This is another favorite bento combination in Japan. The chicken is accompanied by sweet potato slices that are pan-steamed very simply, and a crunchy, fresh salad of pickled vegetables.
- Yield: 1 Serving
- 4 oz (120 g) boneless chicken thigh with skin
- 1 Tbsp mirin
- 1 Tbsp soy sauce
- 1 tsp sugar
- shichimi pepper, to taste
Pan-steamed Sweet Potato
- ½ small sweet potato, sliced into rounds ½ inch (1 cm) thick
- ⅛ tsp sea salt
- 1 tsp honey, optional
Cucumber and Turnip Salad with Yuzu
- 1 medium English cucumber
- 2 small Japanese turnips, or ½ large Western turnip
- 1 tsp salt
- ½ tsp grated or dried yuzu peel, or lime peel
- ½ Tbsp fresh or bottled yuzu juice, or lime juice
How to Make It
- Pierce the chicken all over on the skin side with a fork. This helps the meat to lay flat in the pan and cook evenly.
- Place a dry nonstick frying pan over high heat and put in the chicken, skin side down. Fry until the skin is brown and crispy, pressing down on the chicken occasionally with a spatula. Turn the chicken over and cook until done it’s done when you poke the middle with a fork or knife tip and the juices run clear. Remove the chicken from the pan and wipe the pan clean with a paper towel.
- Put the mirin, soy sauce, and sugar in the pan over medium-high heat, and stir until the sugar is melted. When the sauce is bubbling, return the chicken to the pan, and coat it with the sauce on both sides. Remove from the pan to a plate and let cool. Slice and pack. Sprinkle with shichimi pepper. Pan-steamed Sweet Potato
- Put the sweet potato slices into a pan in a single layer. Add just enough water to come up to half the height of the slices. Sprinkle with the sea salt.
- Cover and cook over medium-low heat for about 8–10 minutes, turning once, until the potato slices are cooked through. Drain off any remaining water. For a sweeter flavor, drizzle the potato slices with honey while still in the pan, turning to coat. Let cool before packing. Cucumber and Turnip Salad with Yuzu
- Cut the cucumber in half lengthwise. If there are a lot of seeds inside, scoop them out with a spoon. Slice thinly, using a vegetable slicer, food processor, or mandoline.
- Slice the turnips and cut the slices into pieces about the same size as the cucumber slices.
- Massage the salt into the vegetables with your hands until the vegetables are limp. Squeeze well to expel excess moisture. Add the yuzu peel and juice and mix well. Let rest, covered, for a minimum of 20 minutes, overnight if possible. Basic White Rice
- Have hot precooked rice ready to go. Either set the timer on your rice cooker the night before so that the rice is ready in the morning or defrost some precooked frozen rice in the microwave.