Chicken Tender and Vegetable Roll

No.159

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Here is a good chicken dish for both bento and dinner using chicken tenderloin.  In Japan or USA I can buy beautiful chicken tenderloin very reasonable, in Norway chicken are rather expensive.  I wish the price would go down more as it is a healthy kind of meat of high-protain and low fat and I really like its white meat and the mild taste.  You may have seen a white ligament called tendon attached to chicken tenderloin.  It is a ligament attaching the tenderloin to the breast. In some countries (like Japan) butchers remove the tendon for you but here in Norway I have to do it myself.

Removing tendon from chicken tenderloin is a simple task but needs practice a couple of times. Since it is fixed in the tenderloin meat itself you may end up cutting away a lot of meat with it. A piece of chicken tenderloin is not a big part. It weighs about only 40-45g each and you need to avoid taking away good chicken meat with the tendon.

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Place tenderloin on a cutting board with the fat end close to your left hand (If you are a left handed and holding a knife with your left hand, place the fat end close to your right hand).  You see a white tendon is sticking out and please grab it. Take your sharp knife and slide it between the tendon and the meat (see the photo above) and you can pull the tendon firmly toward you as you slide the knife along the tendon.  Tendon gets thinner toward the end of the tenderloin. If you could not take out the whole tendon, that is ok, it’s not harmful.   After you removed tendon, make a slit lengthwise to butterfly and make a flat piece.

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Norwegian chicken tenderloin are rather small and I used 3 tenderloin to make 1 roll. If you get larger chicken tenderloin you can maybe use only 2.  Place tenderloin on a cutting board and sprinkle some salt and pepper.

Boil some carrot and green onion lightly in salt water and cool.
Place them on the chicken. I sometimes use cheese too.

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and you can roll up from the end closest to you.

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Salt and pepper again and place them in your fridge for 15 minutes.  (This is to settle the rolls before frying)

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Coat with flour, egg and panko.
Heat some olive oil in a pan and fry until golden brown.
Take them on a kitchen paper to drain.
Cut in 3 and serve with some fresh salad.
Bon Appetite!

xxx Rie

Japanese Chicken “Marume Yaki”

No. 129

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I usually have a dinner menu in mind already in the morning but sometimes when I can not decide what to cook for dinner I use this recipe. In a way, this is my rescue recipe which I hope you will find it enjoyable as well! I got this recipe from a lady in Japan and her original version requires some special Japanese ingredients which I can not find here in Oslo, so I have replaced them with things I easily can get hold of. Still it tastes great and this dish is one of my family’s favorite chicken dishes. It takes only 35-40 minutes or so to cook this, too. It is called “Marume Yaki” in Japanese, “Marume” means to make it like a ball and “Yaki” means to fry or grill. It has soy sauce-base glaze that adds a nice flavor to tender chicken breast.  As seen on the above picture, I think broccoli goes very well with this dish, its bright green color is also very pretty next to the dark shiny glazed chicken. Enjoy!

Japanese Chicken “Marume Yaki” (serves 4) 

Chicken breast    580g
Green onion (vårløk)    65g
Red chili         1

A) **
Japanese sake       1.5 Table spoons
Mirin                         1.5 Table spoons
Soy sauce                0.5 Table spoon
Salt                            0.5 Tea spoon

Potato or corn starch    6 Table spoons

Salad oil

* Glaze sauce * 
Japanese sake        30cc
Mirin                          20cc
Soy sauce                30cc
Sugar                        3 tea spoons

White sesame seeds

Note :
 Japanese sake is available at Norwegian Vinmonopolet.
Mirin is a sweet rice wine we use in Japanese cooking.
Asian food stores carry it now but if you can’t get hold of it,
you can replace it with sweet white wine.

——–

1.  Cut chicken breast into thin and long strips and put them in a bowl.  They are about 5mm thick.

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2.  Cut off tips and root of green onion, mince it finely and add to the chicken.

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3.   Rinse red chili and pat dry with kitchen paper. Cut it open and scrape out seeds and chop into small pieces. Today I used only a half but you can use more if you like it hot.

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4.  Add red chili and A)** into chicken and mix everything well.
Add potato/corn starch and bring everything together.

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5. Using your hands or spoons, make small balls a 40g, place them on a lightly floured board/plate so that they don’t get stuck on the surface.

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6.  Heat a frypan and add some salad oil. When the oil is hot, place the chicken balls and cook over medium heat. Be careful as starch gets burnt easily.

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7.  When the chicken balls are cooked through, turn the heat up and pour in the glaze. It has a lot of sugar in it so it bubbles and get caramelized very fast. When a half of the glaze has evaporated, turn off the heat.  As the pan is still hot it continues to caramelize itself. Turn the chicken balls and try to get them coated by the glaze evenly.

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Sprinkle white sesame seeds on top and serve while it is hot.
Bon Appetite!

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xx Rie

The day after I cooked this dish, I made a bento for myself with a left over piece.
The taste of soy sauce goes very well with rice.  🙂

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Ideas for easy bento

No.127

I am writing this post to you who heard about bento for the first time.

There is something called “Bento” and it is increasingly getting popular in the world last several years. Bento originally comes from Japan and it is in one word a packed meal in a box. It is a very common meal in Japan and we often make it at home, bring it with us to eat usually for lunch at school or office. You can even buy bento at train stations in Japan, people do eat it on their way to somewhere by train. Bento is packed in a box called “bento box” which comes in different shapes and colors and this meal in the box is a very integrated part of our daily life in Japan. As a Japanese, I also grew up with bento and I am still making it everyday here in Norway.

It does not need to be any fancy type of food, you can pack anything you like. Left over from last night makes a great bento next day!  I think the most important thing to remember in order to enjoy a good bento life is that you don’t get stressed out by having to make and pack your meal in any strenuous way. I make it in the morning because I have time but some people do not have so much time to cook in the morning that they pack it the night before.  We all have a different daily schedule but preparation in advance is a common and an important key for everyone. In this post I like to suggest the following tips and recipes that can help you prepare in advance for an easy and quick bento.


1. Pasta goes fast

A pasta bento usually goes very fast and it is a tasty and fulfilling lunch for us. If you have your favorite meat or tomato sauce in your fridge, that is great! Spaghetti Bolognese makes a wonderful bento.

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My meat sauce recipe is here!

If you like a lighter pasta sauce, how about green pesto? Here is an easy recipe.

Homemade Pesto is good!
Homemade Pesto is good!

Fresh Basil leaves          30-40
Cashew nuts                   1/2 cup
Olive Oil                          50 cc
(Garlic if you like              2 cloves)
Parmesan cheese           1/4 cup
salt and pepper

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Put all the ingredients in a food processor and make pesto. You can make this in advance, just cook pasta in the morning and mix with the sauce and pack in your bento box.

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2. Style up your sandwiches! 

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Our usual sandwich lunch box can, with some fruits and a drink, have a good make over and style up! This bento does not take more than 20 minutes to pack. You can make a hard boiled egg already when you cook a dinner and mix with mayonnaise and leave it in the fridge til the next morning. Put ham and cheese, tuna and tomato, store-bought roast beef and pickles in your sandwiches in the morning. It will be a good sandwich lunch box that you will be looking forward to!


3. Handy homemade Japanese BBQ sauce

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Having your homemade BBQ sauce in your fridge is very handy. It keeps quite well in the fridge. You can use this both as marinade and dipping sauce. If you are planning to serve a BBQ dinner, you can make this sauce in the morning and you can marinade your BBQ meat (I am using beef, pork and chicken often but you can also use other type of meat or fish!) for about 20-30 minutes before you BBQ. I think it will be good to bring the meat and the sauce to room temperature before you marinate if your climate permits.

Soy Sauce        100cc
Sesame Oil      50cc
Japanese Sake  50cc
Sugar            3-4 table Spoons
(Grated garlic if you like  2 tea Spoons)
Coarse black pepper  as you like
Roasted white sesame seeds 2 table spoons

Mix all ingredients, cut some pieces of red onion.

When you are marinating fish/chicken for your bento tomorrow, you can marinate before you go to bed and grill it in the morning to pack in your bento. Here is my Chicken BBQ bento.

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4. Make sure you have something easy to cook in your fridge!

People have different preferences and the food they like to have are so varied. But when you don’t have so much time, it is helpful to have something that is easy to cook in your fridge. Eggs, sausages, ham, carrot, potato, cheese etc. and the list will go on… Plan your shopping wisely.

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Bento is not so difficult once you get into a routine and many people are finding Bento as a healthy meal to eat. Would you like to join us?

xx Rie