Cold cucumber sesame chicken salad
As much as I love eating out while on vacation, it doesn’t take me too long before I start missing a home cooked meal. Our week in Tokyo was spent with friends and relatives eating and drinking out 100% of the time so by the time we got to my mother’s house in Fukuoka, I was craving a big bowl of homemade chunky vegetable soup.
Thankfully, my mother knows me well and had a big pot of it simmering on the stove. We sat on the couch and competed against each other to Japanese TV quiz shows. She obviously won as I can only read a handful of kanji characters… Anyway, that’s my excuse for losing and I’m sticking to it!
She had also made a cold cucumber sesame chicken salad drizzled with soy sauce and freshly squeezed lemon juice that was refreshing and absolutely delicious. I must be lucky in Japan since this recipe is as easy, if not easier than the crab and zucchini omelette recipe I snatched from Reposado in Tokyo and is also made with ingredients available in the States.
The cucumber is sliced into bite size pieces while the chicken breast is left to boil in sake and water for about 10 minutes. The chicken is then placed on a plate and left to cool in the fridge until it is cool enough to handle by hand. Meanwhile the dressing is quickly made and set aside. This gives my mother time to brew a hot pot of green tea and tell me about what friends and family have been up to lately.
The chicken breast is then shredded by hand (very easy!) and mixed together in a large bowl with the cucumber. The dressing is then poured and tossed around until all ingredients are evenly coated. She finished the salad by sprinkling sesame seeds on top and drizzling soy sauce and lemon juice. Dekimashita (it’s time to eat)!
- For the chicken:
- 1 small chicken breast (about ½ lb)
- 2 tbsp sake
- 2 cups water
- For the cucumber:
- 2 Japanese cucumber or ½ English cucumber, sliced bite size
- 1 tbsp sesame oil
- 1 garlic clove, grated
- ½ tsp dashi powder (or chicken bouillon powder)
- 1 tbsp sesame seeds
- salt and pepper to taste
- Soy sauce and/or lemon for seasoning
- Bring water and sake to a boil. Add chicken breast and boil for 5 minutes. Turn the heat off, cover and let stand for 10 minutes.
- Take chicken out, rest on a plate and refrigerate until it cools down to room temperature.
- In a small bowl, mix garlic, sesame oil and dashi.
- Take chicken out of the fridge and shred into thin strips using your fingers.
- In a large bowl add cucumber, chicken, sesame seeds and garlic sesame mix. Stir well and season with salt and pepper.