Japanese-inspired Chicken Paillard

I had a fun contest with my friend this weekend when he made an Indian-inspired Fish and I created this Japanese-inspired Chicken. Well, he is as Indian as I am Japanese. A tough contest since Indian recipes have a riot of spices seducing your palate; but the gentle Washoku flavors  produced a winner! It was so good, that I dare to post it.

If you were wondering about paillard:  it is an eponymous term for a quick saute of pounded meat.  A very easy process, and, a simple combination with common Japanese pantry ingredients gives stunning results.  Do give it a try!

[Postscript: This met with approval from a foodie and a tough-critic, Takahiko, who even likened this to mizoreni. I immediately put it on my to-try list.]

Chicken Paillard
Special tools:



  • 1.5  lb chicken breasts; butterflied and pounded lightly
  • Sauce:  100 ml mirin + 90 ml soy sauce + 60 ml sake
  • 2 tbsp (neutral) cooking oil
  • 1 leek, sliced and thoroughly washed, in plenty of cold water, to remove any grit


In a ziplock place the sauce ingredients and the chicken. Marinade for 15 minutes. In a large flat-bottomed saute pan, heat oil on medium heat. [Optionally, coat the chicken lightly with oatmeal.] Loosely arrange the chicken pieces on the oil. When the chicken is lightly browned on one side (about 2 mins); flip the chicken pieces. Let brown for two minutes on the other side. Then pour the left-over marinading liquid.  Bring to a light simmer.  Arrange the leek on top. Cover with lid and simmer for 5 minutes.

Serve with hot rice topped with furikake seasonings.

Notes, hints, tips:
  1. For measuring out the different liquids of small quantities, as in this recipe, I find that a bartender’s measure (or a jigger) is quite convenient to use.
  2. To pound the chicken:  I placed one piece at a time in a ziplock bag and lightly rolled a  Rosé bottle (to the horror of the guests; but rest assured no wine was harmed in the process). This is adequate; you don’t need a fancy pounder.
  3. When you coat the chicken in some flour, before sauteing, it is technically a scaloppini.  But why would you care what is is called.
  4. You can use scallions instead of leek.
  5. Alternative toppings: sesame seeds, nori, wasabi, sansyo pepper.
  6. Western wisdom is to discard the marinading chicken liquid (out of abundance of caution). But since you are simmering the sauce for 5 minutes, it is quite safe. But if you have concerns, then discard the marinading liquid and make another fresh batch for the sauce.

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