Thursday, April 19, 2012

Grilled chicken with Japanese leek & salt dressing

Grilled chicken with Japanese leek & salt dressing
"Leek and salt dressing?" you ask.

Oh yes, this gutsy leek, garlic and sesame oil dressing is one of the stand-outs of Japanese cooking. It goes well with grilled or sauted chicken and pork, can be mixed through noodles and, stretched with additional sesame oil, used as a dipping sauce for gyoza. Try it once and you'll know what it's all about!

Negi: Japanese leeks
Negi is a Japanese leek. Much thinner and finer than a Western leek, along with shichimi-togarashi, wasabi and ginger, it is considered to be an appetite-enhancing condiment (yakumi).

If unavailable, finely chopped regular spring onions, about enough to fill a 200 ml cup, can be substituted. If using actual negi, the easiest way to chop them finely is to cut a slit down the length of each leek, open them flat and slice finely cross-wise, then the other way.

Add the salt gradually to taste.

Grilling, here, means cooking over or under an open flame. There is an ingenious grill pan many Japanese cooks use over a burner on their stove. I prefer to use my stove's grill. Either way, you want to cook the flesh side first so that the chicken skin crisps up nicely after turning. A lot of the chicken flavour is in the skin, which you will miss out on if you use skinless chicken thighs.

Negi-shio Grilled Chicken: Grilled chicken with Japanese leek and salt dressing

Serves 4

4 boned chicken thighs, skin on (around 800 g)
Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

For the Japanese leek-salt dressing
2 Japanese leeks, chopped finely
1 clove garlic, pressed
3 tbsp Japanese sesame oil
2/3-1 tsp course-ground black pepper
1 1/3-2 tsp salt

1 Place the chicken skin side down on a chopping board and remove any visible fat. Pierce the skin of each thigh with a fork around 10 times. Sprinkle with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Mix the dressing ingredients together well in a  small bowl and leave to allow the flavours to meld.

2 Heat the grill for around 2 minutes. Place the chicken on the grill skin side down and grill for 7-8 minutes over medium heat. Turn and grill for a further 4-5 min or until done.

3 Remove chicken from grill and cut widthwise into slices about 1.5 cm wide. Place on a serving dish skin side up and top with the leek-salt dressing.

Serve with steamed rice and salads.


Recipe source: Orange Page March 3, 2009 edition (no longer available for purchase)
Negi photo source

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