Auspicious Chicken Loaf
The word matsukazeyaki means “pine wind grill.” There’s nothing particularly auspicious about grilling, but the Japanese view the pine tree (and its seasonal sister’s - bamboo and plum) as an auspicious symbol. Pine is known for its long life and evergreen spirit – glad tidings, indeed. This poetic association to this simple and comforting dish gives a festive flair to the menu, and a connection with traditional culture for young children to appreciate.
1 pound ground chicken
1/2 block medium to soft tofu (not firm)
2 tablespoons white miso
1 tablespoon mayonnaise
1 ½ tablespoon mirin
1 tablespoon sake
1 tablespoon soy sauce (usuguchi soy sauce, if available)
1 cup panko bread crumbs
1/2 inch grated ginger - or 1 teaspoon dried, powdered ginger
4 tablespoons roasted white and black sesame seeds
Oil to grease pan
Masher/electric mixer (optional)
8x8 inc baking dish (preferably glass)
1. Preheat the oven to 350 F.
2. Remove the tofu from the packaging, and wrap in paper towels. Place on a microwave safe plate and microwave for 2 minutes on normal power. Remove from microwave, discard the papertowels, cut into medium-size cubes and allow to cool.
3. In a large bowl, add chicken, egg, miso, mayonnaise, mirin, sake, soy sauce, bread crumbs, and ginger and using your hands mix well. Consider using a potato masher or even an electric mixer to make the mixture smooth (this is one of the features of this dish)
4. Add the tofu, breaking it up with your fingers and mix until well combined and no large chunks of tofu are obvious. Continue to mix well.
5. In a 8 x 8 inch baking dish, use a paper towel to grease the pan with a small amount of oil.
6. Add the chicken-tofu mixture and smooth until even and there are no air bubbles. Sprinkle generously with sesame seeds.
7. Bake for 30 minutes or until a knife comes out clean when poked in the middle.
8. Allow to cool and cut into squares.