Dan Hong’s Sichuan chicken salad with sesame dressing
Prep 30 mins (plus cooling)
Cook 40 mins
Serves 4 as part of a banquet
“This is such a good salad, and is best served with both the chicken and sesame dressing at room temperature. You can prepare most of the dish while the poached chicken is resting.”
3cm piece of ginger, peeled and roughly chopped
2 garlic cloves, peeled
1 brown onion, roughly chopped
5 star anise
3 chicken marylands
1 tbsp white or black sesame seeds
50g (¼ cup) Lau Gan Ma crispy chilli oil condiment with peanuts, plus extra to serve (see note)
1 tbsp grapeseed oil
1 telegraph cucumber, seeds removed, cut into thick matchsticks
100g enoki mushrooms, bases trimmed, separated
50g fresh wood ear mushrooms, trimmed, roughly torn
1 bunch of coriander, washed, roots discarded, cut into 3 cm lengths
4 spring onions, trimmed and thinly sliced into strips
70g (⅓ cup) Chinese sesame paste (see note)
60ml (¼ cup) Chinese black vinegar (see note)
75ml light soy sauce
2 tbsp caster sugar
1. Fill a medium saucepan with water, add the ginger, garlic, onion and star anise and season well with salt. Bring to the boil over high heat, then reduce the heat to low and simmer for 20 minutes to infuse.
2. Lightly season the chicken marylands with salt and carefully drop into the poaching liquid. Bring back to the boil, then reduce the heat and simmer gently for 8 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat and cover with a tight-fitting lid. Leave the chicken to cool and finish cooking in the liquid for 1 hour.
3. Meanwhile, toast the sesame seeds in a frying pan over medium heat for 3–4 minutes, stirring constantly, until light golden and fragrant.
4. Lift the chicken out of the liquid and place on a board. When it is cool enough to handle, remove the meat from the bones and loosely tear it into strips. If you like the skin, tear that up as well and mix it through the chicken meat, otherwise discard the skin and bones. Reserve 1 tablespoon of the hot liquid for the dressing. (Keep the rest of the poaching liquid and use it as a light stock for other recipes. It will keep in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days or in the freezer for 1 month).
5. Make a chilli oil by mixing together the Lau Gan Ma condiment and the grapeseed oil. Set aside.
6. For the sesame dressing, place the sesame paste in a medium bowl and stir in the reserved hot poaching liquid to loosen. Add the remaining ingredients and whisk until smooth.
7. Place the shredded chicken, cucumber, enoki and wood ear mushrooms, coriander and spring onion in a large bowl and lightly mix with your hands. Add enough of the sesame dressing to coat all the ingredients, followed by a few spoonfuls of the crispy chilli oil (or to taste), then mix again. Garnish with the sesame seeds and serve with extra Lau Gan Ma on the side.
N O T E S
Chinese sesame paste, known as zhi ma jiang is available from Asian supermarkets, substitute unhulled tahini if unavailable. Lau Gan Ma and Chinese black vinegar are also available from Asian supermarkets.
Recipe by Dan Hong, from the book Two Good Cookbook Two: Recipes for resilience. Published by Two Good Co & The Cru. Photography by Petrina Tinslay. Copies available direct from Two Good Co and all leading Australian bookstores. RRP $45 incl GST.