Cold Steamed Chicken

Tori No Saka Mushi

Moist and tender, this chicken dish is sure to become a hot-weather favorite. Serve it with the sesame sauce suggested here or spicy mustard.

Ingredients

  • 2–3 boned chicken breasts, each weighing about pound
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon saké (rice wine)
  • Ice water
  • 1 large tomato
  • 1 cucumber

Dipping Sauce

  • 2 tablespoons white sesame seeds
  • 1 scant teaspoon superfine sugar
  • 1 teaspoon soy sauce
  • teaspoon sesame oil
  • 2–3 tablespoons strained broth from steaming

Method

Lightly salt the chicken breasts all over and lay them, skin side up, on a heat-proof plate with deep flanges. Pour the rice wine over the chicken and steam for 25 minutes.

Remove the chicken breasts from the plate, being careful not to spill the broth collected there. Plunge the chicken breasts, one at a time, into a bowl of ice water until all fat has floated to the surface of the water and the meat is cool enough to handle. Gently “wash” the chicken and remove the skin, if you prefer. Pat the chicken breasts dry and cut them, slightly on the diagonal, into thin slices (sogi-giri cutting).

Decorate your serving platter with tomato and cucumber slices. The Japanese have a way of cutting cucumbers into attractive thin curlicues which look particularly refreshing in hot weather. Follow the instructions for kaminari cutting if you wish to follow suit. Arrange the chicken slices attractively on your platter and chill for at least 30 minutes and up to several hours.

Dry roast the white sesame seeds and grind them to a paste in a suribachi or a blender. Add the sugar, soy sauce and sesame oil, blending well after each addition. Strain the broth that collected on the heat-proof plate while steaming and thin the sesame sauce with about 2 tablespoons of it. Chill the sauce before serving it with the cold chicken.

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