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Sake Simmered Chicken

Friday, April 18, 2008 | Labels: , , |

Recipe adapted from Book of Practical Japanese Cooking by Shizuo Tsuji and Koichiro Hata

Yup, another great recipe from my favourite Japanese cook book. This is easy to cook but requires a longer time (> 1 hour) to complete due to the various stages of simmering involved. Before I completed the dish, I did wonder about the lack of garlic or ginger in the recipe. However, tasting the chicken TOTALLY proved my doubts unfounded. The chicken tasted ichi-ban (loosely translated to first-rate in this context). The chicken legs are simmered in their own broth and then at a later stage in sake and sweetened with mirin and some sugar. The slow method of cooking totally allows the fragrant chicken broth and sake flavours to seep into the meat, making every single bite an absolute pleasure. Now, you can cook like a Japanese chef at home!


2 whole chicken legs (thighs and drumsticks)
2 inch length konbu (kelp)
5 stalks green onions (only the white part)

For simmering:
5 cups water
7 tbsps sake
2 tbsps mirin
2 tbsps sugar
3 tbsps dark soy sauce

Cut the chicken legs apart at the joint. Drop into boiling water until the colour changes. Transfer into cold water and drain. Set aside.

Combine the chicken, kelp and water for simmering in a pot. Cover with a drop-lid (this is to ensure that the flavours seep right back into the chicken), alternatively you can simply cover with parchment paper right on top of the food (make a little hole in the middle for steam to escape). Place over high heat. Just before water boils fully, remove and discard the kelp. Bring to a boil and reduce heat to low. Simmer until the liquid is reduced to about one-third (takes about 1 hour).

Add the sake, mirin and sugar. Simmer for 5 more minutes and add the soy sauce. Simmer for a final 5 minutes, remove from heat and let the chicken cool in the liquid. Once the chicken has cooled, remove from the simmering liquid and remove the bones. Discard the bones and return the chicken to the pot. Reheat over high heat and boil, occasionally spooning the liquid over the chicken until the liquid is reduced by half. Add the onions and heat through quickly. Serve.

Tip: If you opted to use boneless chicken thighs, you can of course skip the last step (deboning and returning chicken to the pot)

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