Ingredients for 5 Servings
Ground chicken breast (鶏むね挽肉 / Tori mune hikiniku) 150 g
Soy sauce (醤油 / Shōyu) 1/2 tbsp
Cane sugar (きび砂糖 / Kibizatōh) 1 tbsp
Grated ginger (おろししょうが / Oroshi shōga) 1/2 tsp
Vegetable oil (植物油 / Shokubutsu-yu) 1 tsp
Egg (卵 / Tamago) 1/2 (Large)
Firm tōfu (木綿豆腐 / Momendōfu) 50 g
(Wrap in a paper towel to remove excess water.)
Soft bread crumbs (生パン粉 / Nama panko) 15 g
Saikyo miso (西京味噌 / Saikyo miso) 25 g
Poppy seeds (けしの実 / Keshi no mi) Pinch
Aonori (青のり / Aonori) Pinch
Matsubagushi (松葉ぐし / Matsubagushi) 10
How to Make
⒈ Add the ground chicken, soy sauce, sugar, and grated ginger to a mixing bowl and mix well. Add the vegetable oil to a frying pan, place the pan on medium heat, and add half of the ground chicken mixture. As the chicken cooks, break up the clumps to produce a crumbly texture in the end. Let the chicken cool.
⒉ Place the cooked chicken and the remaining half of the ground chicken mixture into a food processor, together with the egg, tōfu, bread crumbs, and miso. Mix until the contents become a paste with everything evenly distributed. If you don’t have a food processor, a mortar and pestle will work as well.
⒊ Preheat an oven to 180℃. Line a cookie sheet with baking paper. Transfer the contents of the food processor to the cookie sheet and spread it flat to a thickness of about 2 cm. Place the cookie sheet into the oven for 20-25 minutes. Remove the cookie sheet from the oven and let it cool.
⒋ Slice the cooked chicken into 10 blunt wedges (isosceles trapezoids). Sprinkle the poppy seeds and aonori evenly onto separate metal trays or something else with a flat surface. Pick up a piece of the chicken and press one side (top or bottom, but not both) into the poppy seeds and then set it aside. Do this four more times using the poppy seeds, and then use the remaining five pieces of chicken to do the same process five times using the aonori. In the end, you should have five wedges that are tan on one side and five wedges that are green on one side.
⒌ Now take a matsubagushi (split skewer), open up the split end a bit and push it into the narrow end of a chicken wedge. The object here is to make something that resembles a fan.
Significance of Matsukaze Yaki as an Osechi Dish
The word matsukaze is actually a personal name and comes from a noh play. In the story, Matsukaze, a young girl, falls in love with Yukihira at a place called Suma no Ura. One day, Yukihira leaves, never to return. Matsukaze knows that he cannot come back to her. She goes back to Suma no Ura and finds a pine tree that she tells herself is Yukihira. She begins to dance around the tree and does not stop. This scene is described with the words, “Matsukaze bakari de ura sabishii.” Without getting into too much detail, these words evoke an image of endless waiting (One meaning of matsu is “wait.”) and a lonely (sabishii) inlet (ura). So what does this have to do with matsukaze yaki? The image of Matsukaze assuaging her loneliness by dancing around the pine tree is one of flamboyance. This is on the surface, of course, and Matsukaze is hiding her loneliness as if on the backside of her heart. The meaning “backside” can be communicated with the word “ura,” so “ura” has a double meaning here. Lastly, the word sabishii, or “lonely,” can also mean “desolate” or “cheerless.” Matsukaze yaki is flamboyant on the side with the poppy seeds or matcha, while the backside has nothing on it. In Japanese, this nothingness on the back is expressed as “ura ga nai,” which more commonly means having no ulterior motive or hiding nothing unsavory about oneself. Matsukaze yaki, therefore, is a reminder to be upfront and honest. As for the shape – the isosceles trapezoid – this is called a suehirogari (末広がり) in Japanese. Sue (末) means “end” and hirogari (広) refers to a “widening.” This shape is said to evoke the image of looking out on a broadening future.