I used to hate salads. I don’t ever remember my parents giving them to me (although I’m sure they did). Perhaps that’s why I was disinterested in them for so many years. If dinner wasn’t a stew it was a meat and three veg deal – no salad in sight. When I went to school, Dad would come up with the most amazing sandwich concoctions – Vegemite? No. Peanut butter? No. Cheese and Tomato? No. I would get the dinner from the night before between two slices of bread. Mashed potato, pumpkin, peas, carrots, meat of choice, tomato sauce maybe a bit of lettuce, pickles and tomato thrown in – or anything available in the fridge… On the more interesting days, it would become a game to my friends who would dare me (pay me) to eat my own lunch. Admittedly though, when Dad made normal sandwich like an egg and lettuce – they were second to none.
Bread however is no longer a staple in my diet and I need to try new things (Be Like Nike!) to keep lunch interesting. They need to be flavoursome, filling and satisfying. It can be difficult sometimes at lunch time to fulfil all those criteria. When I found this little Japanese salad which is barely a feather on the calorie scales at only 244 a serve – I was delighted. Mainly because it means I can sneak afternoon chocolate and a cuppa and still be well below my calorie target.
The photos doesn’t make it look as appetising as it is – just try it anyway. Very refreshing in a hot summer.
Sesame Chicken & Cucumber Salad
- 2 chicken thigh fillets
- 1 tbsp sake
- 1 tsp sesame oil
- 1 tsp minced ginger
- 2 spring onions
- 2 lebanese cucumbers
- 2 tbsp sesame seeds
- 1/2 tsp sesame oil
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1/4 cup tepid water
- 1 tbsp soy sauce (preferably Japanese)
- 1 tbsp caster sugar
- 1 tbsp sesame seeds
- 1 tsp rice vinegar
- 1 tsp minced ginger
- 1 tsp minced garlic
- Optional 1 tsp chilli paste
- Chop onion finely, keeping the white and green sections separate
- Combine the chicken with the sake, oil, white part of onion and ginger. Allow to marinade for half an hour covered in the fridge
- Meanwhile, quarter the cucumber lengthwise and cut into chunks
- Place 3 tbsp of sesame seeds into a blender until crushed (does not need to be like a flour, simply coarsely ground)
- Remove one tbsp from the blender and set aside
- Add to the 2 tbsp still in the blender the oil and salt. Mix until combined.
- Add the water and and mix until blended
- Create the sesame sauce by combining the sesame paste with all ingredients above (including the 1 tbsp of sesame seeds which was set aside).
- Once finished marinading, fry the chicken over a low-medium heat until just cooked through and tender. Remove from the pan and allow to cool
- Slice chicken and place on the cucumber. Poor sauce over and eat immediately or refrigerate for lunch the next day.
NB. I put the sauce on the night before and the cucumber remained crunchy although there was juice in the bottom of the container. I simply drained before eating.