Broccoli is polarizing. I know fully-fledged adults who will only touch it if it’s buried under a blanket of melted cheese, or raw and dunked in a vat of ranch dressing. And I get it. Broccoli is often overcooked, mushy, and bland. And a lot read more
Why are stir-fries one of the most popular Asian dishes made at home? Because they are versatile, economical, and fast. No matter what you have (or don’t have) in the fridge, a stir-fry can generally be had. So today, we’re going to introduce one that is less familiar. Chanpuru hails from Okinawa, and like many stir fries, it’s made with commonly found veggies, a small amount of protein, and some seasoning. Intriguingly, Chanpuru highlights the contact Okinawa has made with foreigners who’ve influenced the cuisine. A mashup of Japanese, Chinese, American, and Southeast Asian cuisine, Chanpuru often features bitter melon (called Goya in Okinawa) and luncheon meat or Spam. Yes that Spam, the canned pork product that enjoys an enormous popularity throughout much of Asia: a holdover from the war and the rations eaten by American soldiers. If you look at where there have been American bases or heavy US military presence, you will see Spam featured on the menu in fascinating ways.
I like bitter melon fine, but it can be hard to find in Miami. And I love a good mystery meat or even challenge meat, but the weird spongy texture of spam and the absurd shelf life are not my thing. So today, I’m taking influence from the spirit of Chanpun, which is to make it with what you have readily on hand. I’m making my Chanpuru with chicken, tofu, and easily found veggies, but feel free to sub in your own favorite proteins. Cabbage, carrots, onion, and beansprouts are very common both in Okinawa and in America. Cheap, abundant, and filling… But by all means, if you can get your hands on some bitter melon or you love Spam, go for it!
There are a few stir-fry basics to keep in mind, and these make the difference between a perfect stir-fry or one with things over/undercooked:
- Prep all your ingredients and have them within reach.
- Preheat your pan first. (FOR SEVERAL MINUTES SO IT’S HOT)
- Then add the oil.
- Keep it moving! (In other words, emphasis on the STIR part of stir-fry)
So I begin making the Chanpuru by prepping the proteins and veggies, and making sure I have the sauce ingredients close at hand.
Now that the proteins are ready, I begin prepping the vegetables.
Stir Fry Time!
Now that everything is prepped and ready to go, it’s time to heat your pan. I used a large 12″ skillet and it was barely enough room. You can split the amount in half and make it in batches if your pan is smaller. The first step is to fry the tofu so it’s browned and crisp. I like the crunchy chewy texture that it gives to the Chanpun. If you’re short on time or don’t want to bother with this step, you can add the tofu in cold. In that case, I would add it towards the end, after most of the stir frying is done, to keep it from breaking apart.
It’s important to let the egg cook halfway before gently scrambling. If you scramble immediately, your eggs will breakdown into tiny bits that will disappear into the dish.
Once you’ve mixed the beansprouts in, taste the dish before plating. Watery vegetables give off a lot of moisture, so it’s important to adjust seasonings before serving to avoid a bland dish. The last touch, which I think makes this dish special, is adding a hefty dose of katsuobushi flakes on top. Their smoky goodness really makes this simple stir-fry shine.
Love how quick and easy stir-fries come together? Then you’ll love my Chicken and Asparagus Stir Fry, Yakisoba, and this simple pork one! I hope you give Chanpuru a try and let me know what you think. Comment here or tag us @funkyasiankitchen, we love hearing from you!
- 4 Tablespoons neutral oil
- ¼ head green cabbage (I used Taiwan cabbage which is more tender)
- 1 medium carrot
- ½ large onion
- 2 large eggs
- 2 boneless skinless chicken thighs (about 8 ounces)
- ½ block firm tofu (about 8 ounces)
- 1 large handful bean sprouts (about 6 ounces)
- 2 scallions
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 2 large pinches katsuo bushi
- 1 Tablespoon soy sauce
- 1 Tablespoon oyster sauce
- 1 Tablespoon mirin
- ½ teaspoon dashi powder
- 1 Tablespoon sesame oil
Prep the proteins:
- Drain and cut the tofu into small ½ inch slices. Set aside on a couple pieces of paper towels to drain.
- Cut the chicken in half lengthwise and then into thin slices and set aside.
Prep the veggies:
- Core the green cabbage and cut into 1 inch pieces. Set aside.
- Peel and trim the carrot and then slice thin. Cut across the slices to create matchsticks. Set aside.
- Trim the onion and then slice thin.
- Trim the scallions and cut into 1 ½ inch pieces. Set aside.
For the Stir Fry:
- Crack the eggs into a bowl and then whisk briefly.
- Heat a large pan over medium high heat for a couple of minutes. Add 2 Tablespoons of oil and then the tofu.
- Let the tofu crisp up untouched for a couple minutes and then flip the tofu over and continue to brown the tofu for a couple more minutes. Set aside.
- Raise the heat to high and add the remaining 2 Tablespoons oil, chicken, and onions to the pan.
- Stir fry for a couple minutes and then add the cabbage and carrots. Continue to stir fry for several minutes, moving the ingredients around constantly.
- Add the sauce ingredients to the pan and stir.
- Lower the heat to medium and move the ingredients to the edge of the pan.
- Add the egg to the middle of the pan and let it cook undisturbed for a couple minutes until half set and then gently stir, breaking up the egg.
- add the beansprouts, scallions, and tofu and stir fry for another minute. Taste and adjust seasoning with salt and pepper as needed.
- Transfer the stir fry to a plate and top with katsuo bushi. Serve immediately.
Keywords: stir fry, okinawan food, japan, chicken, tofu, eggs, quick, dinner ideas
You have to love a recipe that’s good either hot or at room temperature, that makes a perfect appetizer but is equally happy to play a more starring role, and makes for an effortlessly beautiful presentation. These Shiso Chicken Patties check all those boxes. This Japanese take on chicken burgers will make you forget those dry, bland burgers forever!
Shiso is a Japanese herb known for its large jagged leaves and bright, refreshing flavor. Sometimes called Shiso mint, it is related to the mint family, but has a more complex flavor, with hints of cinnamon and anise. They are frequently used as garnishes, you’ve probably seen them underneath pieces of sashimi at sushi restaurants. But they can do so much more! The herb is used twice in these Shiso Chicken Patties-both to flavor the meat mixture, and also to wrap around the patties, making a striking presentation.
Shiso is called perilla in American markets. Perilla is an umbrella term for many species in the family of mint. Japanese Shiso and Korean Perilla look alike and are related, but they are not interchangeable. You can use Korean perilla if you like, but know that it will have a different flavor.
Shiso Chicken Patties Seasoning
Move over dry, boring, flavorless, chicken burgers. We have a few tricks that turn these into absolute flavor bombs. First I add some umami superstars: oyster sauce, miso, soy sauce, and mirin. These will flavor the patties as well as help to keep them moist. Shiso leaves and minced scallions provide freshness and a little bite. Another ingredient that may surprise you-tofu! The tofu adds a bouncy, springy texture to these, and also helps to keep them from drying out.
Then add the cornstarch, sprinkling it over the bowl, and mix again:
Shape the Shiso Chicken Patties
Oil your hands and shape the balls into smooth ovals:
Cook the Shiso Chicken Patties
The goal of pan frying these is to try and preserve the green color of the Shiso leaves. So we cook them low and slow, using the lid to help cook the patties through. Once you cover the patties, turn down the heat, and cook for another 2-3 minutes.
You could make a meal out of these for just a couple people, but I usually serve them as an appetizer. They have a lot of seasoning already, so it’s really not necessary to serve them with any sauce. If you must, a little chili sauce, is a nice option for those who want a kick.
I love a meal of lots of little different bites. To make fun dinner out of small plates, try serving these with:
Leftovers are just as good heated for a minute or two in the microwave or even cold. They’re also great additions for an Asian type lunchbox!
I can’t wait for you to try these Sushi Chicken Patties! When you do please take a moment to rate the recipe and comment on it below. And you can show off your creations by tagging us @funkyasiankitchen.
- 2 Tablespoon miso
- 2 teaspoon light soy sauce
- 2 Tablespoon oyster sauce
- 2 Tablespoon mirin
- 7 oz soft or medium firm tofu (about ½ block)
- 16 oz ground chicken (use dark meat)
- 10 shiso leaves, finely chopped
- 2 scallion, minced
- 1 tbsp corn starch
- 16 shiso leaves
- 2 tbsp vegetable oil plus extra for shaping meatballs
- Combine the miso, light soy sauce, oyster sauce, and mirin in a bowl and whisk until smooth.
- Wrap tofu in a clean kitchen towel or 2-3 layers of paper towel and squeeze to remove most of the water.
- Add the squeezed tofu, ground chicken, chopped shiso leaves, and scallion to the seasoning bowl.
- Mix well, breaking up the tofu with your hands until the mixture is sticky and all of the liquid has been absorbed into the meat. Sprinkle the mixture with cornstarch and mix again.
- Divide the mixture into 16 equal portions.
- Oil your hands and then roll the portions of meat into a ball and then a small oval about ½ inch thick. Set aside on a plate.
- Wrap the patties with a shiso leaf around the middle of each patty.
- Heat a large skillet over medium low heat for several minutes. Add the oil and swirl the pan to coat the pan.
- Place the patties in the pan and cook for about 2-3 minutes until light golden brown. Then turn over the patties.
- Turn down the heat to low, cover with a lid and cook for 2-3 minutes until the bottom of the patties is golden brown.
- Transfer the shiso chicken patties to a plate and serve immediately.
*These patties are great hot or at room temperature.
Keywords: shiso, japanese, chicken, appetizers, tofu,