Chicken Katsu Sushi Sandwiches

time to level up your bog standard chicken salad sandwich…
Chicken Katsu Sushi Sandwiches - The Cardiff Cwtch

I’m currently writing up this post at 4am with bat hair and Bungle snoring soundly at my feet (git). Turns out that one of the many charming side effects of pregnancy is a total inability to catch some Zs at night. AND THE BABY ISN’T EVEN HERE YET. From 2am until 5am I can currently be found either wrestling with the massive doughnut pillow I bought off of Amazon (you know, the one that’s supposed to HELP me sleep), or scoffing biscuits in front of back to back episodes of Escape to the Chateau in the dark. I’m knackered. And I’d quite like to move to France – apparently derelict chateaus go for pretty cheap.

Thankfully, when it comes to a lot of the other pregnancy symptoms – I’ve got off likely so far. I haven’t had any morning sickness (other than a weird one off the other week that could just as easily be put down to polishing off a large chips from the local chippy…), and I’ve been able to carry on eating pretty much all of my favourite meals and foods bar the few that I’m not allowed – like sushi. But I’ve even got that covered now; as soon as I saw these Katsu Onigiri over on Pinterest, I knew I had to give them a go myself and come up with my own recipe, and here it is. Crunchy chicken katsu fillets, lots of fresh greens and pickles coated in sushi rice and wrapped in nori – polished off with a drizzle of sweet and smoky Tonkatsu Sauce. Yum!

Chicken Katsu Sushi Sandwiches - The Cardiff Cwtch

Chicken Katsu Sushi Sandwiches

makes 4
Ingredients
  • 4 chicken breasts
  • salt and pepper to season
  • 1 large egg, whisked
  • 50g plain flour
  • 100g panko bread crumbs
  • 150ml vegetable oil
  • 300g sushi rice
  • 1 tbsp mirin
  • 1 avocado, sliced
  • 4 spring onions, sliced
  • pickled purple cabbage
  • sesame seeds, to garnish

For the Tonkatsu Sauce:

  • 4 tbsp ketchup
  • 4 tbsp worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tsp runny honey
  • 2 tsp soy sauce
Chicken Katsu Sushi Sandwiches - The Cardiff Cwtch
Method
  1. First, cook your sushi rice according to the pack’s instructions, stir in the mirin with a wooden spoon and then set aside and leave to cool.
  2. To make the Katsu Chicken, first wrap the fillets in clingfilm and tenderise with a rolling pin until slightly flattened. Next, unwrap and season then with salt and pepper. Set up a production line of bowls, each filled separately with the flour, whisked egg and panko bread crumbs. Coat the fillets in flour first, then dunk them into the whisked egg, following up with an even coating of panko breadcrumbs.
  3. Add the vegetable oil to a shallow frying pan and cook the katsu fillets over a medium heat, ensuring they’re golden brown and fully cooked on both sides.
  4. Next, make up your Tonkatsu Sauce; add all the ingredients to a bowl and stir until completely blended.
  5. Now you can make up your sushi sandwiches! First, lay out a sheet of nori and add a thin layer of sushi rice in the middle. Next layer up with your sliced avocado, spring onions and pickled cabbage, followed by a katsu fillet. Give it a good drizzle of Tonkatsu Sauce, then mirror a layer of avocado, spring onion and pickled cabbage on top – finishing with a bit more sushi rice. Sprinkle cold water around the edges of your sheet of nori, then fold the corners inwards – parcelling up your sandwich. Slice in half and then garnish with some more Tonkatsu Sauce and a sprinkle of sesame seeds.
  6. Repeat step five with the other three fillets. ๐Ÿ™‚
Chicken Katsu Sushi Sandwiches - The Cardiff Cwtch

Have a lovely week (and pleeeeeeeeease send sleepy thoughts my way ๐Ÿ’ค )!

Sticky Miso Chicken

Easy peasy rice bowls make Miso happy…
Sticky Miso Chicken - Easy Midweek Rice Bowl - The Cardiff Cwtch

Blimey, it’s been a while! Back at the start of Lockdown (have we seriously been doing this since March???) I was buzzing with creative energy and had the full intention of knuckling under and making the most of being holed up at home for the foreseeable. I had plans, man. Big plans. I was going to finally sit down and write the book I’d been researching and planning during February, I was going to redecorate and reorganize half the house, I was going to whip up a storm in the kitchen and create lots of new and exciting recipes… and yeah that didn’t really happen, the reason being – among a couple of other things – that I thoroughly underestimated how hard being isolated from the world and “normality” (whatever that is going forward) would be. And while I’m luckier than most in that I’m not really alone – I’ve had my husband and Bungle for company – and a garden where I’ve been able to enjoy the hot weather (I honestly can’t remember the last time Wales went without rain for so long), and I’ve been able to see my Mum and Dad every week when I drop off their shopping, being stuck at home for weeks on end hit my mental health in a way I really wasn’t expecting. In between some really positive, productive days where I’ve reorganized the kitchen cupboards, mucked out in the garden, learned to cook proper chips and revamped some IKEA Billy shelves, I’ve done my fair share of moping around on the sofa and binge-watching box sets (if you’d told me at the start of Lockdown that my crowning achievement was going to be watching seven seasons of Mad Men in less than three weeks then I’d have been pretty bummed given all my grand plans). And with each week that dragged by where I felt like I’d accomplished absolutely nada, I became harder and harder on myself – and that didn’t do my mental health any favours either. In fact, it made things even worse.

Then, a couple of weeks ago I decided to give up on my grand plans and just go with the flow – to enjoy the sofa time (that I’m probably never going to get again) and the down time and to just take each day as it comes and this weird pause in “normal life” for what it is. The truth is, it doesn’t matter how you’ve spent the past few months – or what you’ve accomplished or not accomplished in that time – what does matter is that you’ve made it through this far. And if your way of making it through has involved a lot of sofa time, then that’s absolutely okay.

Anyway, now that there seems to be an end (of sorts) to Lockdown on the horizon I’m feeling a lot happier and a bit more myself, and have been back in the kitchen experimenting. ๐Ÿ™‚ If there’s one thing I’ve really enjoyed during the past few months, it’s been lunch time. Having a little bit more time in the middle of day meant that very early on Sunny and I decided to switch our main meal to lunch time. We’ve had some amazing lunches out in the garden in the sunshine, and then snacked our way through our favourite TV shows at night. A definite winner that emerged from this new and improved meal routine was definitely this very easy recipe for Sticky Miso Chicken. Sweet and salty, and perfect served up on some steaming egg fried rice – it’s one of those dishes that can be prepped ahead of time, then cooked and plated up in under 20 minutes (plus, the marinade makes for some cracking BBQ kebabs). I’ve been making up the marinade and rice after breakfast, then by the time lunchtime pounces, all I have to do is cook it all up in a hot wok. Yum!

Sticky Miso Chicken - Welsh Food Bloggers - The Cardiff Cwtch

Sticky Miso Chicken

serves 2
Ingredients
  • 2 chicken breasts, diced
  • Handful of chopped spring onions
  • 1 tbsp vegetable oil
  • Chopped parsley to garnish
  • Sesame seeds to garnish
  • Egg fried rice to serve

For the marinade:

  • 2 tbsp runny honey
  • 1 tsp ginger paste
  • 1 tbsp sesame oil
  • 2 tbsp white miso paste
  • 1/2 tsp garlic paste
  • 1 tsp soy sauce
  • 1 tsp rice wine
  • 1 tsp chilli flakes
Sticky Miso Chicken - Easy Fakeaways - The Cardiff Cwtch
Method
  1. Combine all the marinade ingredients in a bowl to make a sticky, runny paste – then stir in the uncooked chicken, coating evenly. Cover with clingfilm and leave in the fridge to marinade for a couple of hours.
  2. When you’re ready to cook, gently heat your wok with the vegetable oil then add both the chicken and the marinade. Cook the chicken on a medium heat until cooked through, then crank up the heat right up at the end for five minutes to create a caramelized, sticky finish.
  3. Take the chicken off the heat and stir though the chopped spring onions and sesame seeds. Serve up with egg fried rice and fresh parsley.

 

Have a lovely week! ๐Ÿ™‚

Vegetarian Ramen with Grilled Sweetcorn

…for all the hopeless (flu-infected) ramen-tics out there…

Tell you what, I might as well paint a massive red “X” on my front door to ward off all potential visitors, because the winter lurgy finally came a-knocking last week. Sunny became a walking fountain of mucus first, and then – even though for a while it looked like I was going to dodge it – I got that tell-tale scratching feeling at the back of my throat and knew I was doomed. I’m currently writing this bundled up in my dressing gown, ponging of Olbas Oil and chained to a box of tissues. Breathing through your nose is such an underrated luxury. I miss it.

There’s nothing quite like a massive bowl of ramen when you’re sick, is there? I mean, any and all soups are pretty good when you’re a walking plague victim, but ramen – for me anyway – is the ultimate winner, and I’ll tell you why. All soups are warm and comforting, but ramen goes one step further. It’s full of healthy fresh greens (which you can pick and choose), it’s packed full of flavour (enough to get through to those flu-muffled taste buds), the noodles are filling (so you feel like you’ve actually eaten more than just a bowl of hot water), I defy anyone not to smile at the sight of a perfectly gooey soft boiled egg floating in front of them… and the added chilli garnish will do wonders for a blocked nose.

Now, normally I’d either cart myself down to Wagamama for a bowl of their Shirodashi Ramen (YAS), or pick up a one of the Blue Dragon Ramen Kits, but last week before my cold spiralled out of control and I was still more or less functioning – I felt like making some from scratch. Anyway, I came across a picture of a ramen bowl with grilled corn in it and I was intrigued. I’d never thought of putting sweet corn in a bowl of ramen before, but tell you what – it was a game changer. The sweetness, the crunch, the buttery charred bits… oof. It was exactly what my noodle bowl had been missing all this time. Added to the mushrooms, spring onions, cabbage and obligatory soft boiled egg, it was a winner. ๐Ÿ™‚

Vegetarian Ramen with Grilled Sweetcorn

Serves 2
Ingredients
  • 2 tbsp sesame oil
  • 2 tsp garlic paste
  • 2 tsp ginger paste
  • 2 tbsp mirin
  • 1 tbsp rice wine
  • 1 tbsp soy sauce
  • 2 tbsp yellow miso paste
  • 600ml water
  • 500ml good quality vegetable stock
  • handful of spring onions, sliced
  • 1 large corn cob
  • handful of shittake mushrooms
  • handful of sliced red cabbage (throw it in as late as possible otherwise it’ll turn your broth blue!)
  • two dried noodle nests (or enough for two)
  • 2 soft boiled eggs
  • handful of Ito Togarashi or chilli flakes to serve
Method
  1. Warm up your wok or a deep pot on a medium heat, then add the sesame oil. Next create the base for your broth by throwing in and stirring together the mirin, rice wine, soy sauce and miso paste, as well as the garlic and ginger pastes.
  2. Next add the vegetable stock (the better the quality, the better the broth!) and water. Throw in your shittake mushrooms and half of your spring onions. Bring the broth up to the boil, then turn the heat down to low, cover and then leave to simmer for at least half an hour.
  3. In the meantime, slice up your garnishes (that’s the rest of the spring onions and the cabbage) and prepare your corn cob. Slather the corn cob in butter, then wrap it in foil and cook it in the oven at 200ยฐC for 20 minutes. Once cooked, slice into strips.
  4. Check the packet instructions for the noodles – usually you’ll add them to the broth about 10 minutes before you’re ready to eat.
  5. To serve up, first use some tongs to take out the noodles at pop them in the bottom of the bowl. Then ladle the broth over the top. Lastly, garnish with your fresh spring onions, cabbage, corn, soft boiled egg and chilli.
  6. Slurp away!

Have a great week! ๐Ÿœ๐Ÿœ๐Ÿœ

5 “Fakeaways” to try This Week

Did somebody say “Just… Make it Yourself”? Oooooh!
5 Easy Fakeaway Recipes - The Cardiff Cwtch

Alright, alright – I know that trudging off to the kitchen and just cooking something yourself kind of defeats the whole object of a Takeaway, but y’know what, sometimes there’s the rare evening where you really fancy takeaway food but just don’t want to fork out for delivery (…because *maybe* you forked out on a brand new silk shirt earlier in the week – naming no names, itwasme). Maybe you planned for a takeaway, but – boo – it’s that one day of the week where your local’s closed. Maybe you’re on a healthy eating kick and the thought of the obligatory oil slick at the bottom of an Indian takeaway pot puts you just a little bit on edge. Or, maybe you just fancy cooking something from scratch. Hey, it can happen!

You can’t beat a well-timed Takeaway, but then again, a quick and easy homemade dupe – a “Fakeaway” – can be just as satisfying. With that in mind, I’ve trawled the archives to find five of my favourite homemade takeaway dupes, most of which can be whipped up pronto tonto using ingredients bashing around in the back of your cupboard or the bottom of your freezer using a few nifty shortcuts. No delivery charges, no grease. Noice! ๐Ÿ™‚

Cheat’s Mango Chicken

Easy Mango Chicken Fakeaway Recipe - The Cardiff Cwtch

I think this quick and easy recipe for Mango Chicken has to be top of the pops (in my book, anyway) when it comes to a good Fakeaway. If you’ve got twenty minutes to spare, some frozen chicken nuggets and a jar of mango chutney banging around at the back of your cupboard, then you’re sorted. Sweet, sticky and oh so satisfying, give it a glow-up with some diced, fresh mango and sliced green onions – and you can even swap out the chicken nuggets for quorn or battered cod if you’re so inclined. Yum!

Easy Green Thai Noodle Soup

Green Thai Noodle Soup - Homemade Takeaway Recipes - The Cardiff Cwtch

Do you remember those cheapo packets of instant noodles from the supermarket? The basic ones that came with a little flavour sachet in either chicken, vegetable or curry flavour? I used to be absolutely obsessed with them when I was in sixth form (many, many years ago when I knew how to cook instant noodles, scrambled egg and that was about it – good times!) – they cost about 30p a pack (back then!) and made such a quick and easy lunch. Well, believe it or not, they’re the star of this show. The flavour sachet makes a cracking base stock for this Green Thai Noodle Soup, along with a can of coconut milk and Thai Green Curry Paste. Thow in some spring greens and a few sliced mushrooms, and you’re done!

Korean Chicken Dak-Galbi

Easy Homemade Korean Takeaway - Stripped Back Simple Dak Galbi - The Cardiff Cwtch

I’m still very much a beginner when it comes to Korean Food, but what I’ve tried so far I absolutely love – and if you’re a fan of chilli-based Asian food then I’m sure you will too. Dak-Galbi is basically Korean Pub Food. You’ll need to get your hands on a jar of Gochujang Chilli Paste (usually to be found on Amazon) which makes up a big part of the sweet and spicy sauce, but everything else is pretty simple and creates a cracking mid-week recipe to pull out of the bag for whenever you fancy a stir-fry that’s a little bit different.

Spicy Singapore Noodles

Takeaway at Home Recipes - Easy Singapore Noodles Recipe - The Cardiff Cwtch

I can’t order a Chinese Takeaway without a super spicy serving of Singapore Noodles making the list. For me, the bright yellow, curried vermicelli is a must-order, and even better blitzed in the microwave for lunch the following day. It’s such a favourite of mine that I had to learn how to make it myself. As long as you’ve got a pack of dried noodles (rice are obviously best, but use whatever you’ve got/fancy), some curry powder, rice wine and soy sauce then you can whip up the marinade in no time. In terms of veg and meat (or no meat), it’s entirely up to you what you throw into the wok. A great recipe for making using of what you’ve got.

Sticky Honey Chicken

Fabulous Fakeaways - Sticky Honey Chicken - The Cardiff Cwtch

Here’s a new way to scoff the classic chicken dipper (although this recipe would be just as good with quorn or, hey, even some diced halloumi would work well). The hardest part of this recipe for Sticky Honey Chicken is whipping up the sauce – but even that’s a doddle, and can be made ahead of time using a few bottled ingredients in your cupboard. Once the chicken and rice are cooked, it takes less than ten minutes to put together – the perfect Fakeaway solution to a Monday night in!

Let me know what your favourite takeaway (or Fakeaway!) meal is in the comments below – I’m always looking for new recipes to try out! Have a great week! ๐Ÿ™‚

Easy Korean Dak-galbi

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I’d never heard ofย Dak-Galbi until I stumbled across a recipe for it over on Pinterest (…honestly, where did I go to hunt down new recipes before Pinterest came along? Books?) – but as soon as I saw it I knew I wanted to add it to my takeaway dupes repertoire.ย  It’s a stir fry of spicy chicken and sweet potato and is basically Korean Pub Food; you’ll usually find it served up and sizzling withย alcohol.ย  The marinade is sweet and spicy – thanks to the Gochujang Chilli Paste and Honey – and pairs perfectly with the sweet potato chunks.

I’m pretty sure most Koreans would cry sacrilege at my take on Dak-galbi.ย  I mean, it’s pretty much just the bare bones of the real deal because you just can’t get a lot of Korean ingredients in your average British supermarket – in fact, I’d be surprised if you found any at all!ย  The one essential ingredient – and pretty much the base ingredient for any Korean cooking – I had to order off of Amazon.ย  But as for tteok and perilla leaves?ย  Forget it.ย  Still, my stripped back version makes for a tasty, spicy and colourful midweek stir fry and – aside from marinating time – goes from wok to table in under 20 minutes.ย  Noice!ย  ๐Ÿ™‚

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Easy Dak-galbi (serves 2)

Ingredients

  • 3 tsbp soy sauce
  • 3 tbsp gochujang paste (I *think* Waitrose stock it, but if not check amazon!)
  • 3 tbsp runny honey
  • 3 tbsp rice wine
  • 2 tbsp sesame oil
  • 1 tbsp curry powder
  • 1 sweet potato, diced
  • 4 spring onions, sliced
  • shredded red cabbage
  • grated carrot
  • 1 yellow bell pepper, sliced
  • 2 chicken breasts, diced
  • 1 tsp chilli flakes
  1. First things first, make the marinade.ย  In a small bowl, mix together the soy sauce, gochujang paste, honey, rice wine, curry powder and half of the sesame oil.ย  Stir until smooth.ย  Pour in the chicken and stir until it’s thoroughly coated in the marinade – then leave it to rest for at least one hour.
  2. Get your wok smoking hot and pour in the rest of the sesame oil.ย  Turn down the heat and chuck in the chicken (hold back the marinade) along with the sweet potato.ย  Cook for ten minutes until the sweet potato has softened and the chicken is mostly cooked; make sure you keep stirring otherwise the honey in the marinade might scorch.
  3. Next throw in the stir fry vegetables – the spring onions, cabbage, carrot and pepper – as well as the remaining marinade and chilli flakes.ย  Stir fry for five minutes, then serve up with some egg fried rice! ๐Ÿ™‚

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Happy four day week! ๐Ÿ˜‰ย  Oh, and hey – if there’s a takeaway favourite of yours that you’d like to see me take on and come up with an easy to follow recipe for then just let me know in the comments!