Chicken yakitori bites

Chicken yakitori is a well known Japanese dish which lends itself to enjoying with an ice cold beer in hand. It is usually cooked on skewers and grilled but I have chosen to break with tradition and cook the chunks of chicken separately on a griddle for extra caramelisation. Most recipes ask you to strain your sauce of ginger and garlic goodness however I found that you don’t need to do this as, if you are careful, the sauce won’t burn and you’re still left with a hit of those fantastic flavours.

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Ingredients- serves 2
250g boneless chicken thigh- cut into bite sized pieces
50ml soy sauce
30ml mirin
25ml sake
1 tbsp caster sugar
2cm piece of ginger- grated
1 garlic clove- crushed
1 tsp cornflour mixed with 1/2 tbsp water

1. Kick off by adding the soy sauce, mirin and sake together before adding in the sugar, ginger and garlic. Heat over a low heat and bring it to a simmer. Cook until the sugar has dissolved and the ginger and garlic are softening. Add the cornflour mixture and cook further until the sauce is thickened and glossy.

2. Take the sauce from the heat and allow to cool. As I say, I don’t strain the sauce as I like the ginger and garlic but you can sieve it at this stage if you like. When the sauce is cool, coat the chicken chunks with the majority of the sauce but reserve a small amount for later. Place the chicken in a covered bowl and refrigerate for at least an hour.

3. When you are ready to get cooking, warm a griddle pan to medium and cook the chunks of chicken until cooked through. This should take around 8-10 minutes depending on how large your chunks are. Halfway through cooking brush the remaining sauce over the chicken. The result should be tender and caramelised chicken. Serve with rice if you like and eat immediately. A flourish of toasted sesame seeds or crunchy shredded spring onion is also delicious.

Caramelised yakitori bites- crack open a beer and enjoy!

 

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Asian spicy braised pork belly

Who can resist the tenderness of pork belly, the umami flavour of Asian ingredients and the punch of chilli in a recipe? Certainly not me! This sticky braised pork belly takes inspiration from Asia to give a straightforward meal idea that everyone can achieve.

This recipe cannot necessarily be pinned down to one specific Asian cuisine but I have mixed and matched my favourite ingredients to give the perfect balance of flavour. I have used gochujang which is a spicy paste made from fermented soya beans. You can buy this online at http://www.souschef.co.uk or find it at your local Asian supermarkets if you have one.

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Ingredients- serves 2-3 
300g lean pork belly
2 tablespoons oil
1 tablespoon sugar
3 tablespoons sake or shaoxing wine
1 tablespoon light soy sauce
1 tablespoon dark soy sauce
1 tablespoon gochujang (Korean chilli paste)
450ml water

1.To begin, cut the pork belly into inch sized pieces. Bring a pan of water to the boil and blanch the pork belly chunks for 2 minutes to draw out any impurities before removing from the pan with a slotted spoon and setting aside.

2. Heat a wok over a low to medium heat and add in the oil and sugar. Cook until the sugar is melting before adding the pork chunks. Cook until the pork is beginning to turn golden- remember to brown off on each side of the pork chunks for an even colour and flavour.

3. At this stage, lower the temperature of the wok back to low and add in both kinds of soy sauce, the sake or shaoxing wine (whichever you are using) and water. Cover the wok with a lid and simmer the pork for approximately 1 hour 30 minutes to 1 hour 45 minutes until the pork belly is meltingly tender. Remember to check the pork from time to time during the cooking process and add a splash more water if it starting to stick to the pan or becoming too dry. If, at the end of the cooking, you have excess sauce then simply remove the lid of the wok, increase the heat slightly and reduce so it ends up being a glossy, sticky glaze over the pork and that’s all there is to it! Serve with rice and Asian greens if you like and dig in!

Asian inspired sticky braised pork belly- a recipe you will come back to time and time again!