The Japanese have done it again. Just when you thought pufferfish dishes, a naked restaurant, and a superb, non-melting ice cream was all that you could take of this country’s culinary creativity, their proud tradition of eating raw chaicken comes to light.
Yes, raw chicken. You know, chicken that is pink and limp like only raw meat can be. Raw chicken that even a dedicated Indian non-vegetarian might not want to explore.
The dish is called Torisashi, and it’s a sort of sushi, or to be precise, sashimi. It’s only when the word sushi is introduced that one can understand what this dish is all about. After all, don’t the Japanese eat raw fish as well? They do, and their culinary culture comprises of a number of raw ingredients, like eggs and even beef.
Also Read: Here’s what PM Modi and Japan’s Abe will feast on tonight
Torisashi, which can be still quite unimaginable by Indian standards, is prepared by cutting thin slices of chicken breast, which are boiled or seared for 10 seconds. The slices are then served with wasabi, soy and salads. Just like with sushi, the customers are expected to dip the sashimi in the soy and then eat it whole.
Of course eating raw meat isn’t safe, even though the Japanese restaurants that serve chicken sashimi claim to use organic chickens from small, controlled farms instead of large poultry farms.
And that’s precisely why even though sushi made of fish is now served at a number of restaurants in India, chicken sashimi should never catch on, no matter how trendy it looks or sounds.
Why? A recent research has revealed that poultry farms in India inject chicken with antibiotics, which have grave medical repurcussions for chicken consumers in the country anyways. Add raw chicken to the mix, and the condition worsens.
Also Read: Japan now has an ice cream that doesn’t melt, and we’re jealous
“The way chickens are reared in India is a huge factor,” says Dr Geetanjali Bhide, a sports and fitness nutritionist based in Mumbai. “Since it’s difficult to tell whether they come from organic farms or other ones, they can have harmful bacteria, even salmonella. Eating their meat raw can lead to diarrhoea, to say the least,” she says.
Dr Bhide also points out that while we humans definitely did consume raw meat during the hunter-gatherer phase of our evolution, those times are clearly past. We discovered long back that “cooked meat is more easy to digest, and digestibility is a great factor to be considered where raw chicken is concerned,” she added.
And she is quite right, of course. While Japan has its own culinary and food culture, we Indians are more prone to enjoying well-cooked meat, poultry and fish according to our own culinary culture. So while raw chicken sashimi, or even the French tartare, looks great on a gourmet plate, they don’t really belong on a platter made for Indians.