Category Archives: Mains

Chicken Teriyaki with Udon Noodles

Chicken Teriyaki Udon Noodles Gather and Graze

Once a week, I meet up with some friends (other parents from my children’s school) for a morning coffee at a little local pub/cafe.  It can often be quite an eclectic group, comprising of Japanese, Swedish, American, Ni-Vanuatu and of course a few Australians added to the mix. Spending time amongst this small but diverse array of nationalities, I most love the fact that there’s often such interesting and varied perspectives as we sit and chat about all manner of things.  It reaffirms for me that we can learn so much from each other and that in doing so, the world somehow doesn’t feel quite so vast anymore.

With that said… my Japanese friend, who comes along to sip coffee each week, is the reason for this post.  She is as passionate about cooking and food as I am and over the years that I’ve known her, she has imparted not only much knowledge about life in Japan, but also (to my delight and great interest) knowledge about Japanese food.  A week ago, she ever so kindly brought me a gift of some small purple-skinned Japanese sweet potatoes to try.  I baked them in the oven as instructed and was amazed at how different in flavour they were from any sweet potato I’d tasted before.  Much sweeter than what I was used to, but with my penchant for sweet things, they were savoured and devoured without a hint of hesitation.  I’ll be looking out for them in future…

The following recipe, inspired by this lovely lady, has been readily welcomed into our home.  It’s simple to prepare, beautifully aromatic in the kitchen and so full of flavour.

Watashi no yūjin arigatō! xx

Chicken Teriyaki with Udon Noodles | Gather and Graze

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: Easy
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Ingredients

  • 125ml/½ cup (Salt-Reduced) Soy Sauce
  • 125ml/½ cup Mirin
  • 125ml/½ cup Sake
  • 1 Tablespoon Raw Sugar
  • 2 Cloves of Garlic (cut into chunks)
  • 1 Piece of Fresh Ginger (thumb-size)
  • 6 Free-Range Chicken Thigh-Fillets (cut in half)
  • 1 Tablespoon Vegetable Oil
  • 300g Udon Noodles
  • Your choice of: Broccoli, Asian Greens, Snow Peas or Green Beans

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Instructions

In a small saucepan, combine the soy sauce, mirin, sake, raw sugar, garlic and ginger.  Place the pan over medium to high heat and bring to a boil, stirring occasionally to ensure the sugar has dissolved.  Once bubbling, reduce the heat and allow to simmer for about 10-15 minutes or until slightly syrupy.  Be sure to taste as you go, to ensure a sauce well balanced in flavour.  Remove the pan from the heat and allow to cool to room temperature. Strain the sauce to remove the chunks of garlic and ginger.

In a glass or ceramic bowl, marinate the chicken thigh fillets with the cooled Teriyaki sauce, cover and refrigerate for several hours (if time permits).

I prefer to bring all meat to room temperature before I cook it, so approximately one hour before I plan to start cooking I’ll remove the chicken from the refrigerator.  Please feel free to make your own decision regarding this step.

Bring a large saucepan of water to the boil for the noodles.  Depending on the noodles, these will usually take about 10 minutes to cook.  Use your own judgement (after reading the next two steps) as to when you should put the noodles in to cook.

Heat the oil in a large frying pan over medium heat and gently fry the chicken pieces (being sure to reserve the marinade).  Feel free to brush a little more of the marinade onto the chicken pieces as they cook.  Once done, remove the chicken from the pan to rest somewhere warm for a few minutes while you finish off the sauce.

Pour the remaining sauce that the chicken was marinating in, into the frypan and bring to a boil, allowing it to simmer and reduce for about 5 minutes.  I like to add the broccoli (or other green veggies) in with the sauce while it simmers  – though please feel free to steam or boil them separately to your liking and serve on the side or toss through with the noodles and chicken at the last minute.

To serve, slice the chicken into bite-sized pieces and combine with the noodles, extra sauce and vegetables in a large serving bowl.

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Cooking Notes:

  • I initially tried using normal soy sauce in this recipe and it was way too salty.  Very strongly recommend that you purchase a salt-reduced soy sauce.
  •  The Sake I use is neither the cheapest or the most expensive on the shelf.  Perhaps have a chat with your local Japanese or Korean grocer as to their recommendations…
  • Great also served with rice, instead of the noodles.
  • Works beautifully with beef, salmon/other fish or even mixed vegetables.

Brodetto Italian Seafood Soup

Brodetto Italian Seafood Soup Gather and Graze

With somewhat ulterior motives, I began not so long ago, to trace some of our family history. Knowing that predominantly my ancestry winds it’s way back to English and German origins, I was actually secretly hoping to uncover that gem of a find that I had a drop or two of Italian blood coursing through my veins.  Not just because so much of the country is jaw-droppingly picturesque and packed full of history and culture, or that the deliciousness of their food and wine leaves me so constantly in awe… but mostly because I would love dearly to have grown up with an Italian Nonna in my life.  Complete with her opinionated wisdom on all facets of life and her deep sense of family and love to knit everyone together.  Countless stories she would have told of people and places from her past long ago and while she was telling these stories her hands would be busy kneading dough, rolling pasta, or stirring a pot of the most aromatic ragu ever to grace a cucina.  The sights and sounds and smells would have seeped into my very being, guiding me and staying with me right the way through life.

Alas, I found nothing surprising except an English convict or two to colour my family tree, so I’ll leave you with something of an aromatic recipe which unfortunately comes not from my Nonna, but with love and essence of Italy all the same.  Salute!

Brodetto | Italian Seafood Soup

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: Easy
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Ingredients

  • 4 Tablespoons Olive Oil
  • 1 Small Onion (chopped)
  • 2 Cloves Garlic (crushed)
  • 1/3 Cup Flat Leaf Parsley (chopped)
  • Pinch of Crushed Dried Red Chillies
  • 1 Small Red Capsicum/Sweet Pepper (diced)
  • 1 Medium Fresh Fennel Bulb (trimmed and diced)
  • 400g Tin Chopped Tomatoes
  • 1-2 Tablespoons Tomato Paste
  • ½ cup Dry White Wine
  • 500mls Fish or Vegetable Stock
  • Sea Salt and Black Pepper
  • 400g Boneless White Fish Fillets (cut into bite-size chunks)
  • 12 Raw Prawns (shelled and deveined)
  • 1 Calamari/Squid Hood (cleaned, hard quill removed and thinly sliced into rings)
  • Zest of 1 Lemon
  • Handful of Fresh Basil (or Flat-Leaf Parsley) Leaves (chopped into thin ribbons)

Instructions

Heat the olive oil in a large saucepan over low/medium heat.  Add the onions (with a good pinch of salt) and fry gently for about 8-10 minutes until softened.  Next, stir in the garlic, parsley, dried chilli, capsicum and fennel, continuing to fry gently for 5 minutes or so. Pour in the tinned tomatoes and tomato paste and continue to cook another 10 minutes.  Pour in both the wine and stock, bring to the boil and then reduce heat to simmer for another 10 minutes.  Season to taste with salt and pepper while the soup is simmering.  Add the fish pieces and partially cover the saucepan with a lid, simmer for about 4-5 minutes, before adding the prawns for a further 3-4 minutes until cooked. The calamari rings should go in for the final minute or so of cooking.

Top with lemon zest and basil and serve immediately.  Absolutely perfect with a loaf of fresh, crusty bread on the side.

Brodetto Italian Seafood Soup Gather and Graze

Notes on Cooking:

  • Feel free to use boiling water instead of the wine and stock, though be sure to check the seasoning, as more salt and pepper will most likely be required to balance the dish.
  • This soup is beautiful with all manner of seafood added to it – try adding some cleaned mussels, clams or scallops.  Be thoughtful of the required cooking times for each…
  • My thanks to a dearly-loved friend in New Zealand who first introduced me to this soup – her recipe has been altered somewhat over the years, yet still makes me think of her each time I cook it…  xx