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The Cat's Whiskers: A Chicken Dish

A dish made from one meat to emulate another. Not inspired by cats' whiskers, but certainly influenced by them. This may sound like a strange concept on which to base a meal, but bare with me. My old cat Hermit abhorred me touching his whiskers. I quickly learned that cat's whiskers are sensitive. Years later, this idea came to me when designing this meal - a japanese dish with whiskers designed to give something back - marinated in a potent mix of ginger juice, mirin and rice wine vinegar, give a sharp sweet pop to each mouthful. Here's how to do it.



Oven and 2 Oven Trays

Pot for boiling

Frying Pan

Rice cooker/Pot for cooking rice

Baking Paper

Sharp knife

Juilenne grater

Ingredients (for four)

500g Medium grain or Sushi Rice

200g panko or wholemeal breadcrumbs


6 Chicken Thigh fillets

4 Brown Onions, finely sliced.

1 Cucumber

2 Carrots

3 Orange Sweet Potatoes, peeled and cut into centimeter thick rounds.

3 Medium Potatoes, peeled and cut into centimeter thick rounds.

1 Cup of Mirin

1 Cup Rice Wine Vinegar

1 Pot of pre-minced ginger

1 Bulb of garlic, peeled and minced

1 Egg

1/4 cup milk

1/2 Cup Greek Yoghurt



Soy Sauce

Sesame Oil


Preheat oven to 200 C, boil a pot of salted water.

Butterfly the chicken thighs. To do this, take the sharp knife and cut through the thick part of the thigh, inside out. Stop before you cut all the way through, and fold it back. The thickness of the chicken should be about even.

Cook the rice in the rice cooker.

Put your brown onions in a nonstick frying pan with a tablespoon of rice wine vinegar, a tablespoon of mirin, a teaspoon of ginger and garlic, two tablespoons of soy sauce, and a splash of sesame oil. Reduce until sticky, and then re-hydrate with a half cup of water. Continue this process through the rest of the cook until you end up with a thick, onion jam.

In a bowl, mix 1/4 cup of mirin, 1/4 cup of Rice Wine Vinegar, a large tablespoon of ginger, half the garlic and two tablespoons of soy sauce. Add the chicken, mix, and let it marinate while you do the next step.

Take the cucumber and carrots. Peel the carrot, and juilenne both. In a shallow dish, mix 1/4 cup of Rice wine vinegar, 1/4 cup of mirin. From the pot of ginger, press out some of the juice, a tablespoon if you can. Mix this in. Place the juilenne vegetables in the mixture and let them sit.

Blanch the two potatoes in the boiling water for 2 minutes. Drain afterwards and put on an oven tray. Drizzle with sesame oil and toss with a teaspoon of minced garlic. Put into the oven and bake until tender.

On a sheet of baking paper, dump 1 cup of flour. On a seperate sheet, spread out a cup of breadcrumbs. In a bowl, beat one egg and a quarter cup of milk. Toss each of the chicken thigh fillets in the flour, then the egg, and then into the breadcrumbs, and onto a lightly oiled baking tray. Bang them in the oven to roast.

In a cup, mix 1/2 a cup of greek yoghurt, a teaspoon of sesame oil, a few grinds of black pepper, and a tablespoon of mirin.

Once the oven ingredients are all cooked, remove them, and arrange as above. The stack is largely unnecessary, and requires you to use specific parts of the kumara/potato. It could also just be in chunks. If in chunks, toss in the greek yoghurt dressing. If you want to do the little stack, use it as a mortar between the pieces.

Drain the julienne vegetables.

Toss the rice with some mirin and a splash of rice vinegar. Arrange and serve.


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