Serves 2 or 3
Umeboshi (Japanese pickled plums) and shiso is a natural and traditional combination in Japan (especially in sushi), but the sauteed onions blended into the mixture give it a new and satisfying depth that permeates the chicken. Wonderful with hot rice, miso soup, and a small flask of chilled sake.
Preheat the oven to 400F (200C). In a heavy skillet over high heat, heat 3 tablespoons of the olive oil, add the onion, and liberally salt and pepper. Saute until soft, about 5 minutes.
Place the onion in the blender and add the umeboshi, shiso, and 1 tablespoon of the olive oil, and blend (also add as much sake as the blender needs to do its work). Reserve about 3 tablespoons of this mixture in a small bowl.
In the same skillet, heat up the 2 remaining tablespoons of oil over maximum heat and fry the chicken until brown spots begin to appear. Transfer the chicken and the blended onion mixture to a large bowl and mix.
Apply or spray some olive oil to a baking dish, transfer the chicken to it, and bake until golden, about 30 minutes. Remove the chicken, mix the reserved sauce through it, and return it to the oven for another few minutes before serving.
Serve on a warm plate, topped off with the chopped shiso.
Reprinted with permission from the book:
The Breakaway Japanese Kitchen
by Eric Gower
The Breakaway Japanese Kitchen is a coup d'etat. Its elegant, easily prepared, and highly original dishes combine Japanese and Western elements in ways that produce completely new tastes.
Author and chef Eric Gower artfully uses staple ingredients and seasonings from Japanese cooking - like edamame, shiitake, ginger, and soy sauce - in his own unique contemporary style. His dishes are born of a passion for good home-cooked food and experimentation over fifteen years spent living in Japan.
Each recipe expresses Gower's innovative approach: effortless blending of Japanese cuisine with that of other countries (particularly Italy), minimalist presentation, emphasis on time saving, and a playful, free, and joyous approach to the making of great food.
This elegant bud vase combines traditional Japanese bamboo craftsmanship with a Bauhaus sensibility.
An example of Takesensuji bamboo ware from Shizuoka Prefecture, the narrow glass vase is held between two frames of fine bamboo lattice. The lattice frames may be oriented either horizontally or vertically.
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This brick-red tin would make a handy stand on your desk for holding pens, pencils and brushes. Or of course you can use it for its original purpose, as an airtight container for storing your favorite tea.
The round scarlet post box has been a familiar sight on Japan's streets for almost a century and a half. The Japan Post adopted the iconic design from the British Royal Mail postbox, as well as the distinctive red livery. Instead of the Royal Mail's coat of arms, however, the box is decorated with the kanji characters for Yuubin (Post Office) and one of the earliest logos in the world, the letter T (for 'Tsushin') with a bar across it, which debuted in 1877.
The tin comes filled with a 30g pack of Houjicha, a roasted black tea that is refreshing as a hot beverage in winter or iced tea in summer. The tea is from the famous Suzukien tea plantation in Saitama, Japan.
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