Friday, February 24, 2012

Grilled chicken marinated in garlic, ginger and basil

Grilled chicken marinated in garlic, ginger and basil
Here's a bright and snappy dish for a dull winter evening. The fresh tomato sauce is made with cherry (mini) tomatoes, which are flavoursome even in the winter months.
In Japan, chicken thighs are probably more popular than breast, and I have to admit the darker meat is all that I buy. They come ready boned and open up to about the size of a man's hand. You don't want to skin them--there's a lot of flavour in the skin--but remove any visible fat lurking under the skin.

The chicken is cooked in an uncovered frying pan, then covered and steam/fried on low heat until cooked through. This is a common method of cooking chicken in Japan, but you might just as easily  grill it and get crispy skin!

3 "vats"
I made an interesting discovery when doing some desk research for this post: Just about every kitchen in Japan has little rectangular stainless steel or aluminium pans that are used for marinating, draining deep-fried foods and keeping things together during food prepping. These pans are called batto in Japanese and written in a way that indicates the word is of foreign origin. Often such words are are loans from English, but since I couldn't think what that might be I assumed it was from another language. Surprisingly, it turns out the word is vat!

Recipe source: Orange Page, January 2, 2009 (no longer available for purchase). Batto photo source:

Toriniku no marine yaki: Grilled chicken marinated in garlic, ginger and basil

Serves 4

2 large boneless chicken thighs (around 600 g)
For the marinade
2 tbsp Balsamic vinegar
1 tbsp olive oil
1/2 clove garlic, crushed (or to taste)
1 tsp garlic juice
1/2 tsp dried basil
1 parsley stalk (optional)

For the fresh tomato dressing
5 cherry tomatoes, hulled and chopped coarsely
1/6 white onion, chopped coarsely
1/2 clove garlic,  crushed (or to taste)
leaves from 1 stalk of parsley, finely chopped
2 tbsp Balsamic vinegar
2 tbsp olive oil
salt and pepper

1 pack (about 25 g) mixed baby leaves or rocket

1 Remove any visible yellow fat from the chicken thighs and prick the skin side here and there with a fork. Halve the parsley stalk (if using). Mix the marinade ingredients in a container large enough to hold the meat and marinade. Add the meat and coat well. Cover with wrap and refrigerate for 2-3 hours or overnight, turning the meat from time to time.

2 In a medium sized bowl, mix the chopped cherry tomatoes, onion, garlic, parsley leaves, Balsamic vinegar and olive oil, and season with salt and pepper to taste.

3 Remove chicken from the marinade, shaking off the excess liquid. Season generously with salt an pepper. Place in a cold frying pan skin side down and turn the heat to medium. Turn once the skin browns nicely. Cook the other side until browned, then cover with a lid and steam/fry over low heat for 6-7 minutes or until the liquid runs clear when the meat is pricked with a skewer. Leave to cool slightly in the pan.

4 Arrange the baby leaves or rocket on a serving dish. Slice chicken and place on top of the leaves. top with the fresh tomato dressing and serve.


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