01 May 2009

Japanese Clusterf***

This time I've gone too far.

While Alannah was out doing some evening volunteer work, I prepared a special surprise for her, calling in some of our favorite partners in crime for a late evening session of overindulgence: Karaage, curry and okonomiyaki.

You see, I was only half-joking in the karaage curry post about applying the combination to oknomiyaki. Not only did I pull this threesome together, but I added a fourth: Bacon.

That's right. Bacon, chicken karaage, and curry with okonomiyaki.

Don't stare like that. It's totally normal. Okonomiyaki implies "anything you want" or "however you like," after all. And those are words we often wish were literally true when uttered by someone.

Sometimes, fantasies become reality.

It started with the browning of bacon (or rather, the version more common in France, lardon), caramelizing the swine flu out of the little cubes of belly fat 'til they were rendered practically into chicharrones.

Next, I deep fried small strips of chicken marinated in ginger, garlic and soy and dredged through starch.

It was then embedded into a standard okonomiyaki batter as it cooked, with Japanese curry ladled on top, and then the customary katsuobushi, Kewpie mayo, and aonori.

Of course, getting together a pot of hot oil just to fry a few tiny strips of chicken is a bit of a waste. It can be used for so much more...

Unfortunately, wrestling in it was out of the question (too messy), so I added to Alannah's evening surprise with a big batch of karaage chicken wings.

Karaage typically calls for boneless, skinless chicken (dark meat, preferably), but wings must be handled with the fingers and are so much more fun with the bone-in. So I left the outer wings as-is, and opted to skin the drumettes. Or pilons as the French call them, which sounds decidedly less French than the English word. Go figure.

Pulling the skin off of drumettes is, like Katy Perry, a tiresome bitch hardly worth anyone's time. But in the name of proper cooking (and getting both the marinade and the starch coating to stick better) I went through with it anyway.

In the end, though, the ritualistic skinning was worthwhile. Those chunks on top are karaage popcorn chicken, made from the peeled off skin with bits of flesh attached.

In this house, not an ounce of protein goes to waste.

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