For our 50th anniversary issue of Western Living, we dug through 50 years of archives to find extra-special designers, homes, food and destinations and gathered them into one massive, celebratory magazine (on shelves soon!). This 1996 recipe—and the photoshoot that went with it—was one of the ones I kept coming back to. Chef Daryle Ryo Nagata, photographed below with his son Brendan, talks about how his Japanese roots inspire his work: he says he grew up eating his grandmother’s cooking, which was “Japanese versions of western things.” His description reminded me of my grandmother’s cooking, and this recipe is one that I think will look familiar to many Japanese Canadians—ingredients and ratios might differ slightly, but we all have a version of it.

Chef Nagata’s is a simple recipe (though heads up: it does suggest marinating overnight). This dish was made for picnicking and passing on. So 25 years later, we’re publishing it again.

Teriyaki Sauce


1/3 cup mirin
1/3 cup Japanese soy sauce
2 tbsp sugar
2 tbsp cornstarch blended with 3 tbsp cold water

Make It

1. Bring first five ingredients to a simmer.
2. Add the cornstarch mixed in cold water. Continue to simmer and stir for 5 to 8 minutes until sauce has a glazed, syrupy consistency.

Store up to 1 week in fridge; serve warm. Makes 1 cup.

Chicken Yakitori


6 6-in wooden skewers
1/4 cup sake
3 tbsp sugar
2 tbsp Japanese soy sauce
1 tbsp fresh ginger, peeled and finely chopped
3 whole boneless, skinless chicken breasts
2 green onions, sliced into 1-inch pieces
1 cup homemade Teriyaki sauce

Make It

1. Combine sake, sugar, soy sauce and ginger in a bowl.
2. Slice chicken breasts in half; slice each half into 3 square pieces.
3. Add chicken to soy mixture and marinate in fridge overnight.
4. Thread three chicken pieces on each skewer, alternating each one with two pieces of green onion. Keep pieces packed together at the pointed end of the skewer.
5. Charbroil each side on a hibachi or barbecue for 3 to 4 minutes.
6. Lightly brush with Teriyaki sauce while cooking.
7. When chicken is cooked, remove from grill; coat with remaining sauce. Serves 6.

This story was originally published in July 2021.