Happy Donabe Life

Braised Chicken in Black Vinegar Sauce

Tori No Kurozu-ni

The main ingredients of this dish are just chicken and shiitake mushrooms, yet this dish can make such a hearty meal. The meat is so succulent and falls off the bone easily even with chopsticks. The special black vinegar from Kyoto gives the umami-packed layer of flavors to this easy one-pot dish.


Classic-style Donabe (2.5-qt/ 2,500 ml or larger)




  • 4 chicken legs
  • 2 tablespoons Liquid Shio-Koji (can substitute with 2 teaspoons sea salt)
  • 1 cup (240 ml) water
  • 1/4 cup (60 ml) sake
  • 2 tablespoons raw brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup (80 ml) soy sauce
  • 1/4 cup (60 ml) Japanese black vinegar (can substitute with rice vinegar)
  • 3 cloves garlic, lightly smashed
  • 3 green onions, green part only
  • 1 knob ginger, thinly-sliced
  • 3 pieces whole dry red chili peppers (optional)
  • 6 oz (180 g) large shiitake mushrooms, cut into half
  • Chopped cilantro for serving
  • Freshly-ground black pepper for serving
  • La-yu (chili oil) for serving


  1. In a resealable plastic bag, combine the chicken legs and liquid shio-koji and mix well. Tightly seal and let it refrigerated for at least 2 hours to overnight.
  2. Combine the water, sake, sugar, soy sauce, and black vinegar. Add the chicken, garlic, green onion, ginger, and dry chili peppers in the donabe.
  3. Cover with lid and set over medium-high heat. As soon as the broth starts to boil, reduce the heat to medium-low. Skim as necessary. Line the surface with an otoshibuta (drop lid) or a piece of parchment paper and cover with lid again. Simmer for 20 – 25 minutes.
  4. Add the shiitake mushrooms, and continue to simmer for 15 minutes or until the  broth is reduced by almost half from the original level.
  5.  Turn off the heat and let it rest (with the lid on) for 10 – 15 minutes.
  6. Divide into individual bowls and top with some cilantro and black pepper. Drizzle some la-yu to enjoy.

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