Last week I made Max, the King of all Wild Things, and I thought that I would use the same idea to make kids with bear costumes for a Halloween themed bento. The bear costume is made from an egg sheet and the faces are cut from bologna. I also made a small pumpkin patch below the trick-or-treaters with carrots and thyme (for the vine). I also cut out a few pumpkin shaped carrots. Paige requested the same lunch of chicken katsu and homemade bacon, which was great because the katsu was already prepped. I just had to pull a few pieces from the freezer last night to thaw, so that I could cook it this morning.
Here is the recipe for the Chicken Katsu Bites:
8 boneless skinless chicken thighs cut into 2 inch chunks
Garlic salt and pepper to taste
1 cup flour
1 tablespoon water
1 teaspoon sugar
3 cups panko + more for packing
Oil for frying
Pat chicken dry with a paper towel, then season with garlic salt and pepper. Dredge the chicken in the flour and shake off the excess. Beat the egg with the water and sugar to make an egg wash. Then dredge the floured chicken in the egg wash and then liberally coat with panko. Deep fry until golden and cooked through.
To freeze, line a container with a thin layer of panko. Place uncooked breaded chicken in the container in a single layer. Sprinkle with another thin layer of panko and place another layer of chicken on top. Repeat process, cover, then freeze until needed.
Paige likes a ketchup sauce with it and the recipe is as follows:
1 cup ketchup
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1/8 teaspoon pepper
For those interested in the homemade bacon recipe, Dan said that he got it from the L.A. Times letter, The recipe for maple-cured smoked bacon. Dan uses Grade B maple syrup for the recipe and during the smoking process, he uses a kamado oven and wood chips which adds to the flavor of the bacon. I am definitely going to try out the recipe using Dan’s tips. I have an ancient kamado oven, which looks nothing like the picture on the kamado link, but it still works great! The recipe also gives instruction on making it in an oven if you don’t have a smoker. Thanks Dan for the link and your tips.
Whenever I make chicken katsu, I always make a lot and freeze most of it (breaded and uncooked). That way when I want to make chicken katsu, all I have to do is pull it from the freezer the night before and it will be ready to go the next day. Just remember that if you freeze the chicken katsu, pack extra panko in between each layer and it will absorb all of the moisture ensuring that when you do cook the katsu, the breading will be crispy. With this batch, I cut the chicken into small chunks (the size of chicken nuggets) and and then breaded it so that it would be easier for me to pack it into Paige’s bento.
Our good friend Dan, gave us some delicious bacon that he made himself. Our family absolutely loves it and I have to be the “bacon keeper” so that they won’t eat it all in one sitting. Paige got a bonus in her bento today, a couple of slices of Uncle Dan’s homemade bacon and she was thrilled. I also have to add that Paige is not a bacon eater, but she absolutely loves Uncle Dan’s one. However, I am sad to say that our homemade bacon supply is running low (hint, hint).