Let me be the 12 millionth person to recommend Salt Fat Acid Heat, both on Netflix and in book form. This is Samin Nosrat’s Vietnamese-style cucumber salad. I served it with pan-seared chicken thighs and rice, and it was the interest in an otherwise unremarkable meal. The extra dressing from the salad made a nice sauce for the chicken.
2lbs (about 8) Persian or Japanese cucumbers 1 large jalapeño, seeds removed if desired, thinly sliced 3 scallions, finely sliced 1 garlic clove, crushed 0.5c coarsely chopped cilantro 16 large mint leaves, coarsely chopped 0.5c toasted peanuts, coarsely chopped 0.25c neutral-tasting oil 4-5T lime juice 4t rice wine vinegar 1T fish sauce 1t sugar pinch of salt
Using either a mandolin or a sharp knife, thinly slice cucumbers, discarding the ends. In a large bowl, combine cucumbers, jalapeño, scallions, garlic, cilantro, mint, and peanuts. In a small bowl, mix remaining ingredients and stir until salt & sugar are dissolved. Pour the dressing over the vegetables and mix. Taste and adjust with more salt or lime juice. Serve immediately.
I’m not a huge chicken teriyaki fan, but I do like the combo of fresh vegetables and umami’ed up chicken in this one. Plus, it’s quick – you can make it on a weeknight.
4T sake 1T cornstarch 2lbs boneless, skinless chicken thighs, cut into 1″ pieces 2T veg oil (not olive oil) 0.5c mirin 0.25c tamari (aka gluten-free soy sauce – use soy sauce if you’re not GF) 1T finely grated ginger 0.5t ground black pepper 3c cooked white rice 3 scallions, sliced thinly on the diagonal 3″ piece of cucumber cut into matchsticks 4t roasted sesame seeds
Whisk 2T sake and cornstarch. Add chicken, toss to coat. Heat 1T oil in a 12″ skillet until shimmering. Add half of the chicken in a single layer and cooking without stirring until browned, about 3 minutes. Flip chicken, cook another 2 minutes. Transfer to bowl, repeat with remaining chicken.
Return skillet to medium heat, add mirin, tamari, remaining 2T sake, and ginger. Bring to simmer and cook, stirring and scraping up brown bits until spoon drawn through leaves trail, about 5 minutes.
Return chicken and any accumulated juices to pan. Add pepper and cook, stirring until chicken is glazed, about 4 minutes. Season with additional tamari to taste. Divide rice amongst 4 bowls. Spoon chicken over rice, top with cucumber, scallions, and sesame seeds.