Recently, I reviewed the The Japanese Larder, the second book by chef, food writer and supperclub host Luiz Hara.
Good news: I have permission to share three great recipes from the book with my readers. Here’s the first, for Luiz’ Marmite chicken. Coming soon, Japanese style mabo dofu and Yuzu rhubarb crumble.
This is one of the dishes we enjoyed at a supper club Luiz hosted to showcase recipes from the book. Deeply savoury and delicious, with wonderful crisp skin, this was one of the most popular dishes of the night.
Marmite Chicken (Crispy Chicken, Marmite and Soy Sauce with Sweet Cucumber and Wakame Pickle)
Just like soy sauce and balsamic vinegar, soy sauce and Marmite is an umami-bursting combination. This recipe was inspired by a recent trip to Malaysia, where a similar Nyonya dish is ubiquotous. I tweaked it though, increasing the Marmite kick and making it less sweet. This is one of my favourite recipes in this book!
- 500 g (1lb 2oz) chicken thighs, boneless and skin on
- 1 garlic clove, crushed
- 1 tbsp soy sauce
- sunflower oil for deep-frying
- 4 tbsp potato starch (Japanese katakuriko) or cornflour (cornstarch)
- 2 tbsp spring onions (scallions), thinly sliced on the diagonal
For the marmite and soy sauce
- 2 tbsp marmite
- 2 tbsp dark soy sauce
- 8 tbsp mirin (or 4 tbsp honey mixed with 4 tbsp water)
- 4 tbsp sake or shao xing wine
For the sweet cucumber and wakame pickle
- 160 ml (5½fl oz / ⅔ cup) rice wine vinegar
- 160 ml (5½fl oz / ⅔ cup) water
- 120 g (4oz / ⅔ cup) granulated sugar
- 2 tbsp salt
- 2 large cucumbers, thinly sliced
- 1 large red chilli, thinly sliced
- 2 tbsp dried wakame seaweed
Make the sweet cucumber pickle first – this can be made in advance. Combine the vinegar, water and sugar in a pan and bring to a boil over a high heat. Remove from the heat and let it cool down for 1 hour.
In a colander, sprinkle the salt over the cucumber slices and rub it over them until they are completely covered. Place a plate with a weight on top over the cucumber slices and leave for about 1 hour. (I place the colander over a sink or large bowl as the cucumber releases a lot of water.) When ready, squeeze as much water out of the cucumber as possible, but do not rinse it. Add the cucumber and chilli to the cooled rice vinegar mix and let them pickle in this mixture for at least a couple of hours.
Cut the chicken into bite-sized pieces, place in a bowl, add the garlic and soy sauce, mix well and leave for at least 30 minutes and up to 2 hours.
Twenty minutes before serving the pickles, soak the wakame seaweed in a bowl filled with cold water for 2–3 minutes, drain, squeeze out the water and roughly chop the seaweed if too large. Add the wakame to the pickled mixture and mix well. The pickle is ready to be served or can be stored in the refrigerator in an airtight, sealable container for up to one month.
Meanwhile, in a separate bowl, whisk together all the ingredients for the Marmite and soy sauce until the Marmite is completely dissolved.
To deep-fry the chicken, add sunflower oil to a medium-sized pan, and heat it to 170°C/338°F. Just before you start deep-frying, coat the chicken in potato starch or cornflour (cornstarch), shake off any excess flour and carefully add the chicken to the pan. You may need to cook it in a couple of batches so as not to overcrowd the pan. Cook the chicken for 8–10 minutes until golden brown, then drain on a plate lined with kitchen paper (paper towel).
Add the Marmite and soy sauce to a pan, heat it through to burn off the alcohol and until it is slightly thickened, then add the chicken pieces and mix well to coat them in the sauce. Serve immediately topped with the spring onions (scallions) and the sweet cucumber pickle on the side.
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Kavey Eats received a review copy of The Japanese Larder by Luiz Hara. Published by Jacqui Small (Quarto Books), RRP £26.