Japanese Kitchen Knives by Hiromitsu Nozaki, teaches knife cutting techniques like Ken Needle Cut: Cutting Daikon Needle Strips, Chasen-giri Tea-whisk Cut (for Eggplant), and Dividing Fish Heads; and includes recipes like Needle-cut Vegetable Salad with Sesame Dressing, Simmered Eggplant and Chicken Breast, and Braised Tai Sea Bream Head with Turnips.
Cut the chicken breast into bite-size pieces. Peel the ginger and needle-cut across the grain (see p.33). Blanch the spinach in salted boiling water and shock in ice water. Lightly squeeze out the water from the spinach and set aside.
Heat the oil to 340 degrees F (170 degrees C). Deep-fry the eggplant until cooked, about 3 minutes. Shock in ice water, drain and lightly squeeze out excess water. Set aside.
Blanch the chicken pieces in boiling water for 15 seconds and shock in ice water. Drain, blot dry and set aside.
Combine the dashi stock, soy sauce, sake and sugar in a medium saucepan and bring to a simmer. Adjust the heat to medium, add the chicken pieces and cook for 5 minutes. Add the eggplant. Cook, turning the chicken and eggplant occasionally, until they absorb the dashi mixture well. Place the spinach in a bundle at the side of the pan and leave for about a minute to absorb the dashi mixture. Remove, lightly squeeze out the liquid, and cut into 1-inch (3 cm) lengths.
Place the eggplant on a serving plate, pinching the tops gently to enhance their tea-whisk shape. Arrange the chicken pieces, spinach and ginger strips, and spoon the dashi mixture over.
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