For the seventh instalment of our Japanese Kitchen series, we take a short trip from Ishikawa Prefecture to neighbouring Gifu. This is a landlocked region in the centre of Japan's main island, Honshu. Famous for its beautiful mountain villages with their well-preserved traditional thatched-roof farmhouses, Gifu attracts many tourists seeking a more tranquil and peaceful side of Japan.

Keichan-yaki (Pan-fried chicken with vegetables)
by Hiroshi Kawamura, Consul-General and Minister of the Embassy of Japan
Now we come to Gifu Prefecture, situated next to Ishikawa, which my colleague introduced in this Embassy's Japanese Kitchen series in July. Gifu is almost in the center of Japan. It is endowed with a rich natural environment.

In northern Gifu, the mountain peaks exceed 3,000 meters above sea level. We have beautiful mountains like Mt. Ontake, Mt. Norikura and Mt. Okuhotaka. In contrast, in southern Gifu, we have three beautiful rivers, the Kiso, the Nagara and the Ibi, flowing into the Nobi Plain. The clear stream in the middle reaches the Nagara River has been selected as one of the 100 best bodies of water in Japan.

Photograph courtesy of JNTO
As for me, I was born in Takayama situated in the northern part of Gifu Prefecture. Takayama is famous for its delicious beef - Hida beef - and also for its bi-annual festival, the Takayama-matsuri, which is held in April and October every year. It is regarded as one of the three best festivals in Japan. This is because of its magnificent and beautifully decorated floats, which are its main attraction. It also features Karakuri-ningyo (mechanical dolls) as one of its highlights.
As for the cuisine, Keichan-yaki is also well-known in Takayama. In short, it consists of pan-fried chicken with vegetables. Takayama is surrounded by mountains and its male citizens have traditionally eaten Keichan-yaki to gain stamina in preparation for a hard day's work in the mountains. This year, there was a contest to decide the best local food in each prefecture of Japan, and Keichan-yaki was selected as the best cuisine in Gifu Prefecture.

I came to London last September and I noticed that the people here love chicken. For example, when ordering Katsu-curry in Japanese restaurants in London, Japanese people choose pork Katsu-curry while local customers prefer the chicken version. I believe that Keichan-yaki would suit the taste of British people. Please try to make it yourself!


300g chicken thigh or breast (cut into bite-size pieces)
300g cabbage (cut into bite-size pieces)
1 carrot (cut into bite-size pieces)
1 onion (sliced)
1 tablespoon of sesame oil (or vegetable oil)

For the marinade:
2 tablespoons of miso paste
2 tablespoons of sake (rice wine) (If you cannot find sake, you can replace it with white wine)
2 tablespoons of soy sauce
1 tablespoon of caster sugar
1 clove of garlic (finely chopped)
1 piece of ginger (finely chopped)

Doubanjiang to taste (this is a spicy Chinese garnish)

  1. Mix all the ingredients for the marinade in a bowl or freezer bag. Put the chicken into the mixture and chill it for 3 or more hours.

  2. Heat the oil in a frying pan. Put the marinated chicken into the pan and fry it for a short while. Then reduce the heat, add the vegetables and mix well.

  3. Cover the pan with a lid or foil and let the mixutre cook in its steam until the cabbage is soft.