Although I use chicken quite a lot in my bentos, I realized that I have very few bento-appropriate chicken recipes up here on Just Bento, or even over on Just Hungry . I am going to rectify this situation over the next few days, so if you are a chicken fan, stay tuned!
The first chicken recipe is one I have made for years and years - tender, lemony white meat nuggets that are infused with lemon. They very quick to make, good hot or cold, and versatile. They are pan fried, not deep-fried, so they are not crispy on the outside, but are delicious nevertheless. You can use them in a rice based bento, with noodles, or as a sandwich filling. They can be eaten as-is with a cocktail stick or the fingers too.
This makes about 15-16 nuggets, enough for 2 large bentos or 3-4 smaller ones. Cooking time: about 10 minutes.
Blot the moisture off the chicken breast meat with paper towels and cut into bite sized pieces. Put into a bowl and season with salt (go light on the salt, especially if you plan to drizzle on some soy sauce later), pepper, and the juice of half a lemon and toss well. Leave to marinate for a couple of minutes, then drain off the excess moisture.
In the meantime, heat up a large frying pan with the olive oil.
Coat the chicken pieces well with cornstarch. Lay each piece flat in the pan, taking care they don’t overlap. Let cook over high heat until crispy and golden brown (about 3-4 minutes), then turn over and cook for an additional 2-3 minutes until browned on the other side. Optionally drizzle a tiny amount of soy sauce over the chicken to give them a caramelized color. Finish off by squeezing the juice from the other half of the lemon over it all.
Take off the heat, and let cool before packing into your bento box. If you want it even more lemony, pack a lemon wedge alongside the nuggets.
Try using white wine, sake, mirin or Masala wine instead of the lemon juice, or in addition to it.