asian Tacos
20 mins active, 4-6 servings
[FYI - this is an "eyeball" recipe meaning I just added things until it looked right, so the amounts below are more guidelines than exact measurements. Feel free to tweak the amounts so they work for you.]
1 lb ground chicken
1 medium onion, diced
3/4 cup diced celery
1/2 cup matchstick carrots
1/4 cup roasted unsalted cashews
1/2 cup (or more) Mr. Yoshida's Sweet Teriyaki sauce
toasted sesame seeds (optional)
steamed brown or white rice (optional)
lettuce cups (optional)
Brown ground chicken and onion in a large skillet. Drain and return to pan.
Add sauce, diced celery and cashews and mix so everything is coated in sauce. Make sure to add enough sauce to give the chicken moisture. You don't want dry ground chicken! Heat on medium or low until sauce is warmed through and celery and cashews have softened just a bit.
Sprinkle with matchstick carrots and toasted sesame seeds. Serve over steamed rice or with in lettuce cups.