Miso Grilled Baby Chicken
I use poussin for this because not only does the skin caramelise very quickly, but the flesh cooks through before the skin starts to burn – perfect for the barbecue. By Scott Hallsworth, Junk Food Japan
- Preparation Time40 mins
- Additional Time20 mins to make den miso and 6 hours marinating
- Cooking Time20 mins
- 2 baby chickens, aka poussins
For the Den Miso (makes 160ml)
- 90g brown miso paste
- 50g caster sugar
- 40ml mirin
- 40ml sake
For the marinade
- 100ml den miso
- 1–2 green chillies, chopped (quantity depends on how much you can handle)
For the lemon-garlic-chilli dipper
- 100ml sake
- generous 2 tablespoons Kikkoman soy sauce
- 1 scorcher of a red chilli, finely chopped
- 2 teaspoons green Tabasco sauce
- 2 teaspoons fresh garlic purée
- 2 teaspoons yuzu juice
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
For the daikon salad
- 100g daikon
- 50g carrot
- 50g cucumber
- 5 or 6 mint leaves
- 10 coriander leaves, with a bit of stem left on
- 10ml yuzu juice
- a few drops of Kikkoman soy sauce
- a few drops of extra virgin olive oil
To make the den miso: Whisk all the ingredients together to make a smooth sauce. If you’re making a larger batch, use a blender to do this. Create a water bath by filling a pan with water and sitting a heatproof bowl snugly over the top (making sure the bottom of the bowl doesn’t touch the water). Pour the sauce into the bowl and cook over a high heat for about 20 minutes, stirring continuously. Remove, cool down, chill and use for marinades and sauces as necessary.
First, make the marinade by mixing the den miso and the chillies together. Use a sharp knife to cut each poussin clean in half and make a couple of score marks, one into the fat part of the drumstick and the other into the thigh. Marinate in the miso-chilli marinade for at least 6 hours and up to 12 hours.
To make the dipper, whisk all the ingredients, except the oil. Slowly whisk in the oil until emulsified. This will keep in the fridge until the end of time, maybe.
To make the salad, thinly slice the daikon on a Japanese mandoline and layer the slices in piles of 5 or 6 and, using a knife, shred very thinly. Do the same with the carrot and cucumber and mix together. Add the mint and coriander leaves and drizzle with the yuzu, soy sauce and extra virgin olive oil.
Set up your barbecue and get the charcoal super-hot – the flames start to die down a little, and the embers will be glowing – then put your poussins on the grill. If you’re concerned about the poussins not being cooked through enough and burning, take off the barbecue and finish cooking in a hot oven, about 180°C/160°C fan/Gas Mark 4 for 8–10 minutes. To test the chicken to see if it’s fully cooked, insert a thin metal skewer or the sharp end of small knife into the thickest part of the thigh, pause for a couple of seconds, pull it and hold the skewer to your lip. Feel burning? It’s cooked through. Didn’t burn much? You’ve either lost all feeling to your lips (dial for help!) or it’s not done yet – keep on cooking. Once cooked, serve it up as it is, or, if you want to get a little bit fancier, chop it up into smaller pieces.
We serve this in the restaurant with the shredded daikon salad on the side, which is a nice and refreshing contrast to the miso and chilli.