~ "By wisdom a house is built, and through understanding it is established; Through knowledge its rooms are filled with rare and beautiful treasures." ~ "Reckless words pierce like a sword, but the tongue of the wise brings healing" ~ "But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, and easy to be intreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality, and without hypocrisy." ~ "Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths."~

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Japanese Torihamu... Deli-Style Chicken "Ham" Lunch Meat.

Japanese Torihamu... Homemade Deli-Style Chicken "Ham" Lunch Meat. As much as I love deli meats, I've slowly, over the years, switched to buying deli meats that have no preservatives, or nitrites. How I miss bologna:)... But with the change, I've also noticed how expensive preservative-free and minimally processed deli meats can be... almost twice as much.  So when I came across a homemade version of chicken "ham" lunch meat, I was really excited!

The Japanese Torihamu was made quite popular in early '01, '02...  swept Japan as a favorite for bento lunch boxes. And then the recipe spread all over the internet....interestingly, I hadn't heard of it until recently. However, the idea sparked an interest in me... why not make my own version of deli lunch meat? It would be cheaper... and made by me. Didn't take me long to decide, figured it's always worth a try.

The recipe does require a bit of patience though, you'll need to keep the chicken marinating for about 2 days(48 hours). I started mine in the afternoon, and on the morning of the second day, I took it out to desalinate it. I was so curious, that I didn't wait for the 48 hour mark... more like 40 hours or so. I figured 8 hours wouldn't make such a big difference:). 

Before cooking the chicken, I tried a few variations when it came to rolling it up... I found the best method was to simply pound a chicken breast, roll it jelly-style and then tie with kitchen twine. But you can use whatever method works for you. 

I loved the torihamu result! My husband said it tasted similar to pastrami.... wondering if it was the seasoning I used? However, I noticed the flavors were even better as the days went by.... so I think it's best eaten after about 1/2 day of chilling time, maybe more?  But I'm excited with this new find... it's nice to be able to make my own chicken lunch meat. The nice part is that you can make as little or as much as you need. I'd love to try it with turkey next time. Hope you enjoy.... 

Note: There are a few recipes for marinating the chicken... some use a bit more sweetener than I have... my version has just a slight sweet taste, similar to the deli meat flavor. But if you prefer, you can add  more sweetener ... and even combining sweeteners of choice( ie, sugar, molasses, honey, maple syrup, etc) 
Also, there are 2 methods of cooking the chicken, poaching or roasting. I chose to roast mine, so flavors wouldn't leach out in the water and  at the same time have the chicken be firmer in texture. 
Tip:  After cooking the chicken, refrigerate and then slice... it will be a ton easier to slice as the meat firms up. You'll just get a cleaner cut without roughing up the meat. The first photo was cut with a very sharp knife immediately after the chicken was cooked... the second photo is one after the meat had chilled for a couple of hours. 

You will need: For every 8 oz. meat, use: 1 1/2 tsps kosher salt + 1 TBS sugar + spices to taste 

2 lbs chicken breast meat( I used free-range w/out saline solution) 
6 tsps kosher salt
4 TBS maple syrup
1 TBS spices of choice, or to taste*

*I used 21 salute seasoning by Trader's Joe I received as a gift... contains a blend of onion, pepper, celery seed, cayenne, parsley, basil, marjoram, bay leaf, oregano,thyme savory, rosemary, cumin,mustard, coriander, garlic, carrot, orange peel, tomato, lemon juice, lemon oil.

1. You will need trim off any fat or sinews from the chicken breasts. Place chicken in a large ziploc bag. Set aside.
2. In a small bowl, combine salt, maple syrup( or whatever sweetner you like), and spices. Mix.
3. Pour the salt mix over the chicken, mix the chicken around so that each chicken piece gets coated with the salt mixture. Seal bag, remove as much of the air as possible.
4. Leave the chicken to marinate in the refrigerator for 48 hours or 2 full days. I left mine for about 40 hours.
5. Remove from fridge, rinse and place in a bowl with plenty of cold water.
6. Soak  chicken for 1 hour. This soaking process will get rid of  any excess salt(desalinates the chicken), but will still leave enough salt/spices to be nicely flavored.
7. Remove from water and pat dry.
8. Pound each chicken breast lightly to get an even thickness. Roll up the chicken breasts and tie them up with kitchen twine to get a nice round shape.

Bake the chicken.

Oven Method: 
  • Preheat the oven to 250 °F.  I used my toaster oven.
  • Line a baking sheet with kitchen cooking parchment or a non-stick baking liner, or lightly oil the sheet. 
1. Put the breasts on the lined baking sheet.
2. Bake the chicken breasts for about 40-50 minutes, or until cooked through and the surface has a very light brown color. 
3. Take the chicken out, remove twine,  and allow to cool. Refrigerate, then cut in thin slices. Stores in the fridge for at least a week.


Speranta said...

Ellie ce reteta buna ,care trebuie sa o incerc ,caci imi place mult!

Cred ca este bun si pieptul de curcan?

Multumesc pentru reteta!

O zi placuta sa ai!

Anonymous said...

This looks amazing and I can't wait to try it! Love your blog. :-)

Andreea said...

Hi Ellie, long time no see.

Love this recipe. I'll give it a try and I'll let you know how it came out. Thanks for sharing.

On the same topic, homemade deli:
I've recently made a 'toba de pui' following an interesting method of cooking the meat (in bain-marie) found on lalena.ro The taste of the meat was really good.

Have a great day. Happy Easter if you are celebrating it this weekend!

Ellie said...

Speranta, Imi pare bine ca iti place, si eu mam gandit sa folosesc curcan data viitoare. Cred ca ari merge... Totusi merita incercata:).

Un weekend placut!...

Ellie said...

Anon. Aw, thanks! Glad you like the idea. The recipe is worth making, at least once:). I think it will be fun varying some of the spices...

Thanks for stopping by.

Ellie said...

Hi Andreea! So good to hear from you:)... always sweetly sharing something with me that I can learn. Boy, I just love the idea of homemade "toba de pui"!

I went on the site you mentioned and loved how the toba looked... am already planning on making it:).

SO thank you so much for the link, You are always so kind in sharing what you know:). Miss your blogging. Truly.

As for this chicken "ham" I sure hope you like it as much as I did. The spices do count, otherwise, the chicken can be quite similar to any other chicken that's baked. But I hope you enjoy it.

And have a wonderful Easter with your family!... again, thanks for taking the time to stop by.

By the way, As I was looking on the link you sent me I noticed a recipe for pastrami chicken, similar to this Japanese version... yet different.


It, too, looks worth trying out....

Edwin Liem said...

Hi Ellie,

I recently discovered your blog and really like it. You explain the recipes very well. Just wanted to verify the temperature for baking the chicken is 250 F because it seems lower than usual. Is that the correct temperature?

Ellie said...

Thank you Edwin, So glad you stopped by. Yes, the temperature of 250F is correct. You want the chicken to cook slowly and not dry out. It should cook completely in the allotted time... If not 40 minutes, then a little bit after.

Thanks for checking though, because you never know , there could be potential for mistakes:).

Rubianne said...

Hi Ellie, I just put two batches of chicken in the fridge to marinate, one with poultry seasoning + garlic & onion powders; the other with Siracha sauce. I'll let you know in a few days how they turn out! Can't wait!

I just happened upon your website a few days ago while investigating DIY deli. I must say, there is so much here I would like to try. Thank you for sharing your cooking and baking!

Happy new year to you and your family.

Ellie said...

Rubianne, Oh, I am so happy you stop by... feel free to browse through the many recipes I've posted throughout the years. Hopefully one or two will become a favorite:)

Your 2 batches of deli chicken sound delicious! Never thought of the sriracha option, though a chipotle one has been on my mind:). Love your ideas! I sure hope you enjoy the results...

Rubianne said...

The Siracha came out a little too salty, but the poultry seasoned ones are nicely savory. I just ordered a temperature controller for my crock pot, and will make the next batch poached within a vacuum sealed bag (sous-vide).

Ellie said...

Rubianne, Thank you so much for your feedback... glad the poultry seasoning came out well.

But I'm glad you tried the sriracha variation, because it's good to know in the future to reduce the salt amount in the original recipe... especially if one wants to add another sauce that contains salt in it. It's fun to experiment with other flavors.

The sous-vide sounds like a brilliant idea... the meat will probably come out nice and moist:)!

Thanks a bunch for stopping by...I'm always thrilled to hear results of recipes I post:)