A crunchy Japanese twist on a classic dish, chicken fingers. Photo credit: Kelley Tsumura Luk.
Kelly and I have been talking about putting our favourite recipes in the newspaper. We were talking about a dinner she attended at the Consul General of Japan residence in Toronto last year. Both of us enjoying food, talked about the fancy menu. A dish that caught my attention was lobster tempura made with senbei, or Japanese rice crackers, instead of panko bread crumbs.
I thought the senbei breading would be great for making chicken fingers. When my kids were little, I would make breaded chicken fingers over using frozen ones, due to their sensitivities to soy and milk. Well, thank goodness they have outgrown them. I, however, have developed an intolerance to gluten and dairy. Fortunately, I can tolerate shoyu, which has gluten, in small quantities. So I am always looking for foods low in gluten to make for dinner, which is why the lobster tempura caught my attention. I tried it changing up the bread crumbs for the delicious sakura-shaped rice crackers and used potato starch in replacement for the flour.
Since my first experiment, I have tried regular rice crackers and later added furikake to the potato starch for more flavour. Both were delicious changes, and my family loved it. The rice crackers stay crunchy longer than bread crumbs when fried. This dish is one of my responsibilities, along with umani for New Year’s dinner this year. Since this was an experiment, there are no quantities. I have a family of five, so the amounts I am giving you are an estimate.
4 chicken breasts (flattened to a schnitzel thickness or left as is)
¼ cup potato starch
1 egg (beaten, you can season the egg if you like)
1 package of rice crackers (I crushed them with a rolling pin, a food processor should also work.)
1. Set up a breading station with a plate of potato starch (flavoured with furikake if you’d like), a bowl with the beaten egg, and a plate with the crushed rice crackers.
2. Lightly dust the raw chicken in the potato starch.
3. Dip chicken into the scrambled egg.
4. Roll chicken in the crushed rice crackers.
5. Fry in vegetable oil. If the chicken is flat like a schnitzel, 1 inch of oil in a frying pan. If it is thick pieces, use enough oil to cover the pieces. The time depends on the thickness of the meat. When the crust turns a golden colour, it should be done. The internal temperature of the chicken should be 165°F/75°C.
6. Let drain on a plate lined with paper towels.
7. Slice into smaller pieces and enjoy. Itadakimasu!