Chikuzen Chicken

From that wonderful “Japanese Cooking, A Simple Art”, comes this nice little dish. It doesn’t take long to make.

Ingredients

  • 1 pound of boned chicken thighs, with skin
  • 6 fresh shiitake mushrooms
  • 2 medium carrots (American size) or one big one (oriental size)
  • 3-4 inchs medium bamboo shoot, washed (or 1/3 cup of canned bamboo shoot)
  • 1 medium burdock root, scrubbed with brush (or 5 small ones from a pack)
  • 1 cake konnyaku (devil’s tongue jelly)
  • 1 cup dashi
  • 2 Tbsps sugar
  • 3 Tbsps light soy sauce
  • 2 Tbsps dark soy sauce
  • 2 oz snow peas

Preparation

  1. Prepare the chicken meat by cutting it into 3/4 in cubes
  2. Scrape, peel, or trim the veggies as required (this does not apply to the snow peas). Then cut into rolling wedges (meaning, cut out wedges as you roll the veggie)
  3. Cut konnyaku into chunks the same size as the veggies
  4. Keep burdock in water

Instruction

  1. Heat 1 or 2 Tbsps of peanut oil, as little as you can, in a medium size pot at high until it’s really hot
  2. Dump the chicken first, stir quickly once
  3. Then dump the following, in this order, stir once in between for coating
    1. konnyaku
    2. mushrooms
    3. carrot
    4. bamboo shoot
    5. burdock
  4. Stir-fry with wooden spoon, about 3 min, just so all the ingredients are coated with the oil and cooked partially.
  5. Pour dashi over the fried meat and veggies to barely cover
  6. bring to a boil over high heat, then add the sugar and soy sauces
  7. Cover with a drop-lid (which you probably don’t have and will not find, see below on how to improvise)
  8. Simmer till reduced by 30%, remove from heat.
  9. Put the snow peas for color just before serving.

Tips

To improvise a “drop-lid”, take a square piece of parchment paper, fold it along the diagonal, then fold it again and again and once more (so now it’s 1/16th the original size). Cut around the top (so the end result is a circle when unfolding it), and, very important, cut a small piece from the tip of the triangle. Unfold it and you have a circular piece of paper with a hole inside. The whole point is for some steam to leave in a simmer while on high heat. Clever, huh?

I served it on rice (very Western since Far Eastern people eat rice separately). The book recommends eating with a sesame squid….

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