Monday, March 15, 2010

鶏串- にわとりくし Niwatori Kushi - Chicken Skewers

Konnichi-wa! Your Gaijin-Gourmet is back from another round in the dojo and back in the kitchen to bring you something simple and easy to make to suit your Japanese inspired tastes. Now with spring officially here, barbecuing season will be kicking into full swing before long. So to start spring off I thought I would give you something we were inspired to make while watching an episode of the 2004 NHK Taiga Drama Shinsengumi. Spring had hit the show and the Samurai were all enjoying teriyaki chicken skewers along the rest stops along the Old Tokaido Road. It looked so OIISHII that this modern day Bushi had to try it ourselves and offer it to you. Niwatori Kushi or teriyaki chicken on skewers as an easy dish you can make anywhere.  And when I mean anywhere I mean here in the US or in Japan with ease. As I have stated before, what I offer here is nothing original but simple easy to make Japanese inspired dishes where ingredients and ease of assembly make Japanese cooking accessible to anyone. And with that disclaimer out of the way, let's get cooking!

As with any meal found on here, you'll need a few ingredients to get started.
1/2 lb of chicken breast
1/2 Cup of Teriyaki Sauce for Marinade
1 pkg Wooden Skewers
1 pkg Aluminum Foil
1 Basting Brush

OK this might not sound like rocket science but its always good to cover the basics. Take a 1/2 lb package of chicken breasts and clean with cold water. Cut away any excess fat for preparation. You can use thigh meat but you'll spend more time trimming fat so I recommend sticking with breast meat.

Once your meat is cleaned and trimmed of fat, take your breast meat and cut in 1 1/2 to 2 inch bite size slices.

Place your chicken slices and place into a bowl or mixing container.
Pour the Teriyaki Sauce to marinate.
Refrigerate for one hour.

Easy enough so far ne?

Good! - Let's continue!

After a good hour, take out your wooden skewers and place up to four pieces of teriyaki marinated chicken on each skewer. Don't place more than four per skewer. If you have ever seen anyone eating Niwatori Kushi on an NHK Taiga Drama, you'll only see four pieces on that skewer. Remember, it's not a Shish kabob. It's Japanese!

Now if you noticed, we earlier mentioned using aluminum foil. You'll use this for your gas BBQ or Japanese Hibachi Grill. Either method of grilling will work out fine. I reccommend taking the foil and lining the edge of the grill. The reason for this is if you have ever grilled shish kabobs before it's not uncommon for the skewers to catch fire and burn away. Lining your grill with foil will help prevent that so you can cook a nice presentable Niwatori. Remember, in Japanese cooking presentation is very important. わかりますか?

Line your niwatori right up to the edge of the foil. After 15 minutes, baste with a brush additional teriyaki sauce for flavor and according to taste. We really love teriyaki so we baste this a few times before serving. Remember to baste both sides.
Cook until golden. Don't do like the Ren-Faire guys do and burn the meat. Remember, presentation!

This dish can be served with sushi rice, noodles, or our favorite Yasai-no-Fukumeni which we previously posted how to make here.  We hope you have a prosperous spring and fun おいいしい Japanese inspired cooking! Enjoy!


Monday, March 1, 2010

ぎゅどん と もやし - Gyudon to Moyashi - Beef on Rice with Bean Sprouts

Konichiwa! It's the start of the Third Month of the Year of the Tiger and the Gaijin-Gourmet is back with another easy to make recipe for you to enjoy! Rice bowl dishes can make some great lunches and with some added variants can also do well for light dinners. So we thought we would try our hand at one of them that caught our eyes from NHK along with our own added touch by adding a side dish we learned from Soy Sauce Queen. In such we have combined two dishes to make one combined dish that we believe you will find as おいいしい as we did.
So here's what we made: Gyudon- which literally means Beef on Rice is something that looked easy to make. Now that the Shinkendo dojo that we train at has moved right across the street from the Nijiya Market in Little Tokyo, we couldn’t help but take advantage of special beef packages available there. Now we have used the thinly sliced beef before for other dishes such as Shabu-Shabu and other dishes, but we had not used it before but not in a rice bowl dish. Luckily, we came across a rice bowl dish on NHK’s Japanese Kitchen where we could put all these things together. So let’s get started! はじめましょ!
Here’s what you’ll need:

1 package of thinly sliced beef – This is best found in Asian Markets.

1 Cup of Cooked Rice

½ package of Bean Sprouts

1 Onion

1 Cup (or two depending on taste) of white wine.

1 Cup of Water

¾ Cup of Japanese Soy Sauce

½ Cup of Mirin

4 Tsp of Sugar

2 Tbsp Sesame Oil

I previously mentioned that the thinly sliced beef is best found in Asian Markets. If you are in Japan or near a Japanese Community. If this is not the case, You can improvise by working with Mexican Shredded Steak commonly used for my native Carne’ Asada. Once you have this little detail worked out, you’ll want to cut them in 5cm or 4 inch slices.

For these dishes, I prefer to use a white onion. Typically, you'll want to cut the top and the bottom off and remove the inner seed portion. From there make thin slices across the board. I recommend using the whole onion. Trust me, you'll thank me later!
Combine your 1 Cup of Water with a Cup of White Wine in a Wok or Skillet. Wok's work best for this. Bring the heat up until boiling point. Depending on how much beef you mat need to add another cup of Wine or Water depending on quantity and taste.  Lower the heat to medium. Add your beef and simmer until browned. You should leave it in there between five and ten minutes. Once browned, skim off any surface broth.

Once your beef is ready, add your Mirin, Soy Sauce, and Sugar. Cover it for a few minutes then add your onions into the mix and continue to simmer. Cook the onions until soft. By now your you should be getting hungry. We sure did!  

While your Beef & Onions simmer you can work on the Moyashi - Bean Sprouts. What you'll want to do is take a good handful of Bean Sprouts and put them into a smaller skillet. Use Sesame Oil and an additional 1/3 cup of Japanese Soy Sauce. Normally for cooking bean sprouts you'll want to use sugar and vinegar. If you are going to combine this with Gyudon this will over power the taste so I reccomend using only Sesame Oil and Soy Sauce to simmer for five minutes.

When everything is ready take your cooked rice and fill have a bowl, Top with the beef & Onions with a little room for your bean sprouts. Depending on your taste you can garnish with a little red sliced ginger. We didn't have any but we enjoyed this dish anyway! おいいしい!

When you have it all together you have what I call  ぎゅどん と もやし - Gyudon to Moyashi -
Beef on Rice with Bean Sprouts!