Thursday, March 08, 2012

Sauce for Yakitori

This post is really more about the sauce than the yakitori.
Get as much chicken breast or boned chicken thigh as everybody is likely to eat.
Japanese naganegi (like a round leek) if available.
Cut meat into cubes a bit bigger than 1/2” and thread onto skewers, alternating with chunks of leek on some skewers. Leave enough room to hold the end of the skewer.
Grill, preferably over charcoal, and when a little charring is evident, pick up several skewers at a time and dip into the sauce below, allow excess to drip off a little and return to grill. Repeat until done.
Some skewers should be grilled just with salt, without sauce.

Tare or Sauce There are easier ways to make tare, but this is particularly tasty, and has a good consistency without being floury.
trimmings from chicken
ml mirin
ml soy sauce
2 spring onions, or green half of negi or dividing onion
chili pod
garlic clove
g demerara or raw sugar

Chicken trimmings - ideally about 4 wingtips, but any chicken part with plenty of skin, cartilege, and bone, but not much fat, is perfect.
Grill chicken trimmings and onion until some browning shows.
Bring mirin, soy sauce, garlic, and dried chili to the boil.
Stir in sugar.
Add chicken and onion.
Simmer for around 30 minutes - a larger batch will take around 2 hours to achieve a slightly gelatinous syrupy texture and plenty of chicken flavor.

Cool and store in a narrow glass jar - ready for dipping skewers of grilled chicken in.
Boil up "tare" after every use, and strain and add remaining tare to any new batch that you make up.

Chicken Simmered in Vinegar & Soy

I think this may be based on a Filipino adobo. Serves 4 as a main or about 10-20 as an appetizer/bento dish. This is good warm, but also great cold - the lack of oil means that it is not greasy, and the vinegar cooks to a slight but uncloying sweetness.

1-2 dried chilis
Several slices ginger
Bayleaf or two.
1 star anise if you want a more Chinese flavor.
1-3 cloves of garlic
2 T Chinese shaohsing rice wine or Japanese sake
1/3 c soy sauce
1/2 c rice vinegar or mild vinegar
1 kg chicken wings, wingsticks, or drumlets

Douse chicken in boiling water and drain.
Lay neatly in pan in a single layer.
Pour over about vinegar, soy sauce, Chinese wine or sake, and a few spoonsful of water so that liquid comes at least halfway up chicken pieces.
Sprinkle liberally with paprika (improves color, omit if you don't have any).
Add garlic cloves.
Add several slices of fresh ginger.
Add spices.
Use a drop-lid or cover roughly with silicon paper, and simmer for 1-2 hours (good crockpot dish if you are willing to move to a pan and reduce the liquid for about 30 minutes at the end, and works well in a pressure cooker too).

Kentaro's Taco Rice

This is a plate dinner to serve up to 4 (if they aren't teenagers)...a kind of flat donburi, where the rice is topped with shredded lettuce and taco fixings.

Cook enough rice for 4, and shred a pile of lettuce leaves, 4-5 leaves depending on size.

Cube one big tomato and an avocado.
Squeeze lemon or lime juice over the avocado. I like lots of lemon or lime juice over the finished dish too, especially in hot weather.

1 bag plain tostitos or nachos chips

3/4 c grated cheese

Wet seasoning mix:1.5 T tomato ketchp
2 T worcestershire sauce (Japanese - use less if using western Worcestershire sauce)
1 T sake
1 scant T red pepper, to taste
1 t soy sauce
0.5 t curry powder or ground cumin

Dry seasonings:2 pinches salt
black pepper, ground

2 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped
1 T oil
300 g ground meat (pork or beef)

Heat up a frypan, and hold your hand about 10 cm over it. When you can feel the heat but it’s not too hot, add the oil to the pan. Fry the garlic. If it’s too hot, take the pan off the heat and stir it quickly, because garlic burns very easily.

When the garlic smells good and looks golden, add meat, salt, pepper. Stir-fry it.

When the meat is mostly brown, add the wet seasoning mix and stir it in. Cook just a bit more, until there is no raw meat, and taste a bit to see if it needs more salt.
Don’t forget that the cheese and tacos are salty.

Serve the rice onto dishes. Scatter lettuce over the rice, then add a dollop of met. Top with tomatoes and avocado, another squeeze of lemon or lime if liked, and sprinkle with cheese and crumbled tostitos. Grind more pepper over if you want.