Sichuan-Style Chicken Salad

Chichi's Chinese

Home-style Chinese cooking from a real-world home cook.

Sichuan-Style Chicken Salad

[Photograph: Chichi Wang]

Note: Sesame paste can be found in most Asian supermarkets. Middle Eastern-style Tahini or peanut butter can be used in its place.

  • Yield:serves 4 as an appetizer
  • Active time: 20 minutes
  • Total time:45 minutes
  • Rated:

Ingredients

  • 2 pounds bone-in chicken breast or legs
  • One 2-inch piece of ginger, cut into thick slices
  • 1/4 cup Shaoxing rice wine
  • 1 teaspoon white sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 tablespoon light soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon Chinkiang vinegar or rice vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons sesame paste (see note above)
  • 2 teaspoons toasted sesame oil
  • 2 to 4 tablespoons chili oil, to taste
  • 1 teaspoon toasted and ground Sichuan peppercorns (optional)
  • 2 scallions, thinly sliced
  • A dozen sprigs cilantro, roughly chopped (optional)
  • 1 tablespoon black or white sesame seeds (optional)
  • 2 tablespoons chopped roasted peanuts (optional)

Directions

  1. 1.

    Place chicken, ginger, and wine in a medium saucepan. Add enough cold water to barely cover chicken. Bring to a simmer over medium-high heat then reduce to lowest heat. Liquid should be barely quivering. Cook until chicken is cooked through (breasts should register 155°F on an instant read thermometer and legs should register at least 165°F).

  2. 2.

    Remove chicken from the pot and place into a bowl of ice water. Leave it to cool in the water, up to 2 hours, or remove and place it in the refrigerator for longer storage. When are you ready to dress the chicken, tear the meat into slivers.

  3. 3.

    Combine sugar, salt, soy sauce, vinegar, sesame paste, sesame oil, chili oil, and sichuan peppercorns in a medium mixing bowl. Whisk to combine. Add chicken, scallions, cilantro, sesame seeds, and peanuts. Toss to combine and season to taste with additional chili oil, vinegar, or soy sauce as desired. Serve immediately, or refrigerate for up to 2 days.