Torihamu or Homemade Chicken "ham"

Total Time
Prep 48 hrs
Cook 1 hr

An interesting recipe from Japan, this is nice for sandwiches. It's fun to vary the seasoning. You may like Caribbean Jerk, for instance, or Chinese Five-Spice Powder. A bit of liquid smoke? You can also vary the sweetener used. Be creative! (Note: I found it necessary to cook the chicken longer than the recipe states. It should reach 165 degrees F. in the middle.


  1. Trim off any fat or sinews on the chicken breasts. You may want to cut them in half if they are much bigger than half a pound each.
  2. In a sturdy ziplock bag or vacuum sealing bag, combine honey and salt.
  3. Put the chicken breasts in, one by one, and squish them around in the bag to completely coat them completely with the honey-salt mixture.
  4. At this point you can add the black pepper and/or any herbs or spices that you like to the bag with the chicken.
  5. Squeeze out as much air as you can, or suck the air out with your vacuum packing appliance. Seal the bags, and leave the chicken to marinate in the refrigerator for 48 hours or 2 full days.
  6. Once they are done marinating, soak in plenty of cold water for 1 hour. This soaking process gets rid of excess salt, or de-salinates them, while still leaving enough salt in them so that they are nicely flavored.
  7. After washing and soaking the chicken breasts, wipe off any excess moisture with paper towels. You can roll up the chicken breasts and tie them up with kitchen twine to get a nice round shape, or just leave the breasts as-is.
  8. Poach or bake the chicken.
  9. Poaching method: Put the chicken into the hot and barely simmering water. Cook for 5 minutes, then put a tight fitting lid on the pot and turn the heat off. Leave the chicken to poach for at least an hour. Some people recommend leaving the chicken in until the water has cooled down.
  10. Oven method: Preheat the oven to 120 °C / 250 °F. Yes, it’s quite a low temperature - you’ll be cooking the chicken slowly, so that it doesn’t get dried out. Line a baking sheet with kitchen cooking parchment or a non-stick baking liner, or lightly oil the sheet. Put the breasts on the lined baking sheet. Bake the chicken breasts for 35 to 40 minutes, until the surface is a very light brown.Take the chicken out and leave to cool on a plate.
Most Helpful

This was an interesting dish to make. We used a mesquite BBQ seasoning and the poaching method. It sliced up nicely, reminded us of the way chicken comes when you get it in the deli.

Slatts July 01, 2010

I guess I soaked mine longer as mine wasn't very salty, I used five spice on one, and tarragon on the other, keeping them apart I went for the poaching method. I could taste the honey on the tarrogon, but not on the five spice. I preferred the tarragon, the flavour was very strong. Before I poached them the texture was very strange, kind of stiff and hard, and I didn't think they were going to turn out to good, but I was wrong they turned out fine, the texture after poaching was very firm and easy to slice (like ham) I think this would be nice in a salad but probably beast on a sandwich. Liquid smoke could be very interesting, maybe next time. Thank you for posting a very unusual recipe, it is the most unusual recipe I have made on the tour so far and I think I would make it again your choices of flavourings are endless. Made for ZWT#6 2010.

Tea Jenny June 30, 2010

This did not taste like chicken, but not exactly like ham either. It was a little salty, but good on a sandwich. Not sure it is worth the wait considering the marinating time and then roasting it. I am thinking turkey breast may be better. I followed the basic recipe. Made for ZWT #6 - ZINGO.

threeovens June 30, 2010