June 8, 2009

A right of passage to...

turning 23 means a night of courageous eating. In this country, raw chicken is a big no-no, so when G peer pressured me into participating in chicken sashimi night, I reluctantly accepted his challenge. I almost chickened out. I would love to say that I'm an adventurous eater, but there are plenty of foods I've never touched; chicken sashimi being one of them. Thankfully, I came out alive from the experience and tasted something most Americans can't find in restaurants.

Chicken sashimi is apparently a relatively commonplace food in Japan, so if they've survived eating it, so can I. Up until the moment a sliver of that peachy cluck slid down my throat, I was half holding my breath and half praying to be standing the next day--my birthday. But honestly speaking, the experience was a pleasant surprise. The texture of chicken sashimi is similar to the texture of raw fish but with a bit more chew. In general, chicken is a pretty tasteless meat, so those who aren't fans of fishiness would be elated to find a clean taste to the palate.

Plate 1

Of course, preparing raw chicken requires more than a little precaution. G bought high-quality, organic chicken breasts from Whole Foods and kept a sanitary work space the entire time. Unlike fish sashimi, the chicken requires a little bit of cooking to seal the deal. A gentle 30 second poach in bubbling water and a longer shock period gives the chicken a pristine white exterior. Upon slicing across the grain, the interior is still a fleshy, nude breast of chicken. Interesting.

Plate 2

To complete chicken sashimi night, a variety of complements were prepared. The sauces included: peanut satay and sesame scallion. The condiments included: fried spinach dusted with spices and salt, roasted eel and spicy fried gluten (tofu skin). And of course, who can forget a Japanese staple--rice. We had tamago gohan, which is traditionally a bowl of rice topped with a raw egg. For our dinner, we did a take on the "egg-in-a-hole" by hollowing out a small round of our dome-shaped rice.

Aerial shot.

Tamago gohan, scallions, wakame seasoning, spice powder & Bunnie.

Chicken sashimi, fried spinach, scallions, Peanut satay sauce; Sesame scallion sauce, Grilled eel, Fried gluten & Tamago gohan

Every dinner should end in dessert. Using a pancake mix from Hawaii, we made chocolate coconut macadamia pancakes and paired the mini pancakes with coconut ice cream, lilikoi (passion fruit) jelly, maple syrup and kumquat.

So there you have it! And, I'm alive.