Tuesday, 7 October 2014

Chicken heart yakitori

In Pernod-Ricard's Oiva Pari- recipe contest food bloggers were challenged to elevate fast food to gourmet level. In the last leg we pimped our pizza with duck confit and swtewed fennel, for this leg we turned to Asian night markets for inspiration. 

All sorts of meat, shoved into a stick and cooked on a BBQ is  a street food staple everywhere in the world. They are particularly prominent in Asia (I've come to conclude as a result of about 350 thousands travel documentaries I've seen) where they really make the most of their dead animals. You can expect just about everything - from lungs to feet. We didn't get quite that exotic and instead went for chicken hearts. They are a treat and I would love to encourage you all to give them ago.

Our yakitoris were paired with teriyaki sauce. So, I'm not entirely sure what to call them: chicken heart yakitoris? Teriyaki chicken hearts? Teriyaki-yakitoris? There's no need to worry about getting your tongue in a twist though as the wine we paired these with is... wait for it... non-alcoholic!

Yeah, Jacob's Creek has launched Unvined series, featuring a red (rather ambitiously, Shiraz) and a white (Riesling). A welcome addition to the current selection I must say - I've never been impressed with the ones I've sampled so far. They've been sweet and Muscat-like without any particular depth or complexity. There's sweetness in this wine, too, mind: the sugar content stands at whopping 53 g/ l though it only has half the calories (any supermodels out there?) of the regular wine.

Even the producer admits that the red still requires some work. Unvined Riesling on the other hand has all the markers of a Riesling. It's got zesty, fruity mineral notes, but acidity doesn't come anywhere near the regular kind. Riesling is known to be a good match with Asian spiciness, so that's the direction we, too, took. And actually, whereas more acidic wine would have called for fish or seafood, the density of this one worked well with meatier choices too. 

Fast food does not have to be all white flour, carbs and empty calories (you supermodels still listening?) and instead of a flat bread you can serve these on a salad leaf. We stuffed ours with crunchy salad made of cucumber, carrot and bean sprouts with a drizzle of lime juice to lend it some of that acidity. And to balance the spicy, salty notes of the yakitoris some soothingly rich coconut mayo. Oh, yeah.

Chicken heart yakitoris with teriyaki glaze ( makes appr. 10)

600 g chicken hearts

Teriyaki marinade:

3 dl soijakastiketta
1/2 dl mirin or sweet sherry
1 dl sugar
5 cm piece fresh ginger
the zest of 1 lime, in strips

sesame seeds

Rinse the chicken hearts and pat dry. Combine the ingredients for the marinade in a small pot and heat over moderate temperature until sugar has dissolved. Check the taste and add more sugar if desired. Let cool and pour over the chicken hearts. Let marinate in the fridge for at least 4 hours, preferably overnight. 

Lift the chicken hearts from the marinade and thread onto skewers (if using wooden kind, don't forget to soak them first!). Run the marinade through a sieve and pour it into a non-stick pan. Reduce over fairly high heat until it has thickened (about 20 minutes). Keep an eye on it and don't let it burn or boil over. 

Bake the yakitoris at 200º for 5 minutes, flip over and continue cooking for another 5 minutes. Transfer out of the oven and increase the temperature to 250º. Brush the yakitoris with the glaze and sprinkle sesame seeds on top of them. Grill under the broiler for a couple of more minutes until the glaze has caramelized and sesame seeds have a bit of colour on them. 

Serve as they are or with crunchy salad and coconut mayonnaise.


3 large carrots
1 cucumber
200 bean sprouts
the juice of 1 lime

to serve: fresh coriander

Peel carrots and cut into fine slices. Cut the cucumber in half, remove the seeds using a teaspoon and cut into fine slices lengthwise. If using canned bean sprouts, drain them. Combine the ingredients and drizzle with lime juice.

Coconut mayonnaise:

1/4 dl good mayo
3/4 dl coconut cream (chilled coconut milk)
the zest of 1 lime 

Combine the ingredients and let it sit in the fridge for a while. Check the taste and serve. 

*In collaboration with Pernod Ricard Finland and their Oiva Pari recipe contest*




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