Thursday, March 18, 2010

Cornflake Chicken: Mommy & Me Series

Growing up as a Japanese American in a large Japanese community, there were a lot of opportunities for various potlucks - church, community centers, sport teams, Japanese school, dance group, and on and on. The unspoken rule was that each family should bring enough food to feed their own family.  Each potluck brought a vast array of home made foods causing the tables to groan with the weight.  Imagine plate after plate of sushi, teriyaki, beef/asparagus rolls, salads, somen salad, and desserts galore and there you have the quintessential Japanese Potluck.  My mom used to complain that my eyes were bigger than my stomach - I wanted to try everything.  I used to embarrass her with my 6" high plates that I couldn't possibly finish [and it was SO un-Japanese to indulge in such gluttony]. 

My mom had several dishes she used to rotate to these various events.  One of my favorite things that she used to make was something she called "cornflake chicken".  Crispy on the outside, juicy on the inside.  She was a full time working mom with 3 kids, so she had to make what was quick and easy.

This is a 2 part dish: the sauce and the chicken.  The sauce is really easy to make and it's the basic recipe for teriyaki - shoyu, mirin, sake, and sugar. Bring this to a boil until the sauce is reduced and thickened.  I try not to drink this up because that's kinda gross - even if it does taste really, really good. Make this first so that you're ready to dip the chicken after it is deep fried!  

Cut the the wings into 3 sections using kitchen shears [throwing away the tip of the wing - my mom actually yelled at me when I told her this because she said I should have made chicken stock with it.  Oops]. The chicken wings/drummettes are coated in flour,  shaking off any excess; then dipped in the beaten eggs; and finally, coated with the crushed up cornflakes.  The easiest thing to do is the put the cornflakes in a ziplock bag and crush the heck out of it so it's in smaller pieces.  Once you coat the wings/drummettes in flour and dunk it into the eggs throw 3 or 4 wings/drummettes into the ziploc bag and shake it around [you guys remember "shake & bake"??? exactly like that!!]

Your wings should look like this above. I used my wok to deep fry the chicken until cooked through.  Drain on a paper towel, then dip into the sauce.   

1/2 cup soy sauce
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup sake
1/4 cup mirin

Bring all ingredients to a boil until thickened and reduced.

Chicken wings, cut up into 3 pieces, do not use wing tips
Eggs, beaten
Cornflakes, crushed in a ziploc bag
Oil for deep frying

Coat chicken pieces in flour. Shake off excess.
Dip into beaten eggs.
Toss pieces in the cornflake bag and shake, shake, shake!!
Deep fry in oil until chicken is cooked through.  
Drain on paper towel.
Dip into sauce.

Place on a bed of lettuce for decorative effect.  Use remaining sauce to cover the chicken.


  1. this sounds way yummier than Methodist potlucks, although deviled eggs and green bean casserole are tough to beat. ;-)

  2. oooh, i like me the deviled eggs!! that is tough to beat! :)

  3. OMG Jenny, thanks for putting my childhood into words. Potluck! We're just getting back into it with Heather in basketball. I remember wanting to try EVERYTHING at all my brother's boy scout events. The thing is, my Mom and I actually would eat it all! Having grown up in this rich potluck environment, you wouldn't believe my utter shock when I first started experiencing potluck with other cultures. For instance, I don't quite get bringing a too small container of potato salad or such thing. Don't get me wrong, of course I'm grateful for anything that someone contributes, but I just don't get it coming from such a rich potlucky childhood.

  4. And thank you for sharing this recipe. I'm definitely going to try it!

  5. Emiko: Yeah, JA potlucks were definitely about volume, wasn't it?? The first time I saw someone bring "take out" to a potluck was one of the the oddest experiences - definitely not something I was used to! [or the bag of chips ahoy!]


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