A classic of the Japanese restaurant scene nowadays, this type of chicken is borne of the grill and is at it's best over a live fire. The type most commonly seen in American restaurants is more of a glaze or sauce applied during and after cooking. My families recipe uses marination of the chicken in the 'tare' or sweetened shoyu liquid. I use a two step process now, the marinade and the glaze, with the glaze providing not only a little more flavor immedieately to the tongue, but, some nice color and shine. That ain't no photoshop shine...
The ingredients, other than the chicken, consist of shoyu, mirin, sake or sherry, grated ginger, grated garlic, black pepper and sugar. In our family kitchen, the shoyu (soy sauce) of choice is Yamasa brand, we like the taste and salt level of this brand. There are more expensive brands, and I have made the same recipe with tamari, but this is our classic. Mirin is a sweet sake that is often used for sweetening Japanese foods in lieu of, or in addition to, sugar. it provides a complexity to the sweetness. I would have used sake, but, I forgot to buy some, so it was what I could find, which was the marsala. I find that the alcohol is important in this recipe as I do not heat the sauce and the alcohol helps to 'marry' the flavors. Without the sherry or sake, I go with mild heating and a little acidity from vinegar or citrus juice.
Now for that second batch of marinade, it is gonna become a glaze and sauce. I make the same recipe and add honey to create a little more sweetness and to get the character of glazing that honey possesses in cooking. I will use this glaze raw during the last half of the cooking process. I quickly glaze the chicken every 8 to 9 minutes. It is more like slopping it on. My goal is to end up with this at the end.
I used to cook for our church, and they used a different process, in which the chicken was layered with rock salt which served to pull off moisture from the meat. The boxes of chicken and rock salt would be place in flower shipping boxes and stored in the coolers on one of the flower nurseries over night. Then they were cooked over an open pit, it was 4ft wide and 25ft long behind the church building. The chicken would be dipped into large vats of the sauce/marinade along the way. That was also some good chicken.
1 Cup shoyu
1/4 Cup each sake, mirin
1 Tablespoon grated ginger
1 Tablespoon grated garlic
1 scant Tablespoon ground black pepper
1/2 cup to 2/3 cup sugar
add 1/4 to 1/3 cup honey to above recipe
Combine all ingredients and allow to sit for 1 hour. Place in a watertight container and shake to make sure all ingredients are combined.