Garlic Onion Chicken

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Chicken with Garlic Onion Sauce | Easy Japanese Recipes at

How was your weekend?  If you live here in the Bay Area, aren’t you glad the beautiful weather we take for granted is finally back?  The weather was gorgeous and this is why we love to live in San Francisco and don’t want to live anywhere else.

I had a busy but very good weekend.  On Saturday, we had a family haircut in the morning (we all go to the same hair salon) and then we went to a park in the afternoon to practice my son’s bicycle riding.  He has been telling me the entire week that he was now ready for removing training wheels and he wanted to ride a bicycle like a big boy.  We thought it was a nice opportunity so we tried.  After a few trials, he realized that he couldn’t ride “fast” anymore so he wanted the training wheels back on.  I guess we’ll encourage him to try again later on this summer.

Then on Sunday I had a friend’s wedding shower to attend at a tea house.  It was really nice to spend time with a soon bride-to-be and girl friends (no kids!).  As a stay-at-home mom, I tend to forget that I’m also a woman, not just a mom.  It was a lovely afternoon sipping various kinds of tea and eating yummy treats (oh lemon curd!  YUM!).  Later in the evening we celebrated my brother-in-law’s birthday at our house.  I cooked pulled pork in the morning and oh it was so delicious.  I have to share this recipe sometime soon (I hope you don’t mind sharing this on my blog even though it’s not a Japanese dish).

I’ve been so busy lately that I haven’t had time for everything I want to do.  Recently I got a lot of questions asking me how I blog with the two kids.  Trust me, I don’t have time for everything I want to do…  My primary focus is the kids (and of course cooking dinner, cleaning house, doing all the house chores), so my blogging time is very limited.  I spend hours at night after kids go to sleep at 8 pm.  I’ve been staying up late to catch up but still not enough time and I’m struggling, really struggling to manage my time.  So there’s no secret or mystery here.  I’m sorry if I haven’t called you back, or emailed you back, or haven’t visited your blog for a couple of days… but I just want to say I’m thinking of you and I’ll get to you as soon as I can!

Okay let’s move on to today’s recipe.  I’m sure everyone is busy and needs a quick meal plan right?  Traditional Japanese meal requires a small plate or bowl for each dish (main + several side dishes), and for each person.  You know how many bowls and plates I have to deal with?  Crazy!  Therefore, on super busy days, my meal will be served on one plate.  I prepared these 3 dishes (Japanese rice, Asian Coleslaw, Chicken with Garlic Onion Sauce) in about one hour.  Not bad, right?

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Chicken with Garlic Onion Sauce
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Serves: 3-4
  • 5 boneless chicken thigh fillets (with or without skin)
  • Salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • ½ sweet onion, grated
  • 4 garlic cloves, sliced
  • 4 Tbsp. cooking sake
  • 2 Tbsp. Mirin
  • 3 Tbsp. soy sauce
  1. Grate onion in a medium bowl (please be careful!), and add all the Sauce ingredients in the bowl.

  2. Rinse the chicken and pat dry with paper towel. If you use the chicken with skin, prick the skin with a fork. Sprinkle the chicken with salt and pepper on both sides.
  3. Put the chicken in the bowl and rub with hands. Keep in the fridge for 30 minutes to 1 hour. Unless you like it to be salty, do not marinate too long.
  4. In a non-stick frying pan, heat oil on medium heat. Add just the chicken and garlic. Keep the sauce in the bowl. If the chicken has skin, cook the skin side first. Do not turn over the chicken until it’s nicely browned.

  5. After you turn over the chicken, lower the heat to medium low. Cover half of the pan with the lid and cook for 7 minutes.

  6. When the chicken is cooked, add the Sauce. Cook on high heat for 2 minutes. Use a spoon to coat the chicken with sauce. Serve the chicken on a plate and pour the sauce over. Serve immediately.
Recipe by Namiko Chen of Just One Cookbook. All images and content on this site are copyright protected. Please do not use my images without my permission. If you’d like to share this recipe on your site, please re-write the recipe in your own words and link to this post as the original source. Thank you.


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    • Hi Sawsan! Thank you so much. I thought I was already busy before blogging, and now I actually have time to blog? Doesn’t make sense… haha. Thanks for your visit Sawsan. :-)

  1. You know what they say, the more busy you are, the more things you do! I’ve noticed that I do least when I have plenty of time on my hands…
    The chicken looks so good, though I think I would cry my eyes out grating onion…

    • Hahaha! You are funny. If you soak onion in water or put it in fridge for a while, onion won’t make you cry. 😀 I use sweet onion for this recipe (better than reg. onion), and usually they don’t make me cry for some reason. Do it fast! True, you are right about how we spend time when we have plenty of time. I complain when I don’t have anything to do, too! LOL.

      • Ah, thanks for tip! No matter how many onions I chop, my eyes just don’t seem get used to them (and I chop them almost every day) which means cry every day too. Heard it makes them more beautiful though (looking at the bright side here) :)

  2. Love this Nami, fantastic flavours! Unluckily for me when I visited San Francisco in May last year when I was still in the US, it was raining almost all the time lol but it’s one of my fav places to visit still :)

    • Hi Jen! I remember our automatic heater went on in July. It was such a cold spring/summer and it was strange. Hope you get to visit here again. :-) Thanks for your visit Jen!

  3. Arudhi@Aboxofkitchen

    またお邪魔しま~す^^ I heart garlic!!! Can`t live without it! このチキンであれば、きっとご飯はいくらでも食べれますよ ^^。

    • Hi Arudhi! 週末はどうでしたか?これね、そうなの。ご飯モリモリお代わりも食べたくなる味。やっぱり日本で過ごしてると、こういう味には白いご飯が欲しくなるでしょう?はは(笑)。

  4. Hi Nami, This is looking absolutely delightful. Loved the new combo of ingredients and the recipe is so nicely made and presented. Saving this recipe of urs and wud love to give ur version a try on the coming weekend. Have a great day….Sonia !!!

  5. Oooh, this looks so good…and simple enough for a crazy week night! YUM. Yeah, I hear ya about the blogging…at least my kids are older, but I’m having trouble finding the time to visit my friends’ blogs with my chaotic schedule this week :)

    • Hi Lizzy! Yes, it’s very easy to cook for weekday night (just like your shrimp dish!). I think once kids are little bit older, they won’t need me as much, right? They are 3 and almost 5 years old…so they still need a lot of attention from me. :-)

  6. Gotta love hair cuts! Your son will be riding a bike all alone before you know it 😉 I would LOVE to see/live in San Fransisco. Pittsburgh is very rainy!

    • Thanks Allie! I know I hope so! He’s interested in riding but he seems frustrated that he can’t ride so fast. I mean he’s so fast WITH training wheels… Come to San Francisco one day! I’ll give you a tour! 😉

  7. I love this type of 1 dish combo meal where u get to eat meat, veggie and rice all in one. I can almost smell the “Garlic Onion Sauce” over here…yum yum

  8. Mika

    We will be having this one for this week! Looks very good. Remember to just relax, Nami. Oh you need to get ready for kid’s party, I guess you will have zero time to just relax ; )

    • Mika-san, I hope you will like it! I know… I keep forgetting which date was my kids’ birthday party. >_< It'll be in 2 weeks. I gotta prepare~~~.

  9. Wow, this looks so easy and sounds delicious! I know exactly what you mean about being very busy with kids and wife duties. I lose myself in my duties all of the time. It difficult finding time to blog and visit other bloggers and “network”. It’s almost a full-time job in itself! I don’t know how some people do it. I have always been very impressed with the way you keep up though! Every time I visit a blog, you have already been there and commented, LOL! You’re always one step ahead of me :)

    • Hi Dee! Oh yeah, I feel like I have 2 jobs. Really, do I? I feel like I always see someone before me too. LOL. So funny. I’m trying to visit people as I respond to comments…and facebook has been helpful to let me know when a blogger posted something new so I can visit then. But sometimes that is overwhelming too. I wanna see your new door color! 😉

    • Hi Sandra! Haha you are always thinking about baking something. You are a true baker! I need some of your talent. I really don’t know where to start in terms of baking. Though I know it’s safe if I don’t bake looking at my figure… 😀

    • Hi Tigerfish! I hope the weather will last by the time you come back here… this week is 70Fs! Today was 72F around where I live. You are missing out! Are you having a good time and eating well?

    • 梓ちゃん、元気?今日のレシピ、どうだった?簡単だったかな?家族で美味しく食べてもらえた事を願ってます♪

  10. Nami, this chicken looks delicious with the marinate…so tasty. Love how easy and yet so tasty. Thank you for the wonderful recipe! Have a great week ahead Nami :-)

  11. I’m glad you had a good weekend, Nami. I love this recipe. Thank you for posting this. This is just the sort of dish I would cook on a weekday. Fast and easy and very tasty.

    • Thank you Adora’s Box! Thank you for your kind note. I hope you enjoy this delicious chicken. Make sure you have enough rice. :-)

  12. 忙しい中にもたくさんの人々に囲まれたNamiさんの幸せそうな週末がうかがえました♪

    • のりこさん、嬉しいコメントありがとう!あはは、たくさんの人々と美味しいものにはかないません(笑)。私は日本食くらいしか作れないので、のりこさんからはたくさん学べる事があります。色々教えて下さいね~!

    • Hi Sandra – I wonder if it was yours (I am pretty sure it was someone new) but I accidentally deleted someone’s message that was in a spam. Oops! I completely deleted that I couldn’t retrieve… sorry if it was yours. I didn’t meant it… Thanks for your comment (again) Sandra!

  13. Boneless chickless chicken breast are so under rated, I love that this recipe uses them. I feel like this would be great on the grill too! Glad you had a fun weekend doing the girly thing- I love afternoon tea.

    • Hi Lindsey! I actually use chicken thighs… I know it’s a lot healthier to eat breasts but we are so used to juicy thighs than tend-to-be-dry breasts… Me too, I love tea house and I can drink tea all day long while eating some nice little sweet treats!

  14. love your recipe and your photos are great … I know exactly what you mean about stretching yourself to do this and that … and then once you sit down to write and visit your friends sites … it all takes up time but when I think of it I would never have met all these wonderful people and read all of these wonderful inspiring recipes and stories if it weren’t for my blog. I think as the great weather returns, we should enjoy the outdoors first and then blog later :)

    • Hi Chris! Thanks for writing because now I know that everyone is in the same situation. And you are TOTALLY right about meeting these wonderful people… it’s really amazing! I’ve learned so much about different kinds of recipes in the past 1.5 months that I’m with Foodbuzz. It’s such an amazing experience. My to do list for making all the recipes I collected is growing. I don’t know how and when I get to cook all those. Thank you so much Chris!

  15. You certainly had a busy and fun weekend. Always special when you can spend time with family.
    Kudos to you for being able to fit so much into your busy schedule – I am grateful that you find time to blog and share your wonderful recipes.
    Your chicken with garlic onions sauce looks fabulous and I love the idea of a meal being served in individual dishes.
    :-) Mandy

    • Hi Mandy and thank you for your sweet words. :-) Haha, individual plates make you feel special, but it’s a lot of washing to do after meals. 😀 Thanks for coming by Mandy!

    • Hi Papa Cheong! Thanks! Oh those bowls… I forgot where I bought them, but I’m pretty sure I bought them since I came here. I bought them for creme caramel…. They are from some cooking supply store, I guess?

  16. Hi Aipi! Haha you also had a haircut? We’ve skipped one time so our hair was in horrible situation. Even just a little bit, I like getting haircut…feel pampered. :-)

  17. Yummy! I love chicken with onions… I make something similar, but I do not add garlic. I think it would make it even better! I will try and put it next time!! :-)

    • Hi Manu! I love garlic + soy sauce + mirin/sugar taste, and grated onion gives nice texture to the sauce. Hungry thinking about this food again…

  18. I don’t even have kids and I find it so hard to manage my time too. I don’t even want to think about how limited my time will be once kids are involved! =)

    As always, this dish looks delicious Nami! Sounds like a perfect dinner to me!

    • Hi Peggy! Haha but you socialize with friends and that makes you busy. See, when you become a mom (and no babysitter & no family around), you can’t socialize as much…so you sort of have more time…but feel like not having enough time… what am I talking about? Anyway, either way our life is always busy!

  19. What a lovely meal. I will be making your chicken this evening. It really sounds delicious. I hope you have a great day. Blessings…Mary

  20. This chicken looks super yummy! I love it!
    Glad you had a fun weekend. We were fortunate enough to have sunny weekend as well and a busy one LOL
    Blogging sure takes lots of work, you’ll get more of a schedule as the time goes by 😉 it’s always hard in the beginning :)

    • Hi Suzana! Yeah you’re an expert in this field so I’m listening. I’m usually not patient and want to try to figure things out. This is only natural adjustment I think. Hopefully I feel better about my time management a few months later! Thanks Suzana. :-)

  21. What a busy weekend!!! I dont have children yet, but its always nice to spend some girl time with your friends! Also, even though blogging is so much work, its also therapeutic and meeting all these like minded people with the same passion is just wonderful. This like all your recipes looks amazing! What a yummy sauce, so simple and delicious.

    • Hi Beth! Thank you. Yes, I agree. Even though it’s a lot of dedication needed to keep your own blog and to socialize with foodie friends, it’s very rewarding to me too. I was just a mom…and now I have created a blog that I can say “I did it”. :-) Oh yes, you must enjoy your kid-less time! It’s wonderful to have children, and I never regret and kids are the best thing happened to me. Yet, you lose so much of “your own” time…. just natural that way. So enjoy traveling Beth! Keep traveling and telling us all about it!

  22. StaceyN

    I’m loving so many of your recipes! I’m always on the lookout for new recipes and I’m so happy I found your site. =) I can’t wait to try some of them out.

    Oh and I noticed you have two #3’s in your directions. hehe Not a big deal just made me smile. =)

  23. Wonderful recipe! I just made it (now that I finally have Mirin) – yum! So delicious and the chicken is so tender! I cheated a little and used Magic Bullet to grind the onion and mix it with the other marinade ingredients, so it was even faster :-). Thanks, Nami, and I am only starting with your recipe collection 😉

    • By the way, I can totally relate to not having enough time to do everything that you want to do. I work full-time and decided to go back to school to further my career. On top of that, I cook and do house chores. (No yard work though thankfully.) I agree that it’s hard to catch up with social media and blog consistently.

      Hang in there though! You’re doing great!!

  24. dinah

    Hi Nami, this dish looks so delicious and I would like to know how did you make the side salad dish.. I will try this next weekend for sure! Dinah

  25. Leo Döhl

    I don’t often grate onions and it was a bit annoying when the shells separated while grating. I keep the onions in the fridge as well, but I think I heated the onion while grating – I did get some tears in my eyes 😉 After finishing grating I actually thought it was kind of fun doing it (I sometimes think it is unusual what I think is funny after doing it, but this perspective makes things seem positive).

    The sauce/marinated was fantastic: It gave the chicken a really juicy and intrinsic flavor. After having made it tonight, I put this under my recipe list under “very fast” recipe; when the onion grating and marinating time is over, the rest of the cooking, including making the side dishes (I used udon noodles and chopped fresh vegetables with a bit of spiced lemon juice to accompany your chicken recipe) just happens so fast. From the story that you gave to this recipe, I’m now not surprised that you managed to cook this with the rice and salad within a tight time gap. I’m very impressed by you. :-)

    Just like other recipes I have tried from you I will rate it again as 5 stars. I guess that I repeat this rating over and over, but I think it’s important to declare how satisfied one is with each individual recipe. So I think it’s worth repeating myself on that: 5 stars.

    Furthermore, your cookery is teaching me Japanese-style cuisine in a professional and joyful way, which adds to my enthusiasm about Japan and extending my cooking hobby. Personally, I see you as a high-class cook (and travel advisor as well; I like reading your current Japan tour) who shares her passions tremendously and such that everyone can share that enthusiasm with you.

    I’m interested to hear about your new kitchen once it’s finished. My brother and his wife also recently began replacing their kitchen in their home, but they too got delayed because the plumbs from the 70s are in a severe condition. I’ll be excited to see their new kitchen once complete in August when I visit them, and perhaps get the chance to cook for them in the kitchen. The kitchen is the heart of the house and therefore should be the best part of home! At least that’s how I see it :-)

    Sorry if this respond seems a bit long, but while writing my opinion about the delicious recipe, I felt like sharing a few more comments (the kitchen topic more relevant to your recent newsletter).


    • Hi Leo! I truly enjoyed your comment, and thanks so much for writing! I’m happy to hear you enjoyed this recipe and you gave me 5 stars! Thank you!!! I’m just a housewife and home cook…not professionally trained, but I am happy to share what I know with everyone who’s interested in Japanese cooking. :)

      The kitchen remodel is going well, but still delayed. I’m a bit worried that our video shooting will be delayed and we have to borrow our friends’ kitchen (that means all the camera and light equipments we have to move… ahhh!). I’ll keep you posted in the newsletter.

      Thank you again!!