Sometimes you just have to organise your books…in my case, my growing cookbook collection!
So tonight I finally made chicken karaage and it was good!
Well, when I say karaage, I use the term very loosely. Karaage is a Japanese dish of chicken marinated in ginger and garlic, soy and sake, and is fried to lovely crispy pieces. I don’t have sake in my cupboard on a regular basis (I’ve never had sake in my cupboard, ever!) but I do have shaoxing and sherry (as I cook more Chinese dishes than Japanese). So I tried substituting the sake with the shaoxing. I think it works. I will save up for sake, but for the meantime, shaoxing in the recipe works. And works well, if I say so myself!
Oh, I didn’t have potato flour (aka potato starch) as well, so I’ve substituted it with cornflour.
- 500g chicken thigh fillets, cut into large-ish bite-sized chunks
- 2 tablespoons grated fresh ginger
- 2 cloves garlic, crushed
- 2 tablespoons Shaoxing rice wine
- 4 tablespoons soy sauce
- 3 heaping tablespoons cornflour
- vegetable oil for deep-frying
- In a ziplock bag, combine chicken, ginger, garlic and soy. Carefully massage the chicken through the bag and marinade for at least 1 hour (better if you let the chicken marinade overnight though).
- In a bowl, fish the chicken out of the bag and mix with the cornflour until all chicken pieces are well-coated with the cornflour
- In a frying pan, heat up the vegetable oil. When the oil is hot enough, carefully drop chicken pieces and fry until golden brown (should take about 3-4 minutes).
- Serve with a slice of lemon or a teriyaki sauce, on its own or over a bed of fluffy steamed rice! Speaking of rice, I wrote a post on how to cook rice perfectly (I’ve been cooking rice since I was 11 so I like to think I know what I’m talking about – way before there were non-stick pans!).
Here’s a little recipe on sticky sauce that goes well with the karaage.
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 3 tablespoons honey
- 4 tablespoons soy sauce
- 1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
- 200ml water
Combine all ingredients in a small saucepan and bring to a rolling boil, stirring constantly. Once boiling turn the heat right down and allow to reduce until there is only half of the liquid, making sure that you stir occasionally so that none of the sugar burns. This is brilliant as a little sauce to be sprinkled (sparingly) on steamed rice if you’re having friend chicken or fish.
I love chicken. If you ask me what I miss most from the Philippines, it will probably be Chickenjoy from Jollibee (a fastfood restaurant in the Philippines) and fried chicken from Max’s (am not quite sure this is a fastfood restaurant but it is Filipino and I grew up going to Max’s!). So it follows that when I moved to the UK, I would look for a chicken place to go to. And I thought I’d found a great chicken place.
We discovered Gallus, Empire of Chicken on Timeout. They were offering a £10 voucher for a £25 food spend. Alan said that as it was £10 for £25 of food, you couldn’t really complain. So we looked on the website and thought, what the hey, it’s something new. So on our next trip to London, off we went to Gallus! And let me tell you, £25 bought you a lot of food!
Gallus offered a lot of chicken choices – you had chicken skewers, chicken burgers, salad with chicken, sides (there were chips, side salads, coleslaw…and a lot more that I can’t remember!), desserts and a good selection of drinks!
We went back several times because the chicken was genuinely good. Because the chicken was marinated in several ways, you never really got bored of the chicken choices. You could go Mediterranean, Oriental, South Asian or Latin American. You could go mild, spicy, or umami. The servings were generous and it was excellent value for money. The staff were polite but very attentive and they knew their product – we never felt there was a question too silly about the food they served!
But if you notice that I keep talking in the past tense, it is, sadly, because Gallus has closed. We walked past the Charing Cross Road restaurant to find that all the windows were papered and the sign has been removed. I know that they didn’t really have a lot of footfall whenever we went (I think we managed about 4 trips – it was conveniently close to the theatres so it was brilliant for pre- and post-theatre meals) but I had hoped they were more popular and that people would cotton on to the fact that they were good.
It is sad that in the wonderful melting pot of wonderful places to eat that is London, Gallus was eaten up, swallowed and spitted out like, dare I say it, chicken bones. If you didn’t get to eat at Gallus, you missed a great chicken place that served succulent chicken pieces that offered a better option than KFC for almost the same price.
I have high hopes that Gallus will rise from the ashes like another fowl of myth. And maybe this time, their marketing will be much better and people will flock to the empire of chicken!
I remember myself saying this several times during a conversation whilst I was making tea at work: “I wish I’d get properly sick just so that I can get over it!”
I did just that. Get properly ill. Could not get up out of bed, had no energy, had a massive headache and just felt like death. I still feel that way today but as I’ve been off work properly for a week (I went to work on Tuesday, but went home after 3 hours!) I need to go to work on Monday. Although, if I’m honest, I don’t feel like I am actually well already.
Be careful what you wish for. Because sometimes when you get what you want, it doesn’t turn out the way you want it to. That being said, I’d love the win the lottery. Properly.
Sometimes you find that books are hard to read; sometimes because the pace is not quick enough or sometimes things move on too quickly for you to catch up, or sometimes because there are too many hard truths that you can relate to that reading has become uncomfortable, or sometimes it’s just not exactly the read you expected it to be. I’m at that stage in reading Us by David Nicholls. I love it, but I’ve hit a reading wall with it, so I’m putting it down for a while and coming back to it later.
I’ve started on a different book: Practical Magic by Alice Hoffman. I read it once when I was in a “witchy” phase (chalk it up to taking anthropology and world history in one semester and working on a paper on comparative witchcraft!) but I don’t think I completely appreciated the book when I read it. I loved the movie though (Sandra Bullock and Nicole Kidman in one movie with one heck of a soundtrack!). The movie screenplay is different from the book but nevertheless, I loved the movie and the book. I’ve started the book again and I am reading it with different (probably more jaded) eyes and a fresh perspective. I knew why loved it then and I am enjoying it now.
There’s a twist to this as well: I’m reading an actual book! The action of actually turning a page is priceless. Don’t get me wrong, I love my Kindle (being able to carry a veritable library in one’s handbag is amazing!) but there is something beautifully interactive with reading an actual book!