Asian Chicken Salad
This recipe features grilled chicken, a flavorful dressing based on soy sauce, peanut, or sesame butter, spices and cucumber for crunch. By combining the chicken and sauce while the chicken is hot, the flavors marry perfectly, and their clarity remains even after the chicken has been chilled (of course you can serve the dish hot or warm if you prefer). If you like serve it atop a bed of salad greens with a bit of extra dressing.
1 1/2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs or breasts
3 tablespoons soy sauce
1 1/2 tablespoons peanut butter or tahini (ground sesame paste)
1 teaspoon roasted sesame oil
1 small garlic clove, peeled
A few drops of hot sauce, such as Tabasco
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon granulated sugar
1 tablespoon rice or other mild vinegar
1/2 cup minced cilantro leaves
- Start a charcoal or gas grill, or preheat the broiler. Cut the chicken meat into 1/2 to 1-inch chunks and thread it onto skewers (if you're broiling you can forget the skewers and simply use a roasting pan). Put the skewers on a plate and drizzle with 2 tablespoons of the soy sauce.
- In a blender, combine the remaining soy sauce with the peanut butter, sesame oil, garlic, hot sauce, salt and pepper to taste, sugar and vinegar. Turn the blender on and add hot water, a teaspoon at a time, until the mixture is smooth and creamy. (You will not need more than 3 teaspoons of water.)
- Grill or broil the chicken, turning once or twice. Total cooking time will be 6 to 8 minutes for breasts, 10 to 12 minutes for thighs. Meanwhile, peel the cucumber (if it is waxed), slice it in half the long way, and scoop out the seeds with a spoon. Cut it into 1/2-inch dice and combine in a bowl with the sauce. When the chicken is done, toss it with the sauce and cucumber. Taste and adjust seasoning if necessary, then serve hot or cold, garnished with cilantro.
Makes 4 servings.