Teriyaki Chicken and Vegetables.

chicken teriyaki

Japanese food remains a bit of an enigma to me. I love it, don’t get me wrong but having had limited exposure to Japanese restaurants, other than the few westernised versions scatted here and there around the North East, I don’t understand it.

I Google/Binged it of course and there are a number of helpful websites out there demonstrating how Japanese ordinarily eat meals, nicely preceded by a simple and typically efficient “itadakimasu”. The trouble is I have to try and translate this to the local restaurants. There’s a good one I like in Newcastle called Osaka: friendly service, informal atmosphere, plenty of Japanese diners (my favourite yardstick for ethnic restaurants). The menu however, is a bit of a dichotomy; on the one hand I love the variety, but on another, it confuses the life out of me.

Now I must point out at this stage, that this is far from the biggest problem life can throw at a person, but then this is a food blog. ‘Order-panic’, when the waitress comes over for the second time, is up there with wanting to use the salt and noticing someone seated  after  you had their order taken first. Major dining issues.

I’m going to try and learn more about Japanese food though. Fortunately these days Japanese ingredients are getting easier and easier to find – another benefit of international  students coming to study in my local cities

This is something I made a little while back with moderately tangible Japanese origins. It’s healthy though (or so I believe this week – see my last piece) and tasty. Chicken thigh would have been better as I find no matter how long I marinate chicken breast, it struggles to take on flavour, but the glaze is intensely flavoured.

I use a plastic food bag as you can push most the air out and well cover the chicken, rather than have the marinade pooling in the bottom of a container. You can get away with making much less marinade too that way.

I cooked the vegetables on a stupidly high heat for only a minute with a small amount of soy and  sesame oil and were nicely smoked as a result.

And, yes I’m aware the chicken is not getting eaten with those chopsticks.

Serves 2:

  • 2 Chicken supremes, skin on or off, I removed it later anyway.
  • Teriyaki marinade:
    • 3 tbsp soy sauce
    • 3 tbsp honey
    • 2 tbsp mirin
    • 2 tbsp sake or Chinese rice wine
  • Sesame seeds to finish.
  • 100g rice.
  •  1 tbsp ground nut oil
  • Mixed vegetables, I used: thinly sliced spring onion, sugar snap/snow peas, baby corn, red chilli, garlic and small broccoli heads.

A little soy and  a few drops of sesame oil to flavour.

Marinate the chicken in the teriyaki marinade for a day, or two (preferably two as I did here).

chicken in a teriyaki marinade

Heat then oven to a high setting – 200 to 220°C or 390-430°F

Boil the pain rice for about 15 minutes, using the absorption method.

Remove any skin, as it will just shrivel up, and roast in the oven on a wire rack/tray. Brush with the marinade frequently to get a nice glaze. The chicken will be done once at 60-65°C/140-150°F in the centre. Check using a thermometer probe, but it will be about 15-20 minutes depending on the size of the chicken.

Sprinkle the seeds over the chicken and leave to rest.

Make the vegetables: stir fry them in smoking hot oil for just a minute or two, flavouring with the soy and sesame oil at the end.

Serve it all up. Itadakimasu.

chicken teriyaki

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Lamb Kleftiko Flatbread Wraps.

Lamb kleftiko wrap

In my recent absence, I’ve seen a lot of articles on food and now I’m really confused.

I thought I had the food and nutrition thing sorted. Alcohol is bad. Or not, if you don’t drink too much. A little is good for you though, but don’t drink it everyday. But they say a little red wine each day is good for you – ask the French or the Italians. It continues…

But come on now, everyone knows that saturated fats are bad and to be eliminated from your diet it you want to dodge coronary heart disease. Right? A report in the Telegraph says otherwise……

Carbohydrates are good for performance if you’re an athlete but unhelpful in maintaining the waistline if not. In sugar form? Don’t even think about it, that’s now the devil incarnate according to the media and is the current bad boy of processed food, being used to replace the flavour lost in our quest for ever ‘lower fat’.

The upshot is – I’ve stopped worrying about it all honesty.  Proper butter is high in calories and cholesterol, I know that, so we use less of it. Mayo? I normally make my own and bear witness to the amount of oil going into it so the same goes. Fresh bread is delicious, just don’t go mad.

It’s all about balance isn’t it? So, if you make from scratch wherever you can (or buy non processed ingredients at least) I don’t think you can go far wrong.

So that said, here’s a dish which includes salt, sugar, saturated fats, carbs and dairy. All in moderation, of course, and a glass of decent wine to wash it down.

I make lamb kleftiko a lot as it’s one of those dead-easy one pot Sunday specials you can leave in the oven whilst you get on with the rest of the day. I was actually going to post it before, but never got round to it.

Here's one I made earlier...

Here’s one I made earlier…

This is a slightly different take on it – a sort of Gyro with tzatziki, fresh tomato sauce and grilled aubergine. It may invoke distant memories of dodgy kebabs eaten in post-pub youth, but this is a world away from those spinning mystery meats. Considerably better for you too.

Lamb

Lamb kleftiko wraps for 4 (or fewer hungrier people 🙂

Lamb:

  • 1.5kg leg or shoulder
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 5 garlic cloves
  • 1 large onion, sliced
  • Juice of half a lemon
  • About 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 sprig each of thyme & rosemary.
  • Salt and pepper

Tzatziki:

  • 1 small tub greek yoghurt.
  • 1/3 cucumber, finely diced
  • 2 garlic cloves, diced chopped
  • Lemon juice and salt, to taste.

Tomato sauce:

  • About 300g good tomatoes
  • 3 garlic cloves and the onions from the lamb pot
  • A good pinch of sugar (not essential of course but balances it up)
  • Salt to taste

Aubergine:

  • 1 Aubergine
  • Oil to drizzle
  • Pinch of salt

Flatbread (makes plenty):

  • 500g strong four
  • 300g water
  • 2-3 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 sachet (or 5g) yeast
  • 10g salt.

Olive oil and oregano to serve.

In a lidded pot, heat the oil and brown the lamb. Add the rest of the ingredients, cover tightly with baking parchment and the lid. Place in a low oven at 130°C/260°F for 4 hours. Longer the better.

Lamb kleftiko cooking

For the last hour, start the bread by combining the ingredients and knead. I use the dough hook on a mixer, but knead until smooth and the dough can stretch thinly without tearing – 5 minutes with a mixer or 10 minutes by hand. Cover the dough and leave to prove.

Once done the lamb should be almost falling apart. Pull it apart and place in a tray. Pour over the cooking liquor, but keep the onions and garlic for later. Cover the  tray with foil and keep warm, or just reheat it later.

For the tzatziki, just combine the ingredients and set aside. I prefer to do this a while before to let the garlic ‘mellow’ a bit.

Diced cucumber

For the tomato sauce, blitz the tomatoes, 3 garlic cloves and the onions from the lamb. Heat though in a pot and stir in the sugar and salt to taste, if needed at all.

Slice the aubergine fairly thinly, drizzle with oil and season. Griddle them on a hot pan until charred and tender.

Meanwhile, heat the oven to maximum – use a pizza stone if you have one. Roll out the dough in a circle to the size of oranges for big wraps or the size of golf balls for small ones. Cook on the oven stone, but be careful not to crisp it up too much or it won’t wrap. Which is kind of the point of flatbread wraps….

Flatbread wraps

If you prefer, you can cook the wraps on a hot iron skillet, like tortillas.

Once ready, serve it all up on the flatbread with a little extra virgin olive oil and some more oregano.

Lamb kleftiko tzatziki