Karaage (Japanese Fried Chicken)

I love fried chicken. When I was in Japan this summer, we had some amazing fried chicken in Hamamatsu. I’d had Japanese Fried Chicken (Karaage) before but nothing has been like what I had in Hamamatsu, and probably will never be. I’ve also tried a few recipes I’ve found online and I think I found one that may be my go to until I figure out exactly how to recreate that Superior Rating chicken from our trip to Japan.

Karaage (Japanese Fried Chicken)

  • Difficulty: medium
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Chicken:

  • 1.5 lbs boneless, skinless chicken thigh

Marinade:

  • 3 tsp of grated ginger
  • 3 large cloves of garlic, grated
  • 3 TBS sake
  • 5 TBS low sodium soy sauce
  • 2 tsp sugar

Coating:

  • 1.5 Cups potato starch
  • 1/2 tsp coarse kosher salt
  • 1/2 tsp pepper

Oil:

  • Safflower oil or peanut oil or any other high smoke point oil

Cut the chicken thigh into roughly 1″ strips.

In a baking dish, combine the marinade ingredients. Add chicken.

Let the chicken marinade for 24-48 hours (or more!).

Heat your oil in a pot that is fairly tall. Having a pot with a larger base also helps. You’ll want at least 2 inches of oil and at least 3 inches of wall above the oil. Heat the oil to 350 degrees. Use a candy thermometer to test the temperature of your oil.

Line a cookie sheet with paper towels and cooling rack. You’ll want another cooling rack over a cookie sheet (or countertop) separately as well.

While your oil is heating up, mix your dry ingredients in a bowl for the coating. Take your marinaded chicken and coat each piece with the coating and place on your rack over cookie sheet (or countertop).

Once all your chicken is coated, start frying! How many pieces you can fry at a time depends on how wide your pot is in diameter and how large your chicken pieces are. I have a fairly wide diameter pot and smaller chicken pieces so I put in 6-9 pieces without the oil dropping below 300 degrees. Let the pieces fry about 3-4 minutes. Place on your rack with paper towels to cool.

Once you’ve fried up all your chicken pieces, let the oil reheat to 375 degrees. Refry all your pieces for about 1 minute, until golden brown and extra crispy (don’t try for crispiness until they’ve cooled a touch).

Serve with cucumber or lettuce and rice. If you’d prefer, squeeze a little fresh lemon juice over chicken pieces (I don’t find the need).

Enjoy!

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Quick Chicken Tortilla Soup

I haven’t been feeling good lately, it’s taken 2 weeks to get over this cold! Today, I wanted some chicken tortilla soup from Grins but I wasn’t about to drive to San Marcos for some. This is my attempt to make something equivalent and I think it works! Let me know your thoughts if you give this recipe a try.

Chicken Tortilla Soup, Grins Style

  • Difficulty: easy
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  • 48 oz chicken broth
  • 12.5 oz canned chicken (or shredded rotisserie chicken)
  • 28 oz canned tomatoes and diced green chilies
  • 15.5 oz canned golden hominy
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 1 TBS taco seasoning
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper powder
  • tortilla chip strips
  • shredded mozzarella cheese
  • sliced avocado

Bring chicken broth and chicken to boil, stir.

Add in canned tomatoes and diced green chilies, stir.

Add in all spices and seasonings, stir.

Add golden hominy, stir.

When thoroughly heated and combined (about 30 minutes), serve with tortilla strips, shredded mozzarella cheese, and avocados. Enjoy!

 

Erin’s Chicken Caldo

About 2 years ago, I ask the hive minds on Facebook what I should make for dinner. I got a ton of responses but I had to make meals for the week for not only me but also my parents, who don’t eat beef or pork. My friend Erin suggested making caldo or Mexican soup. My parents and I enjoyed it a lot so I decided to make it again today. I made enough to feed an army so I’ll probably freeze a bunch of it for the next time I need soup!

Erin's Chicken Caldo

  • Difficulty: easy
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  • Olive Oil
  • Medium onion
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • Any cut of chicken (I use thighs)
  • Carrots
  • Small head of cabbage
  • Yellow squash & Zucchini
  • Chicken broth
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Garlic Powder
  • Canned Kernel Corn
  • Rotel
  • Package of yellow rice with saffron

With the exception of the garlic (which is also a flexible amount), all the amounts of  ingredients are dependent on how large your stew pot is.

Start by chopping everything into bite sized pieces in order listed above. Try to make each vegetable piece even in size.

I started by sautéing 1 medium onion in olive oil with a bit of salt. 

Then, I cut up the chicken thighs into 1″ pieces and minced the garlic. You can see the garlic at the top right of the cutting board. This is a family pack of chicken thighs. The chicken went into the pot to start browning. Then, I cut up the carrots into bite-sized pieces. I also cut the head of cabbage into fairly small pieces but nothing like the other veggies, since the leaves would separate.

I added the carrots and cabbage to the chicken to let them sweat a bit. I also added a bit more salt here. Try to add in small amounts of salt in layers. 

I also added about 2 tablespoons of garlic powder to the pot.

Next, the chicken broth went into the pot. I probably added too much for this pot size with all the ingredients. I had to let a bunch boil off when it was all said and done.

I chopped up 2 yellow squash and 2 zucchini into sauté-sized slices and into the pot it went. 

Once it cooked a bit, I added a can of Rotes and a can of whole kernel corn. 

 

Here’s the final bowl of soup with a spoonful of the yellow rice cooked to package instructions.

If you want to be really authentic, add a squeeze of lime and a slice of avocado on top.

Enjoy!

That’s a Tasty Meatball!

The internet is full of interesting looking recipes these days. Some are easy, some are difficult. Some seem easy but are really difficult. This one that I found through FB was quite simple. Of course, there were a few tweaks I made to the recipe. Here you go, pictures of the process and all!

Cheesy Stuffed Meatballs

  • Difficulty: easy
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  • 1 lb spicy Italian sausage
  • 1 lb ground beef (lower the fat, the better)
  • 2 TBS. olive oil
  • 1 tsp. garlic powder
  • 1 tsp. dried oregano
  • 1 tsp. Pink Himalayan salt
  • 1/2 tsp. pepper
  • 1/2 cup grated parmesan
  • 2 or 3 mozzarella cheese sticks
  • 8 oz. mozarella cheese

Preheat oven to 450 degrees. You’ll need a pan you can put into the oven at this temperature.

Combine the sausage and beef.

Add the garlic, salt, pepper, oregano and parmesan cheese to the meat mixture and mix well.

 

Slice mozzarella sticks into 1/2″ pieces.

 

Oil your pan. Take a small handful of the meat mixture, pat flat in your hand and place a mozzarella stick piece in the middle. Create your meatball, push around a bit in the oil to make sure it won’t stick.

 

Once you’ve filled your pan, place in the oven for about 12 minutes, or until your meatballs are browned. Top with shredded mozzarella cheese and bake for another 5 or so minutes, until your cheese is bubbling.

 

Enjoy!

3 Nights in Hamamatsu, Part 1

Once we arrived in Hamamatsu, we got our suitcases, checked into our hotel and wandered the area of the hotel a bit. We were told that karaage (fried chicken), gyoza (Japanese dumplings) and unagi (eel) were specialities of the area so we set out for some gyoza. The front desk suggested we visit a restaurant near the train stop we came into so we headed that way. We learned that larger cities in Japan have a great series of underground passageways to help keep pedestrians safe from crossing busy intersections. In Hamamatsu, this was very useful. In Tokyo, it was still way too easy to get lost underground so we often stayed street level (that is an option still).

Menu picture:

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What we got:

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After we ate:

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It was really yummy! 4 people easily shared that plate of 25 or so gyoza.

Our hotel had a great view of the train station area, too. After I took this picture, I thought about taking one with all the lights in the room off but I really like the way it turned out and kept it as is.

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The next morning, we had a visit with the Deputy Mayor of Hamamatsu. It was a good will type meeting and Keith Bearden was very eloquent with his remarks on our behalf. I was reminded at how passionate he is about music education and was proud to be represented by him and his words. There was a nice gift exchange, accompanied by lots of bowing (of course) as well. This was apparently highly appreciated by the City of Hamamatsu as well because our meeting made the paper!

The Deputy Mayor:

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Keith Bearden speaking wonderfully on our behalf:

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The gift exchange:

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With the Deputy Mayor, Mr. Osada:

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The newspaper article:

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Hamamatsu is known for headquartering several musical instrument companies.  We had a great tour of the Yamaha factory. Unfortunately, they don’t allow any photos inside so I don’t have any to share. It was a great tour, though! The Hamamatsu Musical Instrument Museum is also there. It was so amazing, it will probably get its own post.

Suzuki Motor Co. has their headquarters there and Honda Motor Co. was founded in Hamamatsu. It would have been cool to go see one of those factories (especially since I talked so much about car manufacturers with my student Xavier) but our days were so full, it wouldn’t have been possible to squeeze in another tour somewhere. Maybe next time I’m in Japan without a pre-set schedule, I’ll make a point to go, probably to Honda.

After the City visit, we went to Kaisei Junior High for our first band visit. I’ll write a post on that visit soon. If you’d like to see all the pictures of this day, please view them in my Flickr account:

Hamamatsu, Japan
City of Hamamatsu visit

More adventures, band, band and more bands, to come!
~C

Beef and Noodle Stir Fry

Beef and Noodle Stir Fry

  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients:

  • 2 TBS vegetable and sesame oil
  • 10-12 coriander seeds
  • 1 TBS shredded ginger
  • 1/2 lb ground beef
  • 1/2 bag of frozen Asian stir fry veggies
  • 1/2 package rice noodles – vermicelli, cooked
  • salt
  • garlic powder
  • ginger powder
  • soy sauce

Cook rice noodles according to package directions. In a wok or large frying pan, heat oil and coriander seeds. When coriander seeds are browned, remove from oil.

Add shredded ginger to oil and within 10-15 seconds after, add ground beef. Stir until browned. Salt to taste (about 1/2 tsp for me).

Add frozen Asian stir fry veggies and stir until thawed and cooking. Add about 1/2 tsp each of garlic and ginger powder.

Add cooked rice noodles (include about a tsp of water from cooked noodles), a splash of soy sauce (to taste) and stir.

Enjoy!

Italian Sausage and Peppers

My friend Megan and I went undergrad and were in the band at Southwest Texas State University together. Through our sisterhood in Tau Beta Sigma, we got to know each other quite well and are still friends to this day. There was one winter that was particularly cold and we spent a bunch of time at Megan’s apartment. One day, she decided to make Italian sausage and peppers and I’ll never forget how much I loved it. This recipe isn’t exactly what she made that day but I make it as an homage to our friendship.

Italian Sausage and Peppers

  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients:

  • 1 package of Italian Sausage (I’ve used both mild & hot before but today, I used mild), 4 or 5 links come to a package.
  • 4 bell peppers – 2 green, 2 red, sliced
  • 1 onion, sliced and quartered
  • mushrooms, quartered
  • 3 cloves of garlic, minced
  • salt
  • 1 Tbs dried oregano
  • 1 Tbs dried basil
  • olive oil
  • pasta sauce
  • pasta
  • parmesan or similar cheese

I start by mincing the garlic and slicing the onions and sweating down in some olive oil and salt. I add the oregano and basil and cover.

Next, I slice and halve the bell peppers (after seeding). They go in the pot as well to sweat down. Stir regularly.

In a separate pan, I brown the sausage on two sides. Just let them sit in the pan for a while then turn and do the same to the other side. They won’t brown nearly as well if you’re moving them around the pan.

  

I then quarter the mushrooms and add them to the pot.

Once the sausage is browned on both sides, pull them to rest then cut them into 1 1/2″ pieces. I use a touch of the sauce or sometimes red wine to deglaze the pan.

So in the ingredients, I list “pasta sauce”. Often, I make it from scratch but because I’m in grad school, always have a ton of homework and little time to cook, I used store bought sauce today. I won’t name brands but my favorite is one that donates all its proceeds to charity in roasted garlic flavor. Let simmer about 15-25 minutes.

Cook the pasta of your choice (I like capellini) to the doneness of your choice and serve. Shave some cheese on top.

Enjoy!