Topping for Bento
Panko and Fu Are Key
Fried Chicken bits are one of the popular additions to a box lunch or Bento in Japan, but again, consumers complain that by lunch time, the cold chicken is tough and tastless.
Here is a recipe for Fried Chicken that may be used in a Bento or in fact anywhere, that is tender and succulent, even after the passage of several hours.
The special breading, using Panko, Japanese breadcrumbs, or Wheat Gluten/Fu is key here, as is the brief cooking time. Use of Arrowroot Flour and Rice as one of the alternate Breading is another approach that keeps the Chicken tender even after several hours.
Tender Fried Chicken Bento Style
14 ounces Chicken thigh meat
Vegetable Oil for frying
For the Basic Seasoning:
2 tablespoons Soy Sauce
1 teaspoon Vinegar
1 teaspoons Sugar
2 tablespoons Water
For the Breading:
2 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons Arrowroot Flour (Katakuriko)
2 teaspoons Rice Flour
Cut the Chicken in convenient size pieces, about the size of a quarter. Mix the Basic Seasoning and marinate the Chicken pieces in it for at least 10 minutes, preferably a half hour, before cooking.
Lightly beat the Egg and mix together with the two Flours to make the Breading.
When ready to cook the chicken, dredge the Chicken slices in the Breading.
After marinating and breading the Chicken, heat the oil in a hot frying pan and fry the Chicken pieces until thoroughly done, then drain and use them in a Bento lunch box as desired.
Note: For Breading, you can substitute about 3 tablespoons plus 1 more teaspoons Japanese Panko bread crumbs, or the same amount of Wheat Gluten/Fu and use either for breading burgers or chicken. In the opinion of many cooks, Fu produces the juiciest burgers and fried Chicken. Fu comes in various forms. If it is too large to use directly for breading, you can run it through a food processor to produce crumb-size pieces for use in breading.