Sunday, April 8, 2012

Negima (Japanese Grilled Chicken Thigh Skewers with Scallions)

I realized yesterday that it has been weeks since we made an Asian meal.  It's entirely my fault because when I go into my salad kick I don't think of any Asian salads.  I mean, to be perfectly honest, there really aren't many Asian salads (at least not using lettuce).  So I tend to stray a bit more into American and Italian cuisine during the spring and summer when produce at the farmers' market is just so irresistible.  But after a week or two of non-Asian food I start to think about how much I miss it.  This time I thought negima would be the perfect use for some of the gorgeous scallions I picked up at the farmers' market.  When the scallions were raw they were actually purple in places.  Apparently just like you can buy white and red onions, you can buy red and white scallions.  Who knew?  I was planning on saving these red scallions for a different use and using the regular scallions we picked up for the negima, but Alex was prepping lunch and he had different ideas.

Weather like this and dishes like this make me wish that we had a grill.  As I'm sure you can imagine (and as I have said before) you don't find a lot of grills in Manhattan.  So we are stuck "grilling" inside on our grill pan.  But I miss the flavor that the grill imparts.  The grill would have done wonders here to just add another level of smokey flavor.  The combination of smoke and the slightly sweet sauce would have been delicious.  Even without a grill it was a nice dish.  But it could have been that much better.

P.S.  I'm not sure how we ended up with two kebobs/skewers in a row (especially since we made the lamb for dinner on Thursday and cooked the negima for lunch today, but such is life. I promise no more kebobs for the week!

Recipe after the jump!

Negima (Japanese Grilled Chicken Thigh Skewers with Scallions)

1 lb boneless and skinless chicken thighs, cut into bite-sized pieces (roughly 1-inch)
1 bunch scallions, white parts only, cut into 2-in lengths
bamboo skewers (soaked before grilling)
1 tsp vegetable oil
kosher salt
shichimi togarashi
sea salt
For sauce:
1/4 cup soy sauce
1 tablespoon sake
1 tablespoon mirin
1 teaspoon corn starch

Add soy sauce, sake and mirin to a small sauce pan and bring it to boil. Add corn starch slurry and return to boil, stirring.  Remove from heat and set aside.

Thread chicken meat onto bamboo skewers, chicken pieces with scallions.  Drizzle chicken with vegetable oil.  Season lightly with salt.

Heat a grill or grillpan over moderately-high heat.  Place the skewers on top of the fire.  Cook skewers until seared golden brown in places and almost cooked through, turning once, about 2 minutes per side (depending on the heat of the fire and the size of the chicken pieces, you might need to adjust the cooking time).  Brush chicken with sauce and return to grill for about 30-40 seconds on each side. 

Sprinkle lightly with shichimi togarashi.  Serve with additional shichimi togarashi and sea salt.

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