Bill Granger recipe: Tea-smoked chicken salad with green beans, cucumber and Sichuan dressing
Sunday 30 March 2014
This is inspired by one of my favourite Chinese salads, with poached chicken, cucumber and Sichuan pepper. The smoking of the chicken gives it more body than the original, making it feel more like a complete meal. On colder days, this aromatic chicken also works well shredded into a noodle broth.
3 tbsp sea salt
2 star anise
5 whole cloves
75g soft brown sugar, plus 2 tbsp
3 skinned chicken breasts
75g white rice
2 good-quality black tea bags
1 large cucumber, cut into chunks
Handful green beans, trimmed and blanched
2 tbsp soy sauce
2 tsp sesame oil
½ tsp crushed chilli flakes
½ tsp toasted Sichuan peppercorns, ground with a pestle and mortar
½ tsp sea salt
Pound the salt, star anise and cloves using a pestle and mortar until the spices are roughly crushed. Combine into a bowl with 2 tbsp of the brown sugar.
Place the chicken breasts in a tray in which they fit in one layer and rub all over with the spiced salt-and-sugar mixture. Cover and leave to marinate for 2 hours out of the fridge. Rinse in cold water and pat dry with kitchen paper.
Line a large wok with tin foil. Add the raw rice, the 75g of sugar and the contents of the tea bags. Mix well.
Place a round wire rack (or steaming rack) inside the wok and sit the chicken on top. Cover with a tight-fitting lid. Cook over a medium heat for 3 minutes until you start to see smoke.
Reduce the heat and cook for another 15 minutes, or until cooked through. Remove to a plate and leave to cool, then cover and chill until needed.
Shred the chicken into a large bowl and toss through the cucumber, green beans, soy sauce, sesame oil and chillies.
Combine the Sichuan peppercorns and salt and scatter over the salad, then serve.
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