Kushi-age (Deep-fried skewers of meat and vegetables)

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Broadcast date:July 11, 2014

  • Meat
  • Seafood
  • Vegetables
  • Rice
  • Eggs
  • Beans & Tofu
  • Flour
  • Other

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Ingredients (Serves 4 )

・300 g chicken (thigh meat, bones removed, but with skin still attached)
・1 small eggplant (about 80 g)
・2 shiitake mushrooms
・1/2 onion
・1 potato (weighing 130 g)
・Salt & pepper
・Flour
・1 egg
・About 3 cups breadcrumbs
・Vegetable oil for frying
・Japanese-style Worcester sauce
・Bamboo skewers (about 15 cm in length)

Preparation

  1. Lay out the chicken, make incisions from the side into the thicker portions, and open out the meat so that you have a uniform thickness of about 1 cm. Cut into bite-sized pieces about 3 cm in size. Slice the eggplant into rounds 1 cm thick. If the eggplant is large, slice the rounds in half. Remove the stems from the mushrooms, and slice the caps in half. Slice the onion into rounds 1 cm thick, then quarter the rounds. Peel the potato and slice to about the same size as the mushrooms and eggplant. Bring water to the boil, simmer the potato for 4-5 minutes. The potato should be still firm enough to be inserted on the skewers.
  2. Arrange the ingredients on a chopping board, with vegetables on one side and meat on the other. Prepare the skewers with a piece of chicken and a different type of vegetable. First, spear the vegetable on the end of the skewer, and then a piece of chicken. Thread the chicken meat a number of times through the skewer, but ensure that the end of the skewer does not poke out from the meat. Once you have assembled the skewers, sprinkle them with some salt and pepper.
  3. Beat an egg, ensuring there are no white bits left, and beat in 1 tablespoon of water. Place in a deep plate. Prepare a tray of flour, and another tray with the breadcrumbs. Dip the ingredients in the flour. Ensure they are well coated, as this will seal in the moisture and ensure the ingredients remain juicy and tender. Lay the skewers on your hand to pat off any excess flour. Then take the skewers and dip the ingredients in the beaten egg, again shaking off any excess, and then place in the tray of breadcrumbs. Sprinkle the breadcrumbs over the ingredients. Don’t be tempted to press the breadcrumbs into the ingredients; you want a light coating.
  4. Take a small saucepan, and add enough oil to come 5 cm up the sides. Heat the oil to 160ºC. Insert the skewered ingredients into the oil and fry for 3-4 minutes. Fry the skewers in batches, being careful not to crowd the pan. At least half of the surface of the oil should be visible. Keep the oil at 160ºC. However, be careful of turning on the heat too high and causing the flames to come into contact with the oil and catch fire. Do not move the skewers for the first minute, otherwise you will dislodge the breadcrumb coating. After 1 minute, turn and do the other side. Remove the skewers using a pair of tongs. Shake off any excess oil over the pan. Serve the skewers hot with Japanese-style Worcester sauce, or with a squeeze of lemon and some salt.

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Japanese-style Worcester Sauce

Kushi-age skewers are often served with Japanese-style Worcester sauce, which is different to the British original.  

The first Worcester sauce was produced and marketed in the city of Worcester, England, in the mid 19th century.  It has a spicy flavour and is often used during cooking.  The Japanese version is sweet, having been adapted to suit Japanese tastes.  It tends to be used to flavour finished dishes or as a table sauce.

If Japanese-style Worcester sauce is unavailable in your area, you can prepare your own according to the following recipe from Watanabe Sensei.

Ingredients:
・1/2 tin of whole tomatoes (about 200 g net)
・1/2 onion (about 100 g)
・1/2 apple (about 100 g)
・1 small carrot (about 100 g)
・1 knob of root ginger (about 2-3 cm in size, weighing about 10 g)
・1 clove of garlic
(Seasonings)
・1 bay leaf
・1/8 teaspoon of cinnamon
・1/8 teaspoon of chili powder
・1/4 teaspoon of nutmeg
・1/4 teaspoon of pepper
・1-2/3 tablespoon of salt (about 25 g)
・100 ml vinegar
・5 tablespoons of soy sauce (about 75 ml)
・100 g sugar

Peel all of the ingredients, except the tomatoes.  Then chop everything to a size of 2 cm.  Place the ingredients in a saucepan with 4 cups (800 ml) water.  Bring to the boil, reduce the heat, and simmer gently for about 1 hour.  Put the mixture through the blender until it is a smooth paste.  Return to the pan, and add all seasonings with the exception of sugar.  Add only half of the sugar (50 g) to the pan.  The remaining 50 g sugar should be caramelized in another pan before it is added to the sauce.   Simmer for 10 minutes.

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