Japanese Chicken Loaf: “Wind-in-the-Pines”


The name of this recipe typifies the poetry in everyday Japanese life. … The white poppy seeds—sprinkled like beach sand over the dish—evoke the (same) pine-bordered beach scene with ocean breezes playing among the trees. —Shizuo Tsuji

I laughed this morning.
J. brought me coffee. I usually sleep face down with feet hooked over the end of the mattress; he nudges against them to wake me. Today I was on my back with toes pointing toward the the opposite wall. He put the cup on the table and kissed my forehead, which is usually hidden. Instead of tiptoeing away, he put his hands under the sheet and rubbed the bottoms of my feet. I laughed. He asked what was funny, but all I could say was it’s just nice.
We’d eaten a delicious dinner—he even asked if it was hard to make! (It’s not much more difficult than making hamburgers.) We spent a quiet evening together and had a lovely night.
It’s rare to hear someone laugh for simple happiness.


Japanese Chicken Loaf: “Wind-in-the-Pines”
Toriniku Matsukaze-yaki

from: Japanese Cooking
A Simple Art
by Shizuo Tsuji

4 page 368

  • 1 pound (450 gr) ground chicken
  • 3 Tablespoons saké
  • 1 egg plus 2 yolks, beaten
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 2 Tablespoon sugar
  • 3 Tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 Tablespoon fresh ginger juice (I was very generous)
  • egg white
  • 2 teaspoons white poppy seeds (or toasted sesame seeds)

To prepare:
Put half the ground chicken into medium skillet, add the saké. Cook over high heat, stirring constantly to keep the chicken broken up, for about 2 minutes, till meat turns whitish. Drain. Cool. Partially pre-cooking half of the meat is a way to keep the finished dish from shrinking.
Use hands to mix the uncooked chicken with the beaten egg and yolks. Add salt, sugar, and soy sauce, mixing well between additions. Mix in the pan-cooked meat. Last, add the ginger juice. The mixture will be wet and sloppy.
To bake and serve:
Spread the meat mixture in an 8-inch (20-cm) square baking pan lined with oiled foil that extends over opposite sides of the pan. Place the pan in a bain-marie or large pan with hot water. Bake uncovered, for 30 minutes at 425°F (220°C). The loaf is done when the center is as firm as the meat on the edges.
Immediately upon removing from oven, brush on beaten egg white and sprinkle with poppy seeds while still wet. The hot food will cook the egg and make the sesame (poppy) seeds stick.
Pull the foil to remove the chicken from the pan. Cut the loaf into 2-inch squares: each serving is 4 squares.


11 thoughts on “Japanese Chicken Loaf: “Wind-in-the-Pines”

  1. This is an interesting technique, Tess, both the pre cooking of half the mince and also the gentle bain marie. Something I’d like to try!

    • Yes, I’ve never heard of this double cooking trick before. Nor have I ever seen a ‘meatloaf’ made so thin!

      The mixture is runny, almost like batter: I think I may have cooked mine a tad bit too long and was a bit dry. So if you try this recipe keep a watch on how long you cook it.

      • Oh Tess I have already cooked it and yes mine was somewhat dry too. I wonder what a thicker and initially covered Wind in the Pines would taste like…I may experiment.

        • But it did taste good?
          I liked it very well.
          Certainly worth another try. Maybe I just thought it would be softer. Maybe more egg? Or covering the pan? or shorter cooking time?
          Thicker might be better, but part of the ‘charm’ is how thin it is.
          I’ll give it a rest and come back to this recipe again.
          If you experiment, let me know…

  2. Glad too that you woke with laughter. Sometimes my Mark laughs in his sleep. I’m always curious to know what he dreamt but he can never remember…

    But you sleep face down?

  3. J. says I laugh, yell, talk, and cry in my sleep.

    Yes, face down. Arms in a circle. Sometimes my head is turned to one side or the other, but I usually get to sleep face down.

    When I broke my ankle a few years ago, getting to sleep with the cast on was difficult—especially at first when I was supposed to keep it elevated.

  4. Ugh sleeping in plaster would be awful. Gabriel my son is studying Plath’s “In Plaster” today. He has spread out on the kitchen table and is reading aloud alternate chunks from his essay and the poem. Did you grow to love your perfect image? I can’t imagine it. I’ve never broken a leg or ankle only an arm and was prevented from swimming for six weeks – a great tragedy when you are ten.

    Hope all your dreams are good ones from now.

    • I have not read much Plath. I have to think about that poem but it touches things I felt during that time.

      I’m picturing you and your son discussing it, but can’t hear your words/ideas…

      Now though, I mostly only remember remembering it—the backward fall down the stairs—but even now I sometimes really remember “it can’t be/it’s not me/roll roll roll/but yes, and don’t go all the way down.” And I snap awake, happy that it’s not happening. again

      A perfect image? I dreamed of dancing.

      Remembering the memory, it sounds romantic to say it happened in Madrid. A story to tell…

      A broken arm at ten! I wanted one at that age: a cast for friends to draw and write on!

      One of the first appointments after the amazingly expensive internal jewelry (plates and screws), I saw a woman coming out at the doctors’ practice with two beautiful cheerfully colored casts on her arms, proudly talking about her great choices for the new accessories and happy as could be. Then she was thirsty, so her daughter handed her a can of soda. But the casts would not allow her to reach her mouth. Then she realized…

      Dream of houses and nests and swimming—

    • Hi El,
      Oh, I’m glad you enjoyed the recipe.
      Blorgie, in comments on another post, mentioned that she cut leftovers with small cookie cutters to have for lunch. I didn’t think of that, but we both liked the “Wind in the Pines” loaf cold. Cutting it like that would work for a bento or to serve as an appetizer for a party or potluck.

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