Karaage Chicken, Kimchi Omelette, Miso Beans & Other Awesome Things To Put In Your Face

karaage chicken
I really can’t be assed ironing the table cloth, and there is no way I can convince Jennee to do it, so if anyone is ever keen give me a call…

I work with a chap who has spent time in Japan and is trying to school me in the ways of correct pronunciation of Japanese words. Or one Japanese word to be more precise; karaage. I have told him numerous times that I have enough problems as it is with the English language, so I do not have the surplus time to put effort into another language. But why karaage? Karaage, however it is that you pronounce it, is without a doubt my new favourite chicken. It is Jennee’s new favourite chicken, too. And, as it is gluten free, she can eat it and not have to pay it back ten fold with a currency of stomach pains and cramps, and an annoying moan, like that of an old gypsy woman dying slowly in the corner. While we’re on the subject of whose favourite chicken this is, it is also the favourite chicken of our children, Seba and Obi, as it is fried and we eat it with mayonnaise. I think that was all it took. They really are shallow little younglings sometimes… So, when facey told me it was my lovely Jennee’s birthday this past weekend, the product of my cerebral activity declared I should be making that chicken for her birthday dinner. Lesser self tried to argue for a moment, suggesting maybe we should buy her flowers and perfume. Smart brains brought to self’s attention that we were already surrounded by a country shows worth of flower display and also noted the place had started to look like someone had just awoken from a three year coma… Finally, after a brief melee, self agreed that we would be cooking that chicken tonight… But we would give her some other really awesome shit too (don’t worry. I had this shit sorted). If you kept up with that monologue you are doing a mighty fine job and the human race should be proud of you… and, you’re welcome to date my sister, I might add.

dusty, dusty
dusty, dusty
Hot oil bath
Hot oil bath
That chicken, that work, the knowledge that there is a good time a brewin'
That chicken, that work, the knowledge that there is a good time a brewin’
Just one more chicken snap
Just one more chicken snap
OK, last one, I promise
OK, last one, I promise

KARAAGE FRIED CHICKEN (for 8 peeps as part of a feast) 1kg boneless chicken thigh fillets*, skin on if possible 3 cloves garlic, finely grated 1 tablespoon finely grated ginger ½ cup light soy sauce 2 tablespoons mirin 2 cups potato flour (potato flour is the business for this fried chicken but if you seriously can’t find it use rice or corn flour) Oil, for deep-frying A pinch of salt, sliced shallots/spring onions/scallions and lemon wedges to serve • Combine all ingredients except potato flour and mix thoroughly. Marinate for 30 minutes • Put flour into a large bowl. Remove chicken pieces from marinade one at a time and coat with flour. Really get it in there and give it a damn good coat. Don’t leave a bare assed bit of skin any where on that piece of bird. This coating is going to be the crispy goodness that will in turn delight your mouth as the chicken prances between your teeth and your tongue, as you shatter the brittle love about the place • Heat the oil in a large saucepan or wok to 180°C. Dust excess flour from the chicken, and place the chicken into the oil. Deep-fry for 1 minute. Transfer the chicken to a rack and rest for 30 seconds • Return the chicken to the oil and fry for another 1 minute, and then rest on a rack for another 30 seconds • Return the chicken to the oil and fry for a third and final minute, and then rest for 1-2 minutes in a warm place • Serve it up with or with out a heap of good shit. We had mushroom and kimchi omelette (recipe below), more kimchi, cucumber kimchi (yeah we like it spicy, OK? If you think the dinner table has some heat in it you should see our bedroom! Winky smiley face), wakame salad and miso asparagus and beans (recipe below). Oh lordy lordy

I ate a lot of this omelette
I ate a lot of this omelette
The garnish alone is enough to give me an errection
The garnish alone is enough to give me an errection

KIMCHI, MUSHROOM & BACON OMELETTE (for 8 as part of a feast) This is a relatively simple omelette that I’m sure even you could make. Shit gets real with the different garnishes giving your face a one-way ticket to flavour town. A smaller version of this is also a cracking breakfast, don’t be doubting. 1 large handful of bacon, chopped 1 large handful of kimchi (I will post a kimchi recipe real soon folks), sliced 2 large handfuls of mushrooms, sliced 10 eggs, lightly whisked Oil Light soy sauce, Japanese mayo, crisp fried shallots, sliced shallots and toasted sesame seeds to serve • Sauté bacon and mushrooms for a few minutes to soften. Set aside • Heat oil in a 25cm skillet/pan over medium-high heat. Add egg mix followed by kimchi, bacon and mushrooms • Cook for 2-3 minutes. Don’t touch it. While that is going on heat your grill (broiler) • I like to flip the omelette in view of a pretty girl because I am convinced this makes me appear fucking awesome. Do that if you have the minimals, but it is a darn sight easier (and safer) to take the pan from stove top and place under the grill for 4-5 minutes until just cooked through • To turn out place a plate over the top of the pan and, with your hand firmly securing the plate to the pan, invert the whole damn lot. Remove he pan and the plate should be holding a sexy assed looking omelette… or possibly some tasty assed scrambled eggs • Either way, garnish with a few drops of soy sauce, Japanese mayo, a handful of crisp fried and fresh shallots, and toasted sesame MISO BEANS & ASPARAGUS (for 8 as part of a feast) Too busy eating to get a photo of these, soz. They were damn tasty though… 300-400g green beans, trimmed 1 bunch asparagus, woody ends trimmed and cut in half 2 tablespoons miso 1 teaspoon castor sugar 1 tablespoon rice wine ½ teaspoon light soy sauce A splash of sesame oil 1 tablespoon toasted sesame seeds to serve • Combine all ingredients except beans and asparagus, and whisk until smooth and dressing-like consistency. Add a splash of water if it is too thick • Boil or steam beans and asparagus for 2-3 minutes • Strain, add to dressing and toss to coat • Top with sesame seeds and serve *I have previously used boneless thigh for this but this time I used thigh and leg pieces and it worked really effing well. I gave them 10 minutes in a medium oven after frying just to be sure they job was done

Paul’s Caul… Kris’ Birthday Quackalicious Jenga

Kris’ birthday quackalicous jenga.

So I get the text saying that it’s “Kris’ 40th next week and I need some dinner suggestion?” This was from my wonderful sister Zoe, and Kris, as you can most likely piece together, is my brother in law… so this pleased me as I love them both dearly, and Zoe is also pretty decent in the kitchen so I could suggest anything and she’d have a crack, or in this case a quack!

Yes I truly reckon that’s the worst joke to date that I have typed and placed in front of your eyeholes… I‘m better than that, I wouldn’t normally worry about such poultry matters but I have always said “no foul no game”… booyah triple bird pun!!!!

(Not entirely sure on reading that back whether I have proved anything at all)

Any who back to the mission to feed Kris so he’ll stop freaking out about being 40, yes 40 years out is not the new 50 as most 40 year olds have you believe, no it is in fact still 40 and that is getting on in anyone’s language.

So what to cook?

Do we cook his favourite?

Shall we do something visually spectacular?


Stick with the classics?

Well I’ll tell you what we’re going to cook and it will very quickly become his favourite, as it is visually spectacular and strips away all the rules where classic cant be fucked with, as they can/should/must be tweaked and played with as that is what being a chef is all about…. It is mixture of a few classic dishes and styles of cooking, still kept simple as not to lose its warmth.

Society makes us conform to names for dishes, it dictates that I should call this dish…

‘Duck leg confit on a bed of steamed Asian greens, hand cut chips served with a sour cherry sauce’

Well that sounds like bollocks!

I want to call it…

‘Mr Crispy and his sour mates play jenga’

But I may settle for…

‘Crispy skin duck confit, sour cherry greens, thrice cooked spud jenga’

With the naming of said dish complete I shall give you the recipes and hope you all embrace Mr Crispy into your life.

Duck confit
4 duck legs (Maryland)
rock salt
aromatics (star anise, bay leaves, garlic, thyme)
Enough duck fat to cover (1lt perhaps, remember you can never have enough duck fat on hand)
• Salt the duck legs over night, then wash salt off and dry the legs really, really well. Pat dry with paper.
• Heat fat with aromats, in this instance use 2 bay leaves, 2 star anise, 1 cinnamon (chilli if you want 1 dried would work best)
• In a high sided dish place legs and cover with warm fat, make sure completely covered and place in the oven covered and cook for 3-5 hours at 110c
• Check if cooked by carefully pulling out and you will know as the meat has to close to falling off the bone
• Once there just pull out legs and carefully place on a wire rack out of the fat to cool.
• Strain fat and once leg is cooled pour the fat back over it.
• When you come to actually cooking and serving, you will need to clean fat off. They don’t have to be completely cleaned as you will be cooking in fat anyway.
• Just heat a bit of the stored fat in a pan so you have at least a 1cm of fat in base of pan, place the legs very carefully in the smoking hot fat (they will spit so be careful) and once they settle down check to see its well crispy then quickly flip over for a second.
• Remove from pan and cook in a hot oven for 5-10 until hot.
• Serve ☺

Sour cherry sauce (the tits)
2 shallots
4 shitake (or any mushroom if you don’t like strong mushie)
50 ml red wine vinegar (pedro ximinez vinegar would be best)
100 ml port
5 g sugar
1 star anise
½ cinnamon quill
1 cardamon
200 ml stock (chicken, duck, veg, whatever… could just be water)

180g sour cherry from jar or tin (get the best)
• Whack everything but the cherries in a pot and simmer for 20 minutes
• Pour the sauce over the chopped up cherries and gently heat before serving
• This sauce is nice without the cherries and just toss the sauce around steamed kai lan or brocolini

Thrice cooked duck fat jenga
4 large royal blue spuds (cooked in skin and only just cook)
normal deep fryer
duck fat
• Square off the cooked spud and cut into 4 massive chips, one cut down the center lengthways then cut each half again lengthways and job done
• Fry off once in a deep fryer with oil, but only just get a crust then drain and cool
• For serving shallow fry in duck fat until crispy as fuck
• Salt those crispy homeboys.

For final plate up I recommend, stacking chips like jenga to one side of plate, then get some steamed kai lan and cherries and toss them in the sauce and make that into an insanely tasty bed for Mr Crispy.

Enjoy your Birthday Kris, love ya brother