Mirin is a Chinese cooking sauce that is slightly sweet and of thin consistency. My first experience with Mirin came from an Emeril Lagasse recipe for a BBQ Pork Rib Sandwich, Chinese Style with pickled green onions. You may have to visit an Asian or international grocery store to find it, but trust me, it is worth it.
Wikipedia will tell you there are various kinds of mirin, some containing alcohol as high as 12-14% and some with alcohol content as low as 1%. The kind I purchased at an Asian grocery store had no alcohol content. If you do purchase mirin with alcohol, it will cook off of the chicken after you place it on the grill, but if you can find it without (or with little) alcohol, that is what I suggest.
Aside from the chicken marinade, the pickled vegetables really make this dish. Another inspiration from Emeril, whose pickled green onions reminded me how versatile vegetables can be. The recipe makes more than what you will need for the salad, but they will remain preserved in the refrigerator so you can use them later. Carrots, cucumber, daikon and green onions are left to sit in apple cider vinegar, sugar, and red pepper flakes just until they are permeated with flavor but still remain crunchy.
Those pickled vegetables mixed with the cabbage and edamame offer a crunchy, refreshing compliment to the grilled, sweet and tangy chicken. EVERYTHING in this dish is tangy, so you may take it easy on the pickled vegetables and use the leftovers for sandwiches and salads throughout the week. No need to eat them all at once!
Grilled Asian Inspired Chicken with Pickled Vegetable Slaw
For the pickled vegetables:
- 2 large carrots, peeled
- 6 green onions, chopped into 3-inch pieces
- 1 2-inch piece of daikon
- 1/2 large cucumber
- 2 cups apple cider vinegar
- 1/3 cup white granulated sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
For the chicken:
- 1/4 cup soy sauce
- 2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
- 1 tablespoon hoisin
- 1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
- 1 tablespoon mirin
- 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/2 teaspoon ginger powder
For the slaw:
- 1/2 head of green cabbage, chopped
- 1/2 small head of red cabbage, chopped
- 1 cup cooked edamame
- 2 tablespoons soy sauce
- 2 tablespoons mirin
- 1 teaspoon rice wine vinegar
- 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
- Begin with the vegetables by slicing them thin and long or julienne them if you have a hand tool or mandolin.
- Place all of the vegetables in a large glass or non-reactive bowl.
- In a small saucepan, heat the apple cider vinegar, sugar and red pepper flakes over high heat to boil.
- Turn off the heat and let it sit for 5 minutes. Pour over the vegetables and refrigerate for 1-3 hours before serving.
- In a large sealable plastic bag, pour in all of the chicken marinade ingredients.
- Place the chicken breasts into the marinade and let sit in the refrigerator for 1-3 hours before grilling.
- Grill for 5 -8 minutes per side or until chicken reaches 165 degrees. Remove and let rest for 10 minutes.
- In a large bowl, with the soy sauce, mirin, and rice wine vinegar together with the black pepper.
- Toss in both cabbages, edamame and 1/2 cup of the pickled vegetables without liquid and stir until everything is combined.
- Plate the salad and top with slices of grilled chicken.