Sunday, April 24, 2011

Chicken breast with sesame paste dressing 鶏胸肉の胡麻和え

This is a classic small dish perfect for an Izakaya. In the original form, the chicken breast is steam cooked in sake or "sakamushi" 酒蒸 and thin strands of breast meat is teased out rather painstakingly and dressed in sesame paste dressing. This was a weekday quick dish, so I just used the leftover chicken breast which was barbecued. As a result, the chicken has a bit of smoky flavor which added a dimension of complexity to this dish. I did not teased out the chicken breast as carefully as I should have but strands of the meat were separated along the grain of the meat. The sesame dressing is made as usual; in a small Japanese mortar or "suribachi" すり鉢, add Japanese white sesame paste or "nerigoma" 練り胡麻 (2 tbs), sugar (1 tsp) and soy sauce (2-3 tabs) and mix with a pestle or "surikogi" 擂り粉木. I taste and add more soy sauce and/or sugar during the process. If the consistency is too thick, add some dashi broth or just water. Dress the chicken meat and top it with roasted white sesame seeds. I blanched "sugar snap*" peas (shocked them in a cold water to preserve the vibrant green color) and served as a garnish.

*My understanding is that these sugar snap peas are a hybrid cultivar developed in the U.S. and then introduced to Japan. This is often referred to (or at least used to be) as  "Snack" endou スナック豌豆 in Japan. Obviously Japanese misheard "snap" as "snack". Japanese government corrected this and this type of pea is now officially called " Snap" endou or スナップエンドウ.

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