Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Chicken Katsudon


When I was a teenager, a friend who had lived in Japan taught me how to make the Japanese dish katsudon. This was the first Asian dish I learned to create. It is traditionally made with a breaded pork filet and topped with egg. I substituted chicken for the pork and omitted the egg. To coat the chicken I used Japanese panko crumbs. If you cannot find them at your grocery store you can make your own with crustless bread. In a pinch I have also used corn flakes.

I am a huge fan of brown rice, not only for its health benefits but for its nutty flavor. My uncle recently told me he didn't share my sentiment. He said that when he tried cooking brown rice it always turned out crunchy. After this exchange the gadget fairy knew exactly what to get him for Christmas - a rice steamer, of course. I mean, honestly, could over half the world's population be wrong?? A rice steamer is an essential piece of cookware in the Asian kitchen. Why?? Because by using a steamer you will always produce tiny, fluffy pillows to cradle your meals whether making brown or white rice. You will have to add a little more water for brown rice, but the manufacturer's instructions should cover this tip.

About 4 years ago I purchased a small rice cooker from a department store for about $15. A friend of mine bought the super-sized stainless steel type to make rice for her large family. She was telling me how the lid didn't detach from the appliance which makes it harder to clean because of all the starchy water spray getting stuck on it. So if you are in the market for a rice steamer look for one in which the entire bowl and lid can detach for easy cleanup. I always begin making this dish by getting my rice steaming in the cooker - one less thing to worry with on the stove top. 

Ingredients
1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into strips
1 cup milk
2 eggs
1 cup all-purpose flour
2 cups panko bread crumbs
Vegetable oil, for frying
Sea salt and pepper, to taste
1/2 cup tamari soy sauce
2 cups water
2 tablespoons dark agave nectar
8 ounces mushrooms, sliced
1 yellow onion, thinly sliced
1 bundle green onions, thinly sliced
6 cups cooked brown basmati rice, for serving

Begin by cooking rice according to the package or rice cooker instructions.

Prepare three bowls for breading the chicken: one with panko, one with flour and one with milk and egg whisked together. Dip chicken strips in milk and egg mixture, coat in flour, dip in milk and egg mixture again, then coat in panko bread crumbs. After all the strips are coated, heat the oil for frying. To test if the oil is ready, drop a panko crumb in the oil. If the oil begins sizzling around the crumb immediately, it's ready for frying. Work in batches so the pan does not become overcrowded. Fry chicken until golden in color; remove chicken from oil and drain on paper towels. Crack salt and pepper to taste over chicken immediately after frying. Set aside.

In a large pot bring water, tamari and agave nectar mixture to boil. Add mushrooms and onions; cook for about 5 minutes or until the vegetables have softened slightly.

To plate: Place a few chicken strips over a bed of rice. Pour mushroom and onion mixture over the top. Serve immediately. 

Serves 6 

Note: If you make extra rice, use the leftovers to make my Pork Fried Rice for tomorrow's dinner.

© 2009-2010 Madame Monaco All Rights Reserved

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