I bought Harumi's Japanese Cooking years ago, before I was ready to use it. I was a little intimidated by the Japanese ingredients because I was still getting used to the idea that I could cook food that didn't get me a free ride in an ambulance.
I've been wanting to make chicken "kari kari" style from Harumi's Japanese Cooking for a long time. But, I've never wanted to cut 1/2 cup worth of chives for one meal. Over the winter, I let my chives grow a little wild and they desperately needed a haircut. So this was the perfect time to try it. I needed a side dish, so I chose her green beans with black sesame sauce. I also decided to toss in a Vietnamese appetizer because I wanted to try my new Vietnamese cilantro and I had rice paper in my pantry. This meal was simple, healthy, and very, very good! Leave out the Vietnamese summer roll and it can be made even more quickly.
The chicken is prepared very simply; it's sauted with salt and pepper and then topped with ponzu sauce and a mountain of chives. A dollop of mustard is optional. I didn't have Japanese mustard, so I used Dijon and it was a mistake. Only use Japanese or Chinese mustard, Dijon just tastes weird. Harumi's Japanese Cooking provides a recipe for making ponzu sauce at home. Good luck on finding yuzu or any other Japanese citrus unless you live near a large Japanese community! I bought Kikkoman's Ponzu and it worked fine. There are a few Asian markets in my area and I may look for yuzu in the future and make my own.
The green beans were very easy and quick to make. I'll definitely be using them as a side dish again in the future. The black sesame sauce is sweet, but not cloyingly so.
The Vietnamese summer roll is something I just threw together. I used a recipe from Chow.com for the peanut sauce. I loved the sauce so much that I'll definitely go through the work to make summer rolls again. The sauce is creamy, tangy, and has just a little kick to it from the chili garlic sauce. I think that my organic peanut butter (only one ingredient!) made it extra tasty. I love my hippie peanut better and I'm never going back to Skippy.
Chicken Saute Kari Kari Style
From Harumi's Japanese Cooking
5 oz boneless chicken thighs with skin (Harumi notes that you can also use chicken breast, which is what I did)
salt and pepper
1/2 Tbsp vegetable oil
2 oz chives
(Japanese or Chinese) mustard
1) Season the chicken with salt and pepper.
2) Heat the oil in a frying pan and fry the chicken skin side down. If using skinless breast, brown the chicken on one side. Filp the chicken over and cook with a drop lid or a circle of foil to keep it moist.
3) While chicken is cooking, chop the chives.
4) Cut the chicken into bite sized pieces, cover with chives, pour on some ponzu sauce to taste, and serve with a dollop of mustard on the side.
Green Beans with Black Sesame Sauce
From Harumi's Japanese Cooking
4 oz. green beans
1/8 c roasted black sesame seeds
1/2 tsp sugar
3/4 tsp mirin
1.5 tsp soy sauce
1) Cut the beans in half lengthwise and then in half again. (I just cut them in half once. I'm lazy, and it was still good!) Parboil for 3 minutes. Drain and soak in ice water for a few minutes, then drain them and pat them dry.
2) In a mortar, lightly crush the sesame seeds. Add remaining ingredients and stir until a smooth paste is formed.
3) Mix beans and sesame sauce together in a bowl and serve!
Vietnamese Summer Rolls
2 round rice paper sheets
a good handful of thinly shredded red cabbage
a handful of julienned cucumber
a few ounces of rice stick noodles, prepared according to package and cooled
about 12 leaves of Vietnamese cilantro
1) Assemble these one at a time because rice paper is finicky. Run the rice paper sheet under warm water until damp. Place on a flat service and allow to sit for a few seconds until it becomes soft. Arrange noodles, cabbage, cucumber, and cilantro in a line about 1/3 down from the top of the sheet. Fold up the ends and then roll the sheet over toppings.
2) Repeat with the other rice paper sheet.
1/4 c natural creamy peanut butter. If you use regular peanut butter, don't add the sugar, as recommended by the original recipe.
1.5 tsp sugar
1 Tbsp hoisin sauce
1.5 tsp soy sauce (I use low sodium)
1 small garlic clove, mashed (I used a garlic press)
1/2 tsp chili garlic sauce
1 tsp sesame oil
Juice of 1/2 lime (I didn't have one, so I used a lemon and it worked, but a lime would definitely have been better)
1/8 c water
1) Mix all ingredients in a bowl. Add extra water if it's not the consistency you prefer.