Chicken karaage

So I’m nursing this annoying flu. I never get sick. Ever. Even in this freezing Canberra winter, I only remember being sick once before. Is it the lack of exercise? Is it a new strand of mutant flu germs? One thing is for sure – I hate being sick at home and feeling useless.

One thing is great though, I have a lot of time to think about what to make for dinner. Yes, dinner is cooked without fail in this household. Cooked by me that is. I had a sudden craving for fried chicken, and particularly chicken karaage. It’s such an easy dish to make but you really need to plan ahead. I say that because when I make chicken karaage, it involves an all-day defrosting marathon and marinating it for at least two hours. Anyway, I digress – here is the recipe that I use. The measurements are kinda not exact and therefore call for discretion and judgment…

Chicken karaage

  • 500 grams chicken breast – cut into bite sized pieces, but not too small
  • a chunk of ginger, crushed or finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon mirin (sweet Japanese sake used for cooking, you can also use sake but I’d suggest adding a little bit sugar if you do)
  • 2 teaspoons soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • vegetable or canola oil for frying
  • corn starch / corn flour

Combine chicken, ginger, mirin, soy sauce and salt. Marinate for at least two hours in the fridge or overnight.

Coat the chicken pieces in corn starch (it’s a fine white powder, not corn mill). Heat enough oil in a wok or cast iron pot to deep fry the chicken. Test the oil with a little piece of bread, the bread will brown easily if the oil is ready. Shake off excess corn starch, put the chicken pieces in the wok. Wait til they float to the top and take them out.

Return the chicken pieces to the oil and fry until golden and cooked. Why fry it twice? This will ensure that the chicken is crispy and remains crispy for longer.

Drain. Serve with Japanese mayo (this is absolutely essential) and a slice of lemon if you want. I don’t bother with the lemon but instead stuffs a piece that’s drenched in mayo into my mouth straight away.

Mmmmmmm yum.

A walk in the garden

It’s winter (zero degree in the morning anyone?) and obviously not a good time for plants.  Thanks to our efforts and good intentions (read: easy maintenance plants), I think the garden is doing okay.  Although compared to the tropical Queensland, where everything grows all year, this is a bit of a let down.

See for yourself.

Lemon tree. Finally some lemons after more than a year.

Himalayan bamboo. It's supposed to withstand the cold. Doing good so far. Note the little chilli plant in the corner.

Japanese maple. Lost all its leaves last week.

Little rosemary plant.

Aleo vera. Going strong. But not as strong as my parents' in Queensland, where they seem to sprout and grow overnight like mushrooms.

Spring onion! You know you are Asian when you have a bunch of these in your garden.

Some dead and dying cacti. How do I keep them alive in Winter??!

A mild winter’s day

A mild Winter's day. American Apparel leggings, Country Road sparkle singlet, grey cardigan, silk hand-spun scarf from Cambodia, Balenciaga bag

Photos by my talented bf.