So today’s dinner was the “after two or three real meals do a clean-up meal” kind of thing. That’s a meal where we eat leftovers and I try to get rid of any little remaining stuff before our organic vegetable delivery box on thursday.

Karaage

Japanese have a special fried chicken nugget called Karaage. What I make isn’t exactly karaage, but it is inspired by it. The Japanese diet has lots of fried foods in it, in fact, they are beginning to have the same kinds of health problems Americans are in the younger generations.

Kirsten’s Karaage

rice and nori

tofu/spinach miso soup

left over curry

microwave steamed broccoli

Take your chicken pieces and marinate them an hour or so in a 1/4 cup of soy sauce and mirin (sweet cooking sake, so if you can’t find mirin, sake plus some sugar is fine) each. Grate a few cloves of garlic in there, too.

Start your rice. Heat up the leftover curry in the microwave. Then, cut up your broccoli, put it in a bowl with a bit of water and some salt, cover with wrap and microwave it.

For the miso soup, put some dashi (okay, this is a specialty item, it is fish and seaweed based bouillon, the basis of much of Japanese cooking. just go buy it and keep it on hand.) in some water and heat. Add the chopped up spinach and let it boil for a few minutes until wilted. Turn off the heat, add the chopped tofu (firm, please) and then take a big old spoon and put about a tablespoon of miso on it. Dip the spoon in the soup and use chopsticks to dissolve the miso in the broth still ON THE SPOON. It is impossible to dissolve miso by dumping it directly in the soup.

Take your chicken pieces out of the marinade and dredge in potato starch (katakuriko in japanese). Put a centimeter of vegetable oil in a frying pan, heat it on medium high heat. Put your chicken pieces in the oil and cover. When the pieces turn white on top, flip ’em over and cook a little longer. Check a piece by cutting it in half to see if the chicken is cooked through. Take the chicken out and place on a paper towl.

You can serve the chicken with Japanese bulldog (tonkatsu) sauce, or not.

In terms of eating, Mia grabs up the leftover curry while Maika and I ate most of the broccoli and chicken pieces. You can take little pieces of nori and wrap a dab of rice in it and it looks a little like miniature sushi. Kids like it.

In terms of time, this meal does take a little bit of work because of the heating up of various things. If you have made miso soup before, it’s not that big a deal. If not, it may take you a little time getting used to the process. I can do it in my sleep now.

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