After a couple of days of not being exactly sure of where we were, I definitely know where we are now. We’re on the West Coast of the USA and in the beautiful city of San Francisco. (I don’t mean to spoil the illusion but this is a virtual tour – it’s just I’ve had a few comments from people thinking I’m covering great distances in a super-sonic jet).
It’s now Day 6 of our 10-day series and thanks for letting me know you’re enjoying it.
Here in San Francisco lives Japanese-born Nami from Just One Cookbook. She lives here with her husband and two primary-school aged children. Nami started blogging around four years ago and has created an enormous and loyal following with her intriguing, interesting and easy-to-follow Japanese recipes.
I have been following Nami’s blog for a couple of years and have learnt so much about Japanese cuisine, from the sushi, the sauces, the desserts and especially the very well-presented Bento boxes. Everything on Nami’s blog is done beautifully; from the photography, the styling of the food, the plating-up to the u-tube videos where you can see Nami in action.
Nami’s blog is, for her, a full-time concern and it keeps her extremely busy. She does however, always take time to visit the bloggers who follow her and her comments reveal what a humble and generous and encouraging person she is.
In terms of what goes on at the Hotly Spiced kitchen, Japanese cuisine is not something that’s cooked very often. I’m really not sure why except to say that while I was growing up, it was not a cuisine we ate, nor were there many (or any), Japanese restaurants in the vicinity of where we lived.
I did however, learn Japanese in high school. It was my most favourite subject and while being an unremarkable student in most other subjects, Japanese was where I elevated myself out of the average category. Shame I can no longer speak it!
One of the things we did as students of Japanese was go on an excursion to a Japanese restaurant for lunch. As there were no Japanese restaurants anywhere near the school, we were put on a bus and taken into the city. We arrived at one of those authentically Japanese restaurants where you have to take off your shoes and sit on cushions on the floor and then there was a drop-down section so your legs could dangle under the table. At the restaurant we were given a bowl of miso soup followed by some crunchy fried chicken with a dipping sauce.
When I was thinking of what to cook from Nami’s blog, I remembered my very first Japanese meal and wanted to recreate that experience. I remembered a recipe I’d seen on Nami’s blog where the chicken was crispy and crunchy yet the meat hadn’t been deep-fried but rather, baked. I wanted to give this a go to see if I could create crispy chicken without the use of a deep-fryer.
The chicken is served with a tonkatsu sauce that is very easy to make. This is a family-friendly meal in that everyone in your household (that’s not vegetarian) will enjoy. It’s affordable, it’s easy to do and it doesn’t require impressive cooking skills. The panko crumbs seal in the moisture and give the chicken a beautiful crunch. The tonkatsu sauce has great depth of flavour and goes so well with the mild chicken flavours. A simple salad was the only other thing this dish needed however I also added some of the pickled watermelon I made a few days earlier because it goes so well with chicken.
- 2 cups Panko bread crumbs
- 2 tbspns olive oil
- 500gms (1lb) chicken breast fillets, washed and patted dry
- ¼ cup plain flour
- salt and pepper
- 1 egg, lightly beaten
- 1 tbspn water
- For the Tonkatsu Sauce:
- 1 tbspn tomato sauce
- 2½ tspns Worcestershire sauce
- 1½ tspns oyster sauce
- 1⅛ tspn sugar
- Preheat the oven to 200C (400F).
- Line a baking tray with baking paper.
- Combine the panko and oil in a frying pan and toast over medium heat until golden brown. Transfer panko into a shallow dish and allow to cool.
- Butterfly and cut the chicken breasts in half. Pound the chicken to equal thickness where necessary.
- Season the chicken on both sides.
- In a shallow dish add flour and in another dish combine beaten egg and water.
- Dredge each chicken piece in flour to coat well then shake off excess. Dip chicken in egg mixture and when thoroughly coated, dredge in panko crumbs. Press the panko crumbs onto the chicken to make sure they adhere.
- Arrange chicken pieces on prepared tray and place in the oven.
- Bake for 20-25 minutes or until chicken is no longer pink in the middle.
- For the Tonkatsu Sauce:
- Combine all ingredients in a small jug and mix well. Adjust seasonings if necessary.
- Serve chicken with tonkatsu sauce and a simple salad if desired.
If you’d like to visit Nami, you can find her at Just One Cookbook or follow her on Instagram.
Missed some of this 10-part series? You can catch-up by browsing the following links…
Tomorrow we’re getting out of our depth.