Cobra Kai | Mama LaRusso’s Chicken Cacciatore

Mama LaRusso's Chicken Cacciatore inspired by Cobra Kai. Recipe by The Gluttonous Geek.

Season three of Cobra Kai is now streaming on Netflix! 

Yes, indeed! Another season showcasing the war between a weeaboo car salesman and 80s-entrapped McDojo leader and their teenage karate cults. Don’t get me wrong. I love this show. I love it for its merits and its flaws. And like an Italian-American grandmother, I cook for the ones I love.

Click here to skip to the recipe for Mama LaRusso’s Chicken Cacciatore.

Balancing Life’s Flavors

Cobra Kai espouses several themes, but all ultimately resolve within the concept of balance. Both Daniel and Johnny struggle to balance their perceptions and reality, the past and the present, and themselves and those around them.

Johnny brings back Cobra Kai in its aggressive “strike first” glory. Daniel counteracts in reviving Miyagi-Do with a “defense only” message. Though the truth is you need a balance of both philosophies, or you will become lost in either reckless destruction or stagnating inaction.

You must strike first after careful reflection. Strike hard with the authority of your resolve. And show no mercy in accepting and finding peace with the consequences.

So with that, I chose to make a recipe inspired by this concept of balance — between Daniel’s wife and mother, tradition vs. innovation. I’m talking about some Chicken Cacciatore made by both Mamas LaRusso.

Italian-Okinawan Fusion

I picked this moment, from Season 1, Episode 8: Molting, for its conflict between Daniel’s wife Amanda, and his mother, Lucille. Lucille throws barbs at Amanda about home-cooking over pre-packaged items. Amanda expresses the difficulty of cooking from scratch while running a business. 

We ultimately see that they both value balancing their passion with their responsibility. Before the end of the episode, they cook up Lucille’s recipe for Chicken Cacciatore together.

So with that, I thought I should make this recipe in balancing the old LaRusso traditions with the new. We see a love for Japanese food in Daniel’s current household. In contrast, he was raised in a thoroughly Italian-American family. That’s why we’re going to cook this Cobra Kai-inspired Italian dish with some Japanese pantry staples.

A traditional Chicken Cacciatore, or “Hunter’s Chicken,” involves stewing chicken in a flavorful tomato sauce with sliced bell peppers. Technically, we still did that — with some bone-in chicken thighs and my favorite sofrito-based San Marzano tomato sauce recipe.

But then I swapped in some shiitake mushrooms, green onions, soy sauce, and sesame oil. Wine and spaghetti are part of any good cacciatore, so I threw in some sake and brown rice spaghetti to marry these flavors in balancing harmony. Plus, if you use tamari instead of soy sauce, this dish easily becomes gluten-free.

So kick up the heat with some red pepper flakes and shred the parmesan. This umami mantis kick to the face will have you say “Konnichiwa” to new traditions. You, too, can eat like a LaRusso. I leave it up to you, though, in deciding whether to serve this with a bonsai tree on the side. 

Mama LaRusso's Chicken Cacciatore inspired by Cobra Kai. Recipe by The Gluttonous Geek.

Sing for your Supper!

If you plan to cook the recipe off the site, keep scrolling. However, while access to recipes on the blog will always be free, I now have printable PDF recipe cards and thematic cook-along Spotify playlists as rewards for those who choose to support the blog.

The printable recipe cards and playlist for Mama LaRusso’s Chicken Cacciatore will be available as a $2 donor reward on my Ko-Fi page until the next post goes up.


You can instead join my Patreon community at the “Sing for your Supper” level ($1/month) for access to the playlists or the “It’s All in the Cards” level ($5/month) or higher for access to ALL of my blog recipe cards and playlists. Patrons of all reward tiers will even receive a welcome gift of my Lord of the Rings recipe cards and playlists from January 2019 to get you started.

Cobra Kai Kitchen

Mama LaRusso's Chicken Cacciatore inspired by Cobra Kai. Recipe by The Gluttonous Geek.

Mama LaRusso's Chicken Cacciatore

Serves 4.

Equipment: Oven, stovetop, 12-inch skillet, cheese grater, large casserole dish with a lid, and paper towels.


  • 1 yellow onion
  • 1-2 carrots
  • 1-2 red bell peppers, thinly sliced
  • 3-4 green onion
  • 1/2 Tb Italian seasoning
  • 15 oz. can crushed tomatoes
  • 2 Tb sesame oil
  • 2.5 oz shiitake mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 parmesan cheese rind
  • 4 bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 3/4 cup sake
  • 2 Tb tomato paste
  • 2 Tb soy sauce
  • kosher salt
  • brown rice spaghetti for serving


  1. Preheat the oven to 375°F. Grate the cheese off the parmesan rind and chop the green parts of the green onions. Set aside in separate prep dishes.
  2. Pulse the onion, carrot, and white parts of the green onions in the food processor until finely chopped. Set aside.
  3. Preheat the skillet for 3 to 5 minutes. Pat the chicken completely dry with paper towels.
  4. Add a tablespoon of sesame oil to the skillet. When hot, liberally season the chicken skin with kosher salt, place skin-side-down in the oil, and sear for 6 minutes.  
  5. Season the other side of the chicken with kosher salt, flip, and cook for another 5 minutes. Transfer to a plate.
  6. Scrape the carrot and onion mix into the hot fat and stir-cook for two minutes. Then stir in the peppers, mushrooms, and remaining sesame oil into the pan and stirfry another 7 minutes.
  7. Add the garlic and cook for 30 seconds before pouring a half cup of sake and a tablespoon of soy sauce. Stir for a minute before transferring the whole lot to the baking dish.
  8. Stir in the crushed tomatoes, tomato paste, Italian seasoning, and the remaining sake and soy sauce. Nestle the chicken thighs into the sauce, cover the dish, and bake in the oven for 35 minutes.
  9. Allow the covered pot to cool while cooking four servings of brown rice spaghetti according to package directions. Serve.

The Gluttonous Geek