Sunday, March 21, 2010

5 Factor Chicken Yakatori

This recipe is from the 5 Factor Wold Diet cookbook. The book is actually quite interesting. Trainer to the stars, Harley Pasternak analyzes the traditional lifestyles, culinary habits and diets of ten of the healthiest countries in the world (based on life expectancy and obesity rates), then bases his recipes and meal plans around them. It should be no surprise that four of the top 10 countries are in Asian and five are around the Mediterranean (the tenth is Sweden, praised for it's "rustic and practical" diet, which includes a great deal of fish). The 5 Factor Diet itself isn't much of a diet at all. The principles making up the "5 Factors" are kind of "no-brainers" to healthy living;

1. Eat 5 small meals a day.
2. Follow 5 specific nutritional criteria for each meal (protein, complex carbs, fiber, healthy fat & a non-caloric beverage).
3. Each meal should contain no more than 5 core ingredients and take only 5 minutes to prepare (this isn't so much for health as it is for convenience).
4. Work out for a minimum of 25 minutes, 5 days a week.
5. Enjoy one "free" day a week.

I bought the book mainly for its recipes for healthy, quick and easy Asian dishes. So far I am quite pleased.

Chicken Yakatori

Serves 2

Slightly modified from the original recipe.

1/4 cup mirin
1/4 cup soy sauce
1 tbsp agave syrup
2 tbsp rice vinegar
1 tsp fresh ginger, minced
2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut vertically into 1 inch strips
8 wooden skewers, soaked in water at least 20 minutes

1. Whisk together mirin, soy sauce, agave, rice vinegar and ginger in a deep glass bowl. Reserve 1/4 cup of marinade for basting. Add the cut chicken pieces to the marinade and toss well to coat. Refrigerate for 30 minutes to a couple hours. Once marinated, thread chicken pieces onto skewers.

2. Pre-heat grill or non-stick grill pan over high heat. Place the skewers on the grill and cook for 3-5 minutes per side, or until chicken is cooked through. Brush chicken pieces with reserved marinade.

3. Serve over warm brown rice with a side of marinated cucumber salad or serve as an appetizer.

Marinated Cucumber Salad:

1/3 cup rice vinegar
1/4 cup water
1 tbsp plus 1 tsp agave syrup
1/4 tsp salt
1 English cucumber, sliced very thin
1/2 red onion, sliced very thin
1/4 Thai red chili pepper (optional)
1/2 tsp black sesame seeds

1. Combine vinegar, water, salt and agave syrup in a small saucepan over medium heat.

2. Cook until boiling then set aside to cool.

3. Place sliced cucumber, onion and chili pepper in a bowl. Pour vinegar over top of vegetables.

4. Refrigerate at least 1 hour before serving.

5. Using a slotted spoon, scoop vegetables onto plate. Top with course fresh ground pepper and black sesame seeds.

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