Friday, September 28, 2007

A Simple Japanese Meal

Japanese food consists of simple ingredients, simple preparation, and impeccable presentation. This column will detail two simple dishes that don't take a lot of time to prepare to make a good Japanese meal.

This meal comes mostly from a recipe book that Sandra and I truly love: "Cooking With Mickey" (a collection of recipes from various restaurants at Disneyland and Walt Disney World). We have two volumes of this book—a first volume which has a light cardboard cover and plastic spiral binding, and the second volume which has a traditional "hard cover" with the same spiral binding.

In EPCOT's World Showcase, there is a tiny restaurant in the Japan pavilion called the Yakitori House. The specialty of this restaurant is, as you might guess, Chicken Yakitori. The cookbook has the recipe for the Yakitori Sauce, and the rest of the recipe is my recreation of the Chicken Yakitori.

Chicken Yakitori

Source:Cooking With Mickey, Gourmet Mickey Cookbook Volume II
Yield:4 Servings

Yakitori Sauce

¼ cup Sake wine*

1 cup Mirin wine

1 cup soy sauce

1 tbs sugar

2 tbs cornstarch

⅓ cup water

*Note: Like Sake, Mirin wine is a rice-based wine. Sake can be used instead for a total of 1 ¼ cups.

Chicken Skewers

1 lb boneless chicken thighs, cut into half-inch pieces

2 green onion, cut into half-inch pieces (optional)

bamboo skewers

Combine Sake and Mirin (if using both) in a medium-size saucepan and bring to a boil. Add soy sauce and sugar. Simmer, covered, for 30 minutes.

Soak bamboo skewers in cold water for 30 minutes (to prevent burning during grilling).

Dissolve cornstarch in water and add to the sauce. Cook and stir until mixture thickens.

Heat grill to medium high, or preheat grill pan over a medium-high burner.

Thread chicken pieces onto skewers, optionally alternating with green onions, about 4-6 pieces of chicken per skewer.

Begin grilling the chicken skewers without the sauce, turning after five minutes. When the meat starts changing color, brush the sauce on both sides, and continue grilling, brushing onsauce about four times total, turning until done (about ten minutes total).

Serve hot over rice.

No Japanese meal would be complete without a fresh, crispy salad of iceberg lettuce, some shredded carrots, a bit of red cabbage, and this wonderful Ginger Dressing...

Ginger Dressing

Source:Cooking With Mickey, Gourmet Mickey Cookbook Volume II
Yield:2 quarts
This recipe comes from EPCOT's Mitsukoshi Restaurant, located in the Japan pavillion in the World Showcase.


2 ounces ginger root (about ½ cup)

1 medium onion, cut in quarters

3 cups vegetable oil

1 cup rice vinegar

1 ¾ cups soy sauce

1 ½ tbs tomato paste

½ lemon, juiced

1 ¾ cups water

Soak ginger root in cold water for a few minutes to make it easier to remove the outer skin with a peeler. Remove skin and cut into quarters.

Combine all ingredients in a food processor with a steel blade and blend until smooth. If blender will not handle entire recipe, divide in half and blend each half separately and then mix afterward.

Refrigerate and serve on salad.

Bon Appetit!

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