Tag Archives: chicken

Chicken Karaage (Japanese Fried Chicken)

In my last post about the rice burger options, I mentioned chicken karage, or “Japanese fried chicken”. Karaage is characterized by its very light coating of potato starch, or cornstarch or even just all purpose flour, before deep frying. It differs in that way from the heavier breading in that other, classic, fried Japanese dish, the cutlet or katsu. In Japan, skin-on chicken thighs are preferred for their juiciness and taste.

Knowing how much I don’t like frying, it took a long time to get psyched up enough to make this dish. And, it was mainly driven by the fact that I had made a batch of fried donuts earlier and wanted to use up the oil for a second time before recycling it. (But that’s another story.)

After watching some Youtube videos and researching a simple recipe that I thought I could manage, I finally did it. (PS: I passed on the recipe that required frying the chicken THREE times at differing temperatures. I wonder why?) This is the recipe I came up with after combining elements from several. I ‘borrowed’ the spicy mayo dip from the site cited.

Chicken Karaage – serves 2-4

4 boneless, skin on, chicken thighs (~1 lb/450 gm)
1/2-2/3 cup of cornstarch, or half cornstarch and all purpose flour
4 cups (~1 litre) vegetable oil, for frying

For serving

lemon wedges
mayonnaise, Japanese Kewpie mayo or Hellman’s are delicious

Chicken Marinade

3 tbsp soy sauce
2 tbsp sake
1 tbsp ginger juice (grate about 1-2 inches of fresh ginger and squeeze out the juice)
2-3 cloves of garlic, grated

Spicy Mayonnaise Dip/Sauce
recipe from the Just Hungry web site

1/2 cup of Kewpie Mayonnaise
3 tbsp Sriracha
3 tbsp soy sauce

Combine the dip ingredients and refrigerate.

In a large bowl, combine the marinade ingredients.

Cut up the thighs into fourths. Marinate the chicken thighs for at least 30 minutes, but less than 1 hr, as the salt in the soy sauce will draw out the moisture from the chicken and toughen it.

In a large bowl, add cornstarch. Drain each piece of chicken of marinade, one at a time, and evenly coat with the cornstarch. Shake off the excess cornstarch. Place coated chicken onto a clean dry plate and let dry for about 5 minutes before frying.

In a large container, suitable for deep frying, add the oil and preheat to 350 deg F. You want the oil level to cover the chicken by about an inch or an inch and a half.

Set up a plate with paper towels on it for draining/wicking the fat off the chicken before transferring the chicken to a wire cooling rack

When the oil is at the proper temperature, fry a few pieces of chicken at a time for 5-6 minutes total, turning after a few minutes. You want the chicken to be a golden brown colour and crunchy. Small bubbles may begin coming off the chicken as the fat in the skin begins to render out.

Remove the chicken pieces from the fat with a slotted spoon or wire scoop, shake for about 10 seconds to remove most of the oil and then place onto the paper towels for a few minutes, turning over to drain off both sides, then transfer to the wire rack.

Serve the chicken with a squeeze of lemon juice and dip into mayonnaise if desired.

I had some leftover karaage so I served it on top of leftover asparagus couscous with a drizzle of spicy mayonnaise on top.

Japanese Chicken Curry with Roux from Scratch

Chicken curry (kare) is quite popular in Japan and most households apparently purchase the ready made packages of roux instead of making it from scratch. Over the years, I’ve made Japanese curry several times, always using the boxed roux cubes. However, as I looked at the box of Glico Curry ($2.29 CDN) in my pantry recently, I had a though … how hard can it be to make my own?

So I gave it a try.

I used the recipe for roux found here and ended up with about 120 gm of roux. I was debating on whether to use all, half or one third of the roux for the small amount of chicken curry that I was going to make. In the end, I decided to use half, or 60 gm, of the roux I made and freeze the rest.

Japanese Curry Roux from Scratch

Japanese Chicken Curry

Japanese Chicken Curry – serves 3-4

<1/2 lb/200 gm chicken breast, cut into bite sized pieces
1 tbsp vegetable oil
3 medium potatoes, peeled and cut into bite sized pieces
1 medium carrot, peeled and chopped into roughly triangular pieces
1 medium onion, half finely diced and the other half sliced thinly
2 cloves garlic, finely minced
2 cups chicken stock
salt, to taste (start with 1/2 tsp)
1/8-1/4 tsp cayenne pepper *
1 tsp honey
1/4 cup/60 gm curry roux**
1/4 cup frozen peas
water, as needed

* Start with the smaller amount of cayenne pepper, the larger amount makes it HOT.
** The roux is made with unsalted butter so all the salt in the dish is added here.

In a medium sized saute pan, heat the oil over medium heat and add the finely diced onions. Saute the onions until they start getting golden brown around the edges. Turn up the heat to medium-high, add the chicken and saute until no longer pink and starting to get browned.

Add the minced garlic, carrots and the potatoes and saute for 3-5 min until the potatoes begin to get tender. Add the salt, sliced onions and chicken stock. When the stock comes to a boil, cover and turn down the heat to a simmer and cook for another 10-15 minutes until you can pass a fork through the carrots and potatoes and the meat is tender.

Break up the roux into small pieces and add to the stock, stirring to dissolve. (NOTE: If you didn’t add any cayenne pepper to the roux and decide you want it a bit spicy, add the lower amount of cayenne pepper and stir through.)

Add the honey and stir well to mix through. Taste for seasoning and add a bit more salt if needed. You may also add more cayenne pepper.

Add the frozen peas. The heat will be enough to thaw and warm them through.

Your curry will gradually thicken while cooking. If you decide it’s too thick, add water as needed to dilute. Remember if will thicken even more on sitting.

Serve chicken curry over rice or noodles.

Pasta Al Limone (Lemon Pasta)

Today’s supper came to the top of the posting queue because it’s an amazing combination of two simply prepared dishes, a main and a pasta side, and a green salad of your choice.

I’ve made pan fried breaded chicken cutlets before so that wasn’t a big deal. It was the pasta dish that took it over the top.

The recipe came from this Youtube video but the ‘bones’ of the recipe are very simple: whipping cream, the zest of one lemon and a tablespoon of butter. Simmer together for a few minutes in a large saute pan until the sauce reduces a bit, add some grated Parmesan or Romano cheese and your freshly cooked pasta, stir it together tasting for seasoning (salt and pepper) and then serve with some more grated cheese on top. The recipe suggests adding some lemon juice as well, but, in my opinion, it didn’t need any. If you have a fetish for something green for a garnish, sprinkled some freshly chopped parsley over the top.

And gobble it down before it gets too cool.

Forget taking pictures for your blog.

FORGET it, I tell you!

Chicken Meatball Soup

It’s that time of year again … soup making time.

Not that I don’t make soups year round. It’s just that I kick it into high gear when the weather gets cooler.

This chicken meatball soup uses lean breast meat ground up in my food processor and a half package of chopped spinach. The result is delicious and filling.

Chicken Meatball  and Spinach Soup – serves 4-6

Meatballs – makes 16 meatballs (292 gm, divided into 16 x 18 gm portions)

210 gm chicken breast, ground
1 egg
3/4 cup seasoned Italian breadcrumbs
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/8 tsp several shakes of garlic powder
1/4 tsp dried parsley
1/4 tsp salt
1/8 tsp ground black pepper

For the Soup

3/4 cup orzo, tubettini, ditalini or other small pasta
4 cups chicken stock
1 cup carrots, peeled and sliced thinly
1 cup chopped spinach, frozen and thawed*

* Swiss chard was used in the original recipe that inspired this.

In a medium bowl, combine the ground chicken, bread crumbs, egg, Parmesan, garlic, parsley, salt, and pepper. Mix well, then form into 1-inch (2 cm) meatballs. You should have 16-18 total.

In a large pot, heat 1 tbsp of olive oil over medium heat. Sear the meatballs on all sides until golden brown, 4-5 minutes. Remove from the pot and set aside.

In the same pot, heat the remaining tbsp of oil. Add the onion, carrot, and celery and cook, stirring occasionally until tender, 3-4 minutes. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant, 1-2 minutes.

Add the chicken stock and bay leaf. Cover and bring to a boil.

Once boiling, add the pasta and meatballs. Cover and simmer for 7-8 minutes, until the pasta is tender.

Add the Swiss chard, cover, and cook for 2-3 minutes until the chard has wilted.

Add the Parmesan cheese and season to taste with salt and pepper. Add the lemon juice.

Ladle into bowls and serve.

Honetsuki Dori (Crispy Bone-in Chicken)

This Japanese dish features chicken legs prepared very simply. The result is a juicy piece of meat inside with a crunchy skin on the outside.

The only ‘fussy’ aspect of the cooking process is preparing the chicken oil or fat flavoured with ginger and garlic, in which the chicken is roasted. If you have some rendered chicken fat (schmaltz) in your fridge … what do you mean you don’t … you can save yourself a lot of work by poaching a peeled and crushed clove of garlic and a slice of fresh ginger in the chicken fat for 10 minutes.

A bonus from rendering down the chicken oil or fat is the resulting crunchy chicken skin.

The recipe I am including below was transcribed from a Youtube video and edited for clarity.

In Japanese restaurants that serve this dish, you’re given a choice between hinadori (young chicken) or oyadori (adult chicken). Apparently, although the former is more tender and easier to chew, the latter is preferred by many for its distinctive flavour. They seem to be equally juicy.

Honetsuki Dori (Bone-In Roast Chicken) – serves 2 people

2 bone-in chicken legs (drumstick and thigh)
1 clove garlic
1 tsp salt
large amount of coarsely ground pepper (1 tsp)

4 tbsp Chi-yu (see below), for roasting

Chi-yu (Chicken oil)

300 gm chicken skin
1 slice ginger (~1/4 inch thick)
1 clove garlic

Preparing the chicken legs:

Split open the chicken legs on the underside (not the skin side) down to the bone. Trim off the excess skin and fat.

With a fork, prick the meat and skin side thoroughly.

Finely grate the garlic and spread it over the meat (flesh side). Sprinkle the salt all over the meat. Then the pepper. Massage the garlic paste and spices into the meat. Sprinkle some more pepper over the meat. Place the legs into a dish, cover tightly with food wrap and refrigerate overnight.

The two legs after being split open along the bone and rubbed with garlic paste, salt and pepper.

To cook, bring the meat to room temperature.

Preparing the chicken oil:

Smash the slice of ginger. Smash the peeled clove of garlic as well. Set aside.

Cut up the chicken skin into roughly 1-1 1/4 inch pieces.

Preheat a wok over low heat. Add the coarsely chopped chicken skin and fry for about 20 minutes, stir occasionally. Add the smashed clove of garlic and the ginger slice. Stir fry for another 10 minutes. Drain off the chicken oil.

(NOTE: Reserve the crispy skin for eating as a snack.)

Cooking the chicken legs:

Preheat the oven to 400 deg F/200 deg C.

Add 2 tbsp of the chicken oil to each of 2 trays. Add the chicken ( skin side down) and roast for 10 min. Turn over and roast for another 10 min (skin side up).

Raise the heat to 480 deg F/250 deg C and roast for another 5 min, until golden brown. Serve on preheated plate. Pour some chicken oil over the chicken.

NOTE: The skin wasn’t crispy enough so I turned on the broiler to HI and broiled the chicken with the pan in the middle of the oven for 3-5 min.

To Serve: Tear apart a leaf or two of cabbage, wash and spin dry.  Make 2-3 onigiri and garnish with black sesame seeds and yellow pickled radish (takuwan). Dip both the chunks of cabbage and the onigiri into the chicken oil.

Review:  Delicious. The skin loses its crispy texture when reheated but is still nice and juicy. If possible, only roast as many legs as will be eaten at one time.

Omurice in a Mug

The classic omurice (watch Tampopo for an intriguing Japanese food referencing movie) is basically an omelette wrapped around fried rice … a delicious repurposing of the leftover rice dish. Ketchup features prominently in seasoning the rice and garnishing the omelette.

TabiEats has a delicious, made from scratch version, which is made in a microwave, in a lot less time. The only tricky part is the wattage of your respective microwave but, after your first omurice, you can adjust quickly.

I’ve written out the list of ingredients and instructions from the video below, with some clarifying information, so you can make your own, but watch the video linked earlier. It’s informative and fun.

Omurice in a Mug – makes 1
from TabiEats

1 1/2 oz/42.5 gm chicken, cut into bite-sized pieces
1/8 onion, finely chopped (or 1 tsp fried onion)
2 tbsp mixed vegetables (frozen corn, carrots, peas)
3 tbsp ketchup, plus an additional 1 tbsp ketchup for garnish
salt and pepper, to taste (1/4 tsp salt and 1/8 tsp to start)
1 tbsp butter
1/2 cup Japanese shortgrain or sushi rice, washed well and drained
1/2 cup water
1 large egg

Put all ingredients, except the egg, into a large mug. (The mug should have a 1 1/4 – 1 1/2 cup capacity.) Give the contents a good stir so the ingredients are combined.

Crumple a sheet of parchment paper and lay it on the surface of the rice mixture. Loosely cover with a sheet of plastic wrap.

Microwave for 2 minutes 30 seconds at 600 watts (60%). Carefully open the plastic wrap and give the contents a quick mix. Cover and microwave at 300 watts (30%) for 10-12 minutes. (NOTE: Depending on your microwave, you can use defrost mode, which is 30% in my microwave.)

Carefully peel off the plastic wrap and take out the parchment paper. Discard the parchment paper.

Whisk the egg well and pour it over the top of the rice. Cover the mug loosely with the plastic wrap and microwave for 2-3 minutes, at 200 watts, until egg is cooked. Don’t overcook!

Serve the omurice with a tablespoon of ketchup and garnish with peas.

Here’s a picture of the traditional omurice from a previous post.

And the contents of the mug turned out into a soup bowl … you can kind of see the chicken, carrots, peas and corn.

Creamy Chicken Piccata for Two

Meal planning strategy: I haven’t cooked anything Italian in some time, there was a jar of capers languishing in the fridge and a couple of boneless, skinless, chicken breasts in the freezer, so I looked for a recipe for Chicken Piccata that used ingredients that I already had. The breasts weighed a bit over a pound so I split them horizontally into four, more or less equal sized portions, and made some adjustments to the recipe I found here since I wanted to toss the pasta in the sauce.

Chicken Piccata – serves 2, generously

200 gm fettuccine, linguine or spaghetti

2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, ~1 pound/454 gm
2 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp unsalted butter, divided

For flouring chicken cutlets
1/4 cups all purpose flour
1/8 tsp salt
pinch ground black pepper
1 1/2-2 tbsp grated Parmesan cheese

For lemon sauce
3/4 cup chicken stock, or a dry white wine
1/4 cup whipping cream (optional)
1 tbsp lemon juice
2 tbsp brined capers, drained
1 clove garlic, finely minced or 1/8 tsp garlic powder (optional)

1 tbsp fresh chopped parsley or 1-2 tsp dried parsley, for garnish
3-4 thin slices of lemon, for garnish

Cook the pasta according to package directions. Drain, stop the cooking by transferring the noodle to cold water and then, if needed to wait for the sauce, transfer the noodles to warm water.

To make chicken cutlets, cut each chicken breast horizontally into two equal sized pieces or butterfly and cut in half. If the thickness of the cutlets is uneven, put them between two pieces of plastic wrap and pound them with a meat hammer to 1/4 inch thickness.

In a shallow pan or pie tin, mix together the flour, salt, pepper, and grated Parmesan. Rinse the chicken pieces quickly in water, drain well and dredge them in the flour mixture, until well coated.

Heat the olive oil and 1 tablespoon of the butter in a large skillet over medium/medium-high heat and when heated, add the chicken cutlets. Do not crowd the pan to ensure even cooking. Cook in half batches. Brown well on each side, about 3 minutes per side. Remove the chicken from the pan and transfer to a plate with a rim to retain any juices that may be released by the breasts. Cook the other breasts in the same manner. Cover to keep warm.

Add the chicken stock or white wine, lemon juice, and capers to the pan. Use a spatula to scrape up any browned bits. Reduce the sauce by half. (NOTE: For additional lemon flavour, add the sliced lemons at this point so the lemon oil from the zest can infuse into the sauce. If your sauce volume seems low or you want a creamy sauce, whisk in the whipping cream and let reduce for a few minutes.)

Whisk in the remaining 1 tablespoon of butter (cut into 2-3 pieces), a piece at a time until each piece just melts. This may not be necessary if you’re using the whipping cream as that will thicken the sauce.

Drain the pasta well. Add the pasta to the saute pan so it can warm in the sauce, if it’s cooled down. Divide the pasta between two plates.

Plate the chicken over the pasta and serve with the sauce poured over the top. Sprinkle with parsley before serving and add a slice or two of the lemon for garnish.

I didn’t notice that I hadn’t sprinkled the parsley over the top until after I’d plated the dish. Oh well…

I set aside two of the cutlets for use in other dishes as there was too much chicken for two servings.

Chicken Knish (Trial #1)

I’ve been meaning to make a batch of  knish for some time … years actually. But something always got in my way. I’m home sick today so I pulled a half pound of raw, cubed, chicken breasts out of the freezer, thawed it enough so I could mince/grind it up in my food processor and made what was the easiest dough/filling recipe that I found in my internet searches.

I should have had my suspicions when there were no reviews posted.

Oh, well. You live and learn.

The recipe wasn’t a complete FAIL and the knishes tasted alright, but there were some issues.

The dough – Very soft and wet. I kneaded in some more flour before oiling the plastic wrap, wrapping the dough up in it, and then refrigerating the dough while I made the filling.

The filling – I eyeballed a ‘cup’ of chopped chicken breast to equal about 1/2 lb/227 gm and froze it away a couple of days ago. However, the directions (1 tbsp of filling) seemed … off. And it was. A cup comes out to about SIXTEEN tablespoons, even if you ignore the contribution from the small grated carrot and chopped onion.

So, did that mean I was to roll out sixteen circles and fill them? The problem was that I didn’t have a HOPE of rolling out that miniscule amount of dough thin enough in order to do so. I rolled out the dough about 1/8th of an inch thick and was able to cut out four (3 3/4 inch) circles. I divided the filling into four portions and shaped them into balls which I placed on top of each of the circles of dough. Picking the knishes UP was another problem. And the dough was SO soft and sticky that wrapping it around the giant ball of filling was almost impossible as it kept tearing. I was determined to succeed however. Because I’m FRUGAL and didn’t intend to discard the trimmings from the dough, I gathered them up and roughly shaped and rolled them out into a FIFTH circle of dough. Then, I re-portioned the chicken filling so I could fill all five of the knishes.

I floured my hands and shaped the knishes as best as I could. The last knish was shaped a bit differently as I wrapped the dough completely around the meat filling.

The baking temperature – I did a fast conversion of the baking temperature (180 deg C /~350 deg F) but realized that the dough wasn’t getting as brown as I wanted in the time suggested, so I increased the temperature to 375 deg F, for the last 15 minutes. And then I baked the knishes for another 10 minutes. I even turned on the broiler for a few minutes but they were still pale.

The knishes were baked on a dark metal baking sheet lined with parchment paper and the bottom was lovely and brown. It was also HARD. The sides though were nice and tender, even if pale. The filling was moist and bouncy, so it was not over-baked. Even without any dipping sauce (Dijon mustard or ketchup), the knish I ate was very tasty.

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Winner, Winner Chicken … Dinner to Start

A sale on whole, fresh chicken is almost as good as one on whole fresh turkeys. And it happens a lot more often. On this occasion, I came home with two whole chickens, about four pounds each for about sixteen dollars. I knew that I wanted to spatch-cock and roast one, but the other … that was decided by fate.

Roasted Spatch-Cocked Chicken – Yes, there ARE four wings in that picture.

Dinner – roasted chicken leg, mashed potatoes with drippings gravy and carrot coins

I cut up and poached the thighs and two half breasts from the second chicken along with half an onion, a carrot, a stick of celery and some aromatics and made chicken stock for the soup below.

Chicken Chile Verde Soup

(Take 2) Chicken Chile Verde Soup – serves 6

1 tbsp olive or vegetable oil
1/2 cup chopped onion
1 clove garlic, minced (substitute with 1/8 tsp garlic powder)
4 cups chicken stock
1/2 cup water
1/4 -1/2 cup masa harina
1 1/2 cup green enchilada sauce
1 can (540 ml/2 cups) black beans, drained and rinsed
1 can frozen or fresh corn kernels
1/2 jalapeno pepper, diced or 1 4 oz can diced green chiles (omitted)
1 tsp chile powder
1 tsp ground cumin
1/2 – 1 tsp salt
1/8 – 1/4 tsp ground black pepper
2 cups cooked, shredded chicken (2 thighs and 2 half breasts)
1 cup shredded Monterey Jack or old Cheddar cheese
4 oz cream cheese, softened to room temperature (optional)

Garnish: Additional grated cheese and crushed tortilla chips for topping, if desired

Heat the oil in a large saute pan over medium heat. Add the onion and cook until softened, about 5 minutes. Add in the garlic and cook for another minute. Add the chile powder and ground cumin and saute for a couple of minutes.

Add in the chicken broth.

Combine the water with the masa harina, whisking until smooth. Pour into the pot along with the  enchilada sauce, black beans, corn and jalapeno or green chiles. Season with the salt and pepper to taste. Cook for 30-40 minutes, until thickened.

Stir in the grated cheese and cream cheese. Cook until the cheese has melted, whisking if needed, 5-10 minutes. Stir in the chicken and cook until heated through.

Note: This soup will get thicker upon standing. If you like a thinner soup, use the lesser amount of masa harina. I omitted the cream cheese because I needed it for something else but it gives the soup a very creamy, rich flavour.

There’s still a container of stock left so I made a batch of matzoh balls with the fat skimmed from the stock, after refrigerating it. I poached the matzoh balls in salted water and froze them away when they had cooled, making it easy to throw together the soup when I’m short of time … and hungry.

Fast and Easy Chicken Chile Verde Enchiladas

I recently bought a couple of fresh, whole chickens on sale, and broke them down for several dishes. With a leftover cup of of shredded chicken (breast and thigh meat) and some odds and ends from the fridge and freezer, I made a small casserole dish of enchiladas.

Fast and Easy Chile Verde Enchiladas – makes 4 enchiladas

2 10 inch flour tortillas, cut in half

Enchilada Filling

1 cup shredded cooked chicken (breast and thighs)
1/2 cup grated cheddar cheese
2 oz cream cheese, softened to room temperature

Enchilada Topping

1/4 cup sour cream
1/4 cup chile verde enchilada sauce
1/2 cup grated cheddar cheese

Garnishes – 2-3 thinly sliced green onions, hot sauce, diced avocado, salsa

Preheat the oven to 375 deg F.

Lightly oil a small baking dish large enough to hold your enchiladas. For the filling, divide the chicken, cream cheese and cheddar cheese among the 4 tortillas. Roll up tightly and fit into the baking dish.

For the topping, combine the sour cream and enchilada sauce in a small bowl and spread over the top of the enchiladas. Sprinkle the cheddar cheese over the top and bake in the preheated oven until the topping is nicely browned and bubbly, about 30 minutes. If you wish, turn on the broiler for 2-3 minutes for a browner crust.

Serve with a garnish of sliced green onions, diced avocados etc.