Garlic Onion Chicken – another amazing Just One Cookbook recipe

Has anyone moved house recently? I did (and why there haven’t been many posts recently)! If you have moved, you know how it goes. Packing boxes, hiring a moving company, moving everything to your new place, unpacking, realising some things don’t fit in your new place, etc. There are a thousand things to do and cooking is not usually high on the list. That’s why I was looking for an easy recipe to make and one I stumbled upon (and made) was Just One Cookbook’s recipe for Garlic Onion Chicken.

A quick and easy recipe, everything is basically in the name! Well except maybe the Japanese rice. Here are the things you need:


  • For the chicken:
    • some chicken (amount varies depending on how many you’re cooking for)
      • The original recipe calls for boneless chicken thighs. I used chicken breasts just because I find them easier to work with. It still turned out delicious!
    • salt/pepper/seasonings
      • I used Horinishi which I was given here in Japan. It contains several ingredients, such as salt, pepper, red pepper, paprika, dried chicken stock, dried pork stock and some other, similar ingredients
    • 1tbsp oil (a neutral oil should leave no taste)
  • For the garlic onion sauce:
    • 1/2 to 1 onion
    • 4 to 6 cloves of garlic
    • 4 tbsp sake
    • 2 tbsp mirin
    • 3 tbsp soy sauce
This is the spice mix that I used called Horinishi. It has: Salt, garlic, black pepper, red bell pepper, powdered soy sauce, millpore powder, coriander, vegetable oil, chicken seasoning, parsley, paprika, onion, red pepper, chenpi, ginger, basil, oregano, marjoram, rosemary, laurel, Ceroli seed/seasoning


  1. First you are going to combine all of the ingredients for the sauce. Chop the garlic and grate the onions, then put them into a big bowl (add the onion juice as well for extra flavour). Nami (the powerhouse behind JustOneCookbook) recommends not cutting off the onion root so you have something to hold on to. I followed this tip and it went well!
  2. Once that is done, add the sake, mirin and soy sauce. Mix it all together.
  3. Add the chicken. If your chicken still has skin, make sure to poke holes in the skin so that the sauce can get into the meat of the chicken. Add your seasonings to both sides of the chicken and then set in the marinade.
  4. Let the chicken marinate for 20 to 30 minutes in the fridge. The longer you leave it, the more onion and garlic flavour it will have.
The chicken in the sauce. I used some water as well to give the chicken something more to sit in due to the shape of the bowl. As a result it took longer to reduce.

garlic onion Chicken Cooking instructions

  1. Once the marinating time is up, add the oil to a pan and heat over medium heat. Once it is hot, add the chicken directly to the pan. If your chicken has skin, it is best to put the skin side facing downwards at this point. You are going to fry the chicken for 3-5 minutes depending on the size, so it is best not to add any of the sauce/marinade. It will burn at this point. We will add it later.
  2. Once it is a nice golden brown on the bottom (3-5 minutes), flip and lower the heat to a medium-low setting. At this point cover the chicken but leave a slight gap so that steam and vapour can escape. Let it cook like this for about 6-9 minutes.
  3. Cut through the largest piece or thickest part of the chicken to make sure that it is cooked through. If so, add the sauce to the pan. Bring it to a simmer for a couple of minutes and make sure you cover the chicken with the sauce. You can also use a spoon to move the sauce around, covering the chicken more thoroughly.
  4. Once the sauce has reduced somewhat (meaning it has less liquid), serve!

I made rice at the same time, so I served it on rice. However you can serve it with many things, including pasta. The sauce has a primarily onion/garlic flavour (hence the name), so it would also go well with pasta or potatoes. The world is your oyster really.

The final product:

I cut the garlic onion chicken in half so it would sit better on the plate. I took this picture and then promptly saved about two-thirds of it for other meals.

Additional comments

If you plan a bit in advance, this dish is very easy to prepare. In between unpacking things, I set the chicken out to defrost (I had bought it the day before and threw it in the freezer). Later after getting out the chopping board and a knife, I was able to make quick work of the garlic and the grater took care of the onion. After a quick splash of the liquid ingredients and a light dusting of Horinishi, I was able to put it in the fridge and go back to unpacking. 30 minutes and one alarm later, it was time to cook. This took me longer than Nami recommended because I used a larger piece of chicken breast rather than thighs. However it was delicious, so no regrets there.

Nami markets this recipe as a college (university) recipe – it is both quick and easy. It certainly lived up to that expectation. The preparation took less than 10 minutes and in total (including waiting), I was ready to eat after about 1 hour.

Because the sauce has soy in it, it is a darker sauce and with cooked chicken (probably golden brown or darker), it is going to be a dark-looking meal. I also found that the rice soaked up the sauce as well, leaving me with soy-coloured rice as well.

Here are some images of the intermediate steps:

The garlic onion chicken and rice also kept very well in the fridge for 2 days. Afterwards, it was all gone, so I can’t speak as to how well it would keep after 48 hours.

All in all: it was quick and delicious. Just what I needed after a hard day of moving. You can see more of the recipes I have tried from JustOneCookbook here: Justonecookbook recipes.

If you are interested in food in general, check out my other food posts.

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