Chicken rice 鶏飯

japanese cake

This was a “shime” 締め we had one weekday evening. This is loosely based on the recipe from “Otsumami yokocho” volume 1, page 132. This dish “keihan” 鶏飯 is supposedly famous in Kagoshima prefecture 鹿児島 but a similar combination of boiled chicken and rice appears to be  somewhat universal across the Asian ethnic food cultures with the Hainanese variation best known (we never had this but only saw it in the Anthony Bourdain’s No reservations, Singapore episode).

Digression alert: The two kanji letters (ideogram) “鶏飯” in “kun-yomi” 訓読み, or the pronunciation of the letter based on the meaning of the each letter in Japanese, will be “Tori-meshi” but if you pronounced it as such, it indicates a totally different type of a flavored rice dish with chicken meat mixed in. When you pronounce it using the sound related to the original ancient Chinese pronunciation of the letter or “on-yomi” 音読み, then it will be “Kei-han” indicating this dish. Nobody will care but, I am sure, Jon does.

The most important part of this dish is the broth/soup. This is not a recipe to follow but this was what happened. I was vaguely thinking about this dish when I ended up with excess kelp and bonito broth but it took almost 10 days before I finished the broth for this dish. I started this with the leftover Japanese dashi broth (using a dashi pack when I made “snap peas in broth”). I kept the dashi I did not use in the refrigerator for several days. When I deboned chicken thighs for another dish, I warmed up the dashi and added the chicken thigh bones (4) with more sake, slices of ginger and several stalks of scallion and simmered it for 30-40 minutes. I let it cool and again placed it in the refrigerator.  The next day, I removed all the bones and congealed fat and strained it to a sealable container and kept it the fridge until today. I first warmed up the broth and gently poached a half skinless, boneless breast for 10 minutes. I took out the chicken breast and set aside. I added more sake, and light-colored “usukuchi” soy sauce 薄口醤油 to taste with a touch of mirin to finish the broth for this dish. This turned out to be a very nice delicate broth with a hint of ginger.

I shredded the poached chicken into thin strands by hand after it was cool enough to handle. I also made “Golden thread omelet” or “kinshiran” 金糸卵 seasoned only with salt, julienne of cucumber and thinly sliced scallion. I just arranged these toppings on warm cooked rice in a bowl (I used frozen and microwaved rice) and poured the warm broth over top. I did not have miso-cured cucumber キュウリの味噌漬け or “Kaiware” daikon sprouts 貝割れ大根, which were called for in the recipe, and I forgot to add sesame seeds.

My wife usually does not like a dish with lots of liquid like “Ochazuke” お茶漬け as a “shime” dish but she really liked this dish especially the broth. She totally emptied the bowl including the broth. Next time, I will try to make the broth in much less than 10 days.

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