Chicken tender with wasabi 鶏のささみのとりわさ

japanese cake

“Tori-wasa”とりわさ or “chicken and wasabi” is a popular dish in Japan especially  in a certain type of Izakayas specialized in chicken cuisines (different from Yakitori places), a good example of this type of Izakaya is “Torihachi” とり八 near Kyoto station which we went last time we were in Japan. Usually, the chicken tenders or breast meat are cooked very briefly in boiling water and then dipped into ice cold water to stop the cooking. Sometimes, this process is called “shimofuri” 霜降り meaning “frosted”, since only surface of the meat turns white as though it is covered with frost or “yubiki” 湯引き meaning “dragging it through hot water”. The chicken is then sliced on the bias and eaten with wasabi and soy sauce like “sashimi” or “tataki”.

When chicken tenders are prepared as Yakitori, the are often grilled only on the surface with the center still raw. As long as you eat this type of dish in a reputable establishment in Japan, salmonella appears not to be a problem.  Unfortunately, it is too dangerous to do this using store bought chicken in the U.S. Instead of using the traditional technique described above, I have to poach the chicken tenders gently in salted water with a dash of sake (to remove any smell it may have) for 5-6 minutes or until the chicken meat is completely opaque. I then let it cool down, slice it on the bias and eat it with wasabi and soy sauce. It does not taste or look as good as real “tori-wasa” but it has to do.

Here is an image borrowed from the web for “tri-wasa”.

Mmmmmm..this one looks good.

P.S. (2-27-10) I came across an article (in Japanese) which indicates a higher incidence of food poisoning among people who eat raw or under cooked chicken and other meat. Campylobacter and E. coli (O-157) are two major causes. They mention that among the population that eat raw chicken, there is 77 times more risk of food poisoning. So, even in Japan, eating raw chicken like this dish may not be wise.

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