There are thousands of unique foods worldwide locally, often, they sound really weird and “no thank you” to us who come from different cultures.
Needless to say, my country, Japan can be found as one of the top countries that have unique food.
Sushi, sashimi, grilled eel?
Come on! They are not “delicacies” at all!
These quirky Japanese delicacies that I introduce today may sound disgusting to you, but, I hope you’ll read this post with respect. LOL.
I’m going to talk about an easy level today, chicken cartilage, that we call NANKOTSU (軟骨:なんこつ)
POPULAR CHICKEN CARTILAGE
Chicken knee cartilage can be more popular than breast cartilage which also has an addictive crunchy texture.
It’s called chicken knee or soft bones in English.
Nankotsu refers to all kinds of soft bones in Japanese, yet, it refers to the knee soft bone when we say “nankatsu”.
Especially, deep-fried Nankotsu aka Nankotsu karaage is one of the popular and healthy menus at Izakaya restaurants in Japan.
Chicken breast cartilage is especially called “YAGEN” (やげん), which is found at the tip of the bone of the breast (body) when serving a roasted chicken.
It’s also called “keel bone” in English.
YAGEN is often served as one of the menus at YAKITORI restaurants in Japan. (: grilled skewered chicken restaurant)
The nutrition of chicken cartilage is mostly proteins such as collagen.
A very few fat and low calorie.
Rich in niacin and pantothenic acid. It also contains vitamin K, folic acid, vitamin B12, and vitamin A.
In addition to protein, it is rich in vitamins such as B vitamins and minerals such as zinc and copper.
POPULAR “NANKOTSU” RECIPES FOR CHICKEN CARTILAGE
GARLIC YAGEN STIR-FRY
Simply, the Japanese prefer stir-fry dishes with garlic, salt, and pepper.
Easy, quick, healthy, and yummy.
The best match with icy-cold beer.
GARLIC&PEPPER YAGEN STIR-FRY
- 3.5 oz Chicken breast cartilage
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 1 tbsp vegetable oil
- A pinch of salt
- Black pepper to taste
- 2 tbsp Japanese sake or white wine
- 1 wedge of lemon
- Season the chicken breast cartilage with salt.
- Oil the skillet. Cook minced garlic until fragrant over medium heat.
- Add the chicken breast cartilage. Stir-fry them over medium-high heat until brown Partially.
- Add 2 tbsp of Japanese sake or white wine. Cover the skillet and cook for 2-3 minutes.
- Remove the lid, and stir the chicken cartilage until the liquid is cooked down.
- Sprinkle ground black pepper to taste.
- Serve the chicken breast cartilage with the lemon wedge.
UMESUISHO: YAGEN IN UMEBOSHI SAUCE
UMESUISHO is one of the delicacies which is made with shark cartilage and Umboshi paste.
This delicacy was created from the idea that the seafood merchandise company didn’t want any waste of sharks in Miyagi prefecture. (*KESENNUMA in Miyagi prefecture is the famous fishing.)
Since the shark cartilage and the chicken cartilage have a similar crunchy texture, the chicken cartilage is substituted for the shark cartilage.
Besides, the shark cartilage is known for the luxury food so the chicken cartilage is used for this dish easily at home.
(Well, both are still difficult to get in the US. )
Chicken gizzards are also popular and beloved food as OTSUMAMI appetizers in Japan.
Fortunately, it’s easier to get rather than chicken cartilage.
For popular Japanese chicken gizzard recipes, go to this post.
WHAT’S OTSUMAMI ?!
OTSUMAMI is described as a “finger food” “appetizer”, “nubbles” or “snack”, which is basically a side dish or snack while drinking alcoholic beverages. OTSUMAMI includes a variety of food from snacks to warm or cold dishes such as potato chips, rice crackers, dried fish, edamame, tofu, karaage, yakitori…etc.