Zao Copycat Chicken Teriyaki Rice Bowls in less than 30 minutes. If you love Zao Asian Cafe you will love making this at home. These bowls are packed with juicy grilled chicken, delicious vegetables, and crunchy toppings. Served over brown or white rice, and drizzled with a simple homemade teriyaki sauce.
There is a great Asian fusion restaurant here in Utah called Zao Asian Café. Luckily, it is popular enough that it is growing to more locations. When I first tried Zao the only location was an hour away so it wasn’t something I could just grab when I was in the mood. I set off recreating a copycat version of their chicken teriyaki rice bowls since that is my favorite! I have to say it is really close to the real deal!
These bowls are packed full of fresh, healthy ingredients, and always leave you feeling good. Quick and easy to make, Zao Copycat Chicken Teriyaki Rice Bowls can come together in less than 30 minutes. Perfect for busy week nights and great for hot takeaway meals on the go
- Chicken breast – I like to use chicken breast tenders.
- Broccoli – Fresh florets cut into small equal sized portions.
- Red Onion – One large red onion, cut into thin slices. The amount looks like a lot but will shrink down once roasted.
- Sweet Corn – If available grab corn on the cob. If out of season good frozen sweet corn works great.
- Brown Rice or White Rice – Make sure the rice you use is a short sticky rice. My absolute favorite rice to use is the Trader Joe’s frozen organic brown rice. Ready in 3 minutes and is so delicious!
- Teriyaki Sauce – In this post I will provide a simple recipe I use but you can use good quality store bought if you prefer.
- Additional Toppings:
- Shredded carrots – These are put on fresh and cold. Zao also adds shredded Daikon but I have not had any luck finding that in the grocery stores near me.
- Crispy Onions– I grab these pre made at the store, this is the kind I like and can find in most grocery stores. Fresh Gourmet Crispy Onions
- Cilantro- This is for garnish, use as little or as much as you would like. This can also be left out if preferred.
- Peanuts- Taking the time to roast the peanuts for a second in a hot pan makes them extra delicious.
Preparing the Chicken:
For this recipe I prefer to use chicken breast tenders, but chicken breasts can also be used. If using chicken breasts pound to about 1 inch even thickness.
For the seasoning mix you will need;
- Garlic Powder
- Onion Powder
- Smoked Paprika
- Chili Powder
- Kosher Salt
Drizzle chicken with one to two tbsp olive or coconut oil. Combine all dry spices, sprinkle over chicken and mix until the chicken is evenly coated. This can be done several hours in advance allowing the chicken to marinate or combined just minutes before the chicken is grilled.
At Zao they are all about simple and wholesome ingredients and so this is the simplest and most authentic teriyaki sauce I found and tried. A delicious and easy homemade teriyaki sauce made with an authentic Japanese method. Only 4 ingredients are needed and it comes together in a matter of minutes. Sweet, savory, and versatile. It will be your go to teriyaki sauce from now on.
The only ingredient that you may not have and is kind of tricky to find is Sake. But you can order it on Amazon and it will last you a long time and is worth it because this teriyaki sauce is the real deal. Once you make it you can keep it in the fridge for months to use on lots of different recipes.
Tip: If you have a kitchen scale pull it out and use it for this as it is more accurate.
- Soy Sauce – High-quality soy sauce uses only natural fermentation which takes several months. These varieties are often labeled “naturally brewed” and have a greater depth of flavor than most store bought soy sauce that is chemically produced which is cheaper and faster. Store bought works just fine but if you want a naturally brewed this is the one I get here.
- Mirin – Mirin is a sweet cooking rice wine, it is a sweet and syrupy liquid used as a seasoning and glazing agent. It seasons the teriyaki sauce as well as giving it a nice gloss. Mirin can be found in most grocery stores in the international isle with the Asian products. Here is an example of one that I use and see everywhere.
- Sake – Adds umami and natural sweet flavor from rice starch which is an ingredient to make Sake. I have yet to find this in grocery stores or speciality stores near me. Luckily it can be found on Amazon here. The bottle is big but this can be stored for months in a cool place.
- Granulated Sugar – This gives balance and sweetness to the sauce.
How to Make Teriyaki Sauce:
Simply combine all ingredients in a small sauce pan. Bring the mixture to a boil and continuously stir the sauce until sugar is dissolved. At this point you can take the pan off the heat. If you prefer the sauce to be a little thicker lower the heat to medium-low. Cook on simmer for 10-15 minutes or until the sauce is thickened.
Easy right? It is also healthier and not filled with any additives or preservatives. Win win!
Veggies and Toppings:
At Zao the vegetables are wok seared but I opted for oven roasted, it tastes similar and is easier. Simply cut up broccoli florets so they are all similar size. Thinly slice a large red onion. Drizzle with a little olive oil, season with salt and pepper and place on a baking sheet. If using frozen corn rather than fresh off the cob, place corn while still frozen at the bottom of the sheet pan and roast along with the broccoli and red onion.
Tip: Spreading the veggies out between two sheet pans will allow the vegetables to more evenly roast rather than steam if overcrowded.
Raw shredded carrots, peanuts, and crispy onions add a great crunch. The combination of each one adds great flavor and texture to this dish.
The nice thing about making Zao Copycat Chicken Teriyaki Rice Bowls at home is you can customize each bowl to how you like it! I love a little rice, loading on the veggies, and an extra helping of chicken. Prefer steak? Season the steak the same and switch it out. Use white rice or noodles if you prefer that. You do you.
Zao Copycat Chicken Teriyaki Rice Bowls
- 1 lb. Chicken breast tenders
- 3 medium sized heads Broccoli cut into florets
- 1 large Red onion thinly sliced
- 2 cups Frozen or fresh sweet corn
- 1/2 cup shredded carrots
- 1/3 cup peanuts
- 3 1/2 - 4 cups Cooked brown rice
- Crispy onions
- 1/2 tsp Chili powder
- 1 tsp Smoked paprika
- 1 1/2 tsp Garlic powder
- 1 1/2 tsp Onion powder
- 1 tsp Kosher Salt
- 2 tbsp Olive or coconut oil
- 60 grams or 3/4 cup Granulated sugar
- 200 ml or 1 cup Mirin
- 200 ml or 1 cup Sake
- 250 ml or 1 1/8 cup Soy sauce
- In a small bowl add chili powder, smoked paprika, garlic powder, onion powder and combine.
- In a separate bowl add chicken tenders and 2 tbsp of olive or coconut oil. Sprinkle seasoning over chicken and toss together until coated. Wrap and let sit in fridge until ready to grill. This can be done several hours in advance or just minutes before.
- If you have a scale use that to measure the ingredients as it will be more accurate. If not I have noted the amount in cups.
- Add the granulated sugar, mirin, sake, and soy sauce to a small to medium sauce pan.
- Place pan over medium heat and stir until sugar has fully dissolved. This should take less than 5 minutes. Once done, set aside until ready to serve. If you prefer a thicker sauce leave on heat and stir every few minutes for up to 15 minutes.
Vegetable and Rice Bowl:
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees
- Cut broccoli heads into small similar sizes florets and thinly slice red onion. Toss together in 1 to 2 tsp olive or coconut oil, season with a pinch of salt and pepper.
- Spread out in a single layer on a baking sheet. If too crowded divide between 2 baking sheets. Roast at 400 degrees for 15 to 18 minutes.
- If using frozen corn. Add 2 cups to the bottom of one of the baking sheets with about 10 minutes left.
- If using fresh corn on the cob. In a large stock pot add water and about 1 tsp of salt. Bring to a boil and add 2 or 3 cobs. Cook for about 6 minutes and then once cooled slightly cut kernels off with a sharp knife.
- While the veggies are roasting heat grill to high heat and grill chicken tenders for 4 to 5 minutes on each side or until cooked through. Remove from grill and let rest for a 1 to 2 minutes before cutting into strips or cubes.
- Cook rice according to instructions on packaging.
- Assemble as desired with rice, vegetables, chicken, crispy onion, peanuts, and carrots. Drizzled with teriyaki sauce and some cilantro for garnish.
- Serve while warm and enjoy!