I saw this recipe on line and decided to try it. The idea of this dish is to coat pieces of chicken breast with potato starch before poaching it, which creates a transparent slippery surface and also keeps the meat moist. This type of preparation is apparently called “quartz crystal” 水晶 to be poetic.
This was served cold with sliced cucumber, hydrated sea weed (wakame 若布) and julienned daikon seasoned with ponzu ポン酢 sauce. I also added yuzu-koshou 柚子胡椒 and the meat of pickled plum or umeboshi 梅干, which was finely chopped into a paste or “bainiku” 梅肉.
I followed the original recipe closely.
Chicken breast: I used one bone-less, skin-less chicken breast for two small servings as seen above. It was cut along the long axis first and them sliced thin (1/4 inch). Using the back of my knife, I pounded the meat in one direction and then turned the meat 90 degrees and repeated the process. I did this on both sides of meat to tenderize. I placed the meat in a small bowl and added light-colored soy sauce (1 tsp), salt (1/4 tsp), grated ginger (1/4 tsp) and potato starch (1 tbs). Using my fingers, I mixed everything well.
Poaching: I deviated somewhat here. Instead of water, I used chicken broth (my usual reduced salt non-fat Swanson chicken broth). In a frying pan, I poured chicken broth about 1 inch deep. After it came to a boil, I turned the heat down and gently poached the seasoned chicken. I only poached it for 2-3 minutes or until the meat was cooked. I did not poach as long as the original recipe suggested (10 minutes). I immediately dunked the poached meat into ice water until it was completely cooled down. Then, I drained it.
This is quite a nice small dish perfect for cold sake. The chicken was tender and moist. Some may not like the slippery (slimy) texture on the surface. We coated the pieces with plum meat or yuzu koshou and dipped it in additional ponzu sauce. Certainly this could be our “Teiban” 定番 or regular home Izakaya dish.