Saturday, 14 September 2013

Japanese Karaage Chicken

Oh wow, what a weekend for New Zealand sport! I became completely engrossed in the All Blacks v South Africa game last night (hence not getting this recipe posted as promised) and this morning it was all on for Team New Zealand... what a race! A shame we didn't win, but what a dramatic moment when they nearly capsized. I was at the swimming pool at the time, and heard on the radio that it had all been a bit exciting, so made hubby find me the replay!

While I was out swimming my lovely family had made waffles for breakfast. What a fantastic way to come home - the heavenly aroma of freshly baked waffles! The kids had even managed to save a couple for me, although I think that was more due to hubby holding some back rather than them being overly generous! Delicious gluten free, dairy free waffles though, and a good way to get the kids involved with the cooking as they really enjoy mixing up the batter and helping pour it on the waffle machine. Served with some yummy fresh fruit they make for a fun weekend treat. 

On Friday I received a copy of the latest issue of Dish magazine. This is a lovely glossy food mag, which always inspires me to try new things. This issue had a gorgeous section about Japanese food, and one of the recipes was for Karaage Chicken. This happens to be one of hubby's favourites on any Japanese menu, but it is usually not the healthiest thing on the menu as it is cooked in a lot of oil. I decided to clean the recipe up and see if I could get the tick of approval. I served it with steamed rice, cabbage salad, carrot pickle, and roasted pumpkin and eggplant to make a full meal. 

Here is the meal we ended up with...SO delicious!! Fresh, vibrant flavours and totally satisfying. Yum!

From bottom left: Steamed rice with Bonito flakes, roasted pumpkin and eggplant, cabbage salad, karaage chicken, carrot and daikon pickle

Karaage Chicken

(Gluten-free, dairy-free, nut-free, free of refined sugar, optionally soy-free)
500g boneless skinless chicken thighs
2 tbsp coconut aminos (or gluten free soy sauce)
2 tablespoons mirin (rice wine vinegar)
2 teaspoons sesame oil
1 tbsp grated fresh ginger
2 cloves garlic, crushed

½ cup cornflour or potato flour
1 tbsp coconut oil for frying

1. Trim the fat from the chicken thighs, then chop into 5cm chunks.
2. In a large bowl combine the aminos, mirin, sesame oil, ginger and garlic. Add the chicken, mixing well to combine. Cover and refrigerate, preferably for 2 hours or more.
3. Preheat oven to 200C.  Line a baking tray with baking paper.
4. Drain excess marinade from chicken, then mix the cornflour or potato flour with the chicken in a bowl until all pieces are well coated.
5. On the stove, in a large frying pan over medium high heat, heat oil and fry chicken until lightly browned (you may need to do this in 2 batches, as you do not want to overcrowd the pan or it will not brown well.
6. Place the chicken pieces in one layer on the baking tray and bake in the oven until the chicken is cooked through (should only need 10 minutes or so, depending on how long it was in the frying pan).
7. Serve on a platter with lemon wedges and homemade mayonnaise

Shaved Cabbage Salad

2 cups very finely sliced cabbage (a mix of red and white is nice, but you can use either or)
2 teaspoons of black or white sesame seeds, toasted (or raw if, like me you don’t remember to toast them!)
2 tbsp lemon juice
2 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp sesame oil
2 tsp coconut aminos (or gluten free soy sauce)
1 tsp honey
¼ wasabi paste
pinch of salt

1. Shred cabbage very finely and place in a large bowl.
2. In a small bowl, combine the lemon juice, olive oil, sesame oil, aminos, honey, wasabi and salt. Whisk until well combined. 
3. Pour dressing over the cabbage and mix until well coated. 
4. Place in a serving bowl and sprinkle with sesame seeds

Carrot and Daikon pickle

1 tsp mirin (rice wine vinegar)
1 tsp coconut aminos or gluten free soy sauce
1/8 tsp wasabi paste
1/8 tsp honey
½ a large carrot, grated or finely chopped
5-10cm chunk of daikon (white radish), grated or finely chopped
½ tsp black sesame seeds

1. Place grated carrot and daikon in a small bowl. 
2. In another small bowl combine mirin, aminos, wasabi and honey. Mix well then combine with carrot and daikon. 
3. Serve in a small bowl. Sprinkle with black sesame seeds

Roasted Pumpkin and Eggplant

1/2 a pumpkin, diced into 2cm cubes
1 eggplant, diced into 2cm cubes
2 teaspoons sesame oil
1 tbsp mirin (rice wine vinegar)
2 cloves of garlic, crushed
1cm piece of garlic, grated
1/2 tsp salt 

1. Preheat oven to 160C. Line a baking tray with baking paper
2. Chop the vegetables into even sized pieces. In a large bowl, combine the sesame oil, mirin, garlic and ginger
3. Add the vegetables and mix well to coat
4. Place the vegetables on the baking tray in a single layer
5. Bake for around 30 minutes until soft and golden

Serve the meal with steamed rice, garnished with bonito flakes and sesame seeds


- You can buy most of the ingredients to make this meal from the supermarket, such as the wasabi, rice wine vinegar, sesame seeds and gluten free soy sauce. For the daikon you may need to go to an asian greengrocer (I got mine from Tai Ping Supermarket in Pakuranga). 
- The bonito flakes are dried paper thin slices of bonito (a type of fish). This may be available in the specialty food section of your supermarket, otherwise most asian grocery stores will carry it. It gives a bit of a salty fishy flavour, but is not essential to the recipe so feel free to leave it out if it is not to your taste of you cannot find it.