“‘If more of us valued food and cheer and song above hoarded gold, it would be a merrier world.'”
The Hobbit by J. R. R. Tolkien
Food is very exciting! It is such an under-valued luxury, and a good meal is so easy to make. Plus a tasty dish shared by friends or family means more happiness all round.
Recently a friend, who I often invite round for dinner, asked me if I could give them some of my recipes. I was a bit surprised and rather flattered that they enjoyed my food enough to want the recipes. I love to cook, but the things I like cooking are either dishes I grew up with, or dishes I have haphazardly thrown together inspired by cookery programs, books, or sometimes just out of my own head. So anyway, I was happy. But then I realised that because most the dishes are adapted to suit yours truly, I don’t really have any recipes, and the notes I have are far too random to be useful to my friend who doesn’t cook that much. This meant I had to actually had to start thinking about the amounts I use when I cook in order to write a recipe. Then I thought that after all this effort it would be nice if I could share some of my recipes with other people who might enjoy them too. And with that in mind, here we go.
This is a really easy recipe which is really popular with everyone I’ve made it for. It’s based on the Japanese Kara-age, but modified a bit to make buying ingredients easier.
For 2/3 people you’ll need:
2 Skinless Chicken Breasts
3 Garlic Cloves
1 Piece of Ginger (about ————————- this long)
Mirin and/or Japanese Rice Wine
Plain Flour/Potato Starch/Cornflour (I usually use plain flour)
For the Marinade
1.) To prepare your marinade, chop up your garlic and grate the ginger using a ginger grater or lemon zester. Try to keep the juice as well if possible as it adds to the flavour. Put these in a dish, then add 1 tablespoon of mirin and 3 tablespoons of soy sauce. If you have rice wine you can halve the mirin and add half a tablespoon of rice wine for flavour. (I tend to use a bit more soy sauce as I like the taste.)
Note: I sometimes make the marinade in a freezer bag as it is easier to fully coat the chicken pieces and fit them in the fridge if you want to leave the chicken to soak for an hour. You can also grate your ginger in directly which makes sure the juice gets in there too.
2.) Cut the chicken into manageable size pieces, as if for a stir fry. Remember that if you cut the pieces too big they won’t cook through, and if you cut them too small they will dry out inside. (If you have a pan suitable for deep frying this is not a problem of course. My recipe is for pan frying.) Add the chicken to the marinade and leave covered in the fridge for up to 2 hours. (I am impatient so I usually only leave it for 15/20 minutes but the flavours are always there.)
The Main Recipe
1.) Pour the flour on to a chopping board and lightly coat the chicken pieces. Pat off any excess flour.
2.) Fill the bottom of a relatively deep frying pan with oil. As an extremely rough guide, make it high enough to cover about a centimetre of the chicken as it lies. Heat the oil on a high heat, but not a fierce heat as the oil will become dangerously hot and spit. You can tell when the right temperature is reached by dropping in a few grains of flour. If the flour floats to the top instantly and starts to fry it is ready. Lay in the chicken pieces, allowing space around each one. Do not try to add more than 7 pieces at once as it will decrease the heat of the oil.
3.) Fry the pieces until you can see colour developing and then flip them over to cook the other side. As a rule I would say they take a maximum of 5 minutes. (It depends on the size of course.)
4.) When cooked, remove the chicken pieces and place them on some kitchen roll to absorb the excess oil. If you are uncertain whether they are cooked through, cut open the biggest piece to make sure.
So there is my basic recipe for crispy chicken. I hope you find this useful and let me know if this recipe works out for you. Cooking is fun, but eating is even better, so enjoy!