When I told Mr. Tess that we’d be eating “chikin raisu” he was skeptical.
This Japanese dish is made with leftover rice, chicken, and ketchup.
It does not sound appealing!
Chikin raisu was introduced to Japan at the turn of the 20th century, and though it is a meal without a long tradition, it is “comfort food” which appeals to children of all ages.
Before I graduated from college, I lived in a house with several other young women. None of us had much money. We got into the habit of watching “The Days of Our Lives,” a television soap opera which showed weekdays at lunch time. We’d often eat Kraft macaroni and cheese, but one day all we had was plain macaroni. There was a can of V-8 (tomato vegetable juice) in the cupboard, and ketchup in the fridge. It turned out to be pretty good! It could be dressed up with a little grated Kraft parmesan. We ate that once or twice per week for quite a while.
My tastes have changed considerably over the years, so I was prepared to not like this recipe. But you know what? It was really nice, and tasty, and comforting.
Stir-Fried Rice and Chicken
serves 2 to 3 as a main dish
- 4 cups cold Japanese rice
- 3 Tablespoons butter
- 1 medium onion, minced (about 1 cup)
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 small carrot, minced (about 1/2 cup)
- 7 ounces boned and skinned chicken breast, cut into 1-inch cubes
(I used more like 10 ounces)
- 1/2 cup chicken broth, homemade if possible
- 1/2 cup fresh or frozen peas
- 1/4 cup tomato ketchup
- Freshly ground black pepper
Cold rice can be lumpy, so Ms. Shimbo suggests that the cook rinse it under cold tap water and drain well. I actually had to make rice for this meal, so it was not necessary—my cooked rice was fluffed, then cooled to only a bit below room temperature.
Heat a wok over medium heat, and add 3 Tablespoons butter. When it has melted, add the onions. Reduce heat to low, add the salt, and cook until the onion is soft but not browned. (The salt helps to break down the onion fibers.)
Add the carrot, and cook for 1 minute. Add the chicken, and cook until the outside is white. Add the chicken stock and raise the heat to medium-high. Cook until the liquid is absorbed/evaporated. Taste and add more salt if desired.
Add the rice and peas, turn the heat to high, and stir constantly until the rice is heated through and mixed with the chicken and vegetables. Add the tomato ketchup and black pepper and stir thoroughly.
Serve hot. Eat with a spoon and fork!
Notes: the original recipe called for an additional 3 Tablespoons butter, but did not indicate what to do with it! Probably you’re to add it right before serving. But that is a LOT of butter.
Omu Raisu is made with this recipe, but the rice is served wrapped in an omelette. And more ketchup on top.
Other Japanese Stir-Fried Recipes from Tess
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