One of my absolute favorite manga (Japanese comic book) series ended in July after a seven (7!) year run. Love so Life is about a teenage orphan named Shiharu Nakamura. While she is taking care of twins at her daycare job, their uncle, a television anchor named Seiji Matsunaga comes and picks them up. Astonished by the fact they actually listen to what Shiharu tells them, he asks her to become their babysitter while he’s working. She finds out that he’s taking care of the twins because his brother’s wife died in a car crash; grief-stricken his brother runs away and leaves them in the care of Seiji! Unfortunately it’s not available in the U.S. yet. I’m sad to see the series end, but am happy to have the ability to find another series to focus on for a while.
For this issue I decided to try a recipe within the recipes that are also showcased on the KnR tv show, instead of the cover feature. I felt like something really easy, which is saying something since the whole magazine focuses on beginner/easy recipes. However, I loved the main feature as they decided for some reason to include drawings of raptors.
Going back to the beginning, the main character’s name of Love So Life is Shiharu. When you spell her name in Japanese; it looks like this: 詩春 (Shiharu). The first character means means poem, while the second means spring. Coincidentally, the recipe that caught my attention in this issue is a harumaki (春巻き) recipe. Otherwise known as the spring roll. These rolls are actually flattened out, so more like the thickness of a crepe, or a quesadilla.
200 grams(slightly less than 1/2 lb) ground chicken (thigh or breast meat is ok)
3TB of finely minced green onion (white parts only)
1 tsp grated ginger
1/4 tsp salt
pinch of ground black pepper
4 harumaki wrappers
Note: What are harumaki wrappers? Harumaki wrappers are thin spring roll wrappers. They differ from egg roll wrappers in which they don’t have eggs in them. I found this Japanese brand at my local asian market. It might be hard to find a Japanese brand of harumaki, so what you can do is find spring roll wrappers. Just try to find ones as thin as possible. If you are in a pinch you can probably use egg roll wrappers, but I haven’t tried them. The ones below are square sheets.
1.) Mix together the sake, salt, and ground black pepper.
2.) In a bowl, combine the chicken, green onion, ginger, and the mixture from #1. With your hands, mix everything together until thoroughly combined. Once it’s combined, divide into fourths.
3.) On a flat surface, or a cutting board, lay out your harumaki wrapper. Using 1/4 of your meat mixture, spread evenly across the bottom third of the wrapper. Once you have spread the mixture out, then fold over the wrapper into thirds. Repeat with the other three wrappers
4.) Using a non-stick frying pan, add enough oil to coat the bottom and turn on the heat to medium. When the pan gets hot, add in a couple of your harumaki. Fry on medium heat for around three minutes on the first side, till it gets golden brown. If you feel like it’s getting brown too quickly, turn down the heat. After the first side is brown, flip to the other side and cook for another 3 minutes or so, till golden brown and the meat is done.
5.) Once the rolls are done, transfer to a cutting board and cut into pieces. Repeat with the other two rolls. Serve in a platter with lemon wedges. Or, you can also serve with a dipping sauce.
These were incredibly easy to make and are very tasty. The hardest part was separating the harumaki wrappers! I’m sure you could add whatever you want to the mixture, just keep in mind the thickness of how much you put on the wrapper. You want to really have a thin layer so that way the meat cooks through and the wrapper doesn’t burn.