Tedious but well worth the calories!!!
After getting a ticking off from the wife for not buying enough vegetables in our weekly grocery shop, I was only left with a whole chinese leaf to cook with one Autumns evening. I also had some dashi made from a few days ago with some chicken legs. Upon browsing through my Japanese cookbook (trusty Tsuji might I add!) I came upon this simmering recipe I have not attempted before and it’s dead simple to do! Here’s what I did.
So firstly you parboil the chinese leaf in salted water before slicing it up into small rectangles. You then take 3 large scoops of Dashi into a saucepan and combine with sugar, light soy sauce and mirin and season to taste, before gently simmering it.
Meanwhile fillet some chicken legs (I removed the skin for use later!!) and cut into smaller pieces. Add a nice coat of cornflour for tenderness and thickening up the sauce later.
Now with the simmering dashi sauce, take 2/3 of it into another saucepan and keep it simmering. Add the chicken to the remaining 1/3 and cook it gently until reduced. The sauce will also thicken due to the cornflour! With the remaining 2/3 Dashi sauce, use it to simmer the parboiled chinese leaf small rectangles.
When that was done I just arranged the chinese leaf pieces onto the base of the plate (sorry should have taken photos), placed the chicken pieces on top, and poured over the thickened up sauce. Such simple cooking. I served it with white rice mixed with some sauce from the simmering.
Ahhhh… my side dish! Crispy chicken skin! This is really rather tedious as I had to skewer the skin (remember to soak the skewers (if wooden) to prevent burning!) in such a manner so that it is as horizontal as possible when you place on a platform. There must be somewhere for the oil to drain! Add salt and pepper and place under hot grill for a few minutes until it starts blistering. Absolutely delicious!!! However it was a double edged sword as my main dish seemed somewhat bland in comparison as you have to heavily salt the skin to encourage crispiness!! Grrrr…
All in all a very satisfactory dinner. However I need to remember not to get distracted by making side dishes that overpower the main course!! Happy eating!!