Cold Sesame Chicken
Though completely different from a crisp-skinned, oven-roasted chicken, sometimes a boiled chicken is just the thing, hot or cold. In warm weather, this Chinese-style cold sesame chicken is especially welcome. It’s perfect for a picnic or light lunch and can be prepared well in advance of serving.
- Serves: 6 persons
- 6bone-in chicken legs, drumettes or boneless thighs (about 4 pounds)
- Kosher salt
- 1tablespoon five-spice powder
- 2whole scallions
- 1(2-inch) piece ginger, cut into 4 thick slices
- 2star anise pods
- 1teaspoon ground turmeric
- 3tablespoons soy sauce
- 2tablespoons granulated sugar
- ½teaspoon ground cayenne
- ½teaspoon grated garlic
- 1tablespoon toasted sesame oil
- ½teaspoon grated ginger
- 1tablespoon toasted sesame seeds
- 2tablespoons crushed roasted, unsalted peanuts
- 1or 2 thinly sliced serrano chiles (optional)
- Cilantro sprigs
- 3or 4 scallions, thinly sliced
- Tender mustard greens or lettuce leaves (optional)
Step 1Season chicken with salt and sprinkle with five-spice powder, rubbing seasoning into the flesh.
Step 2Transfer chicken to a soup pot or Dutch oven. Add 4 to 6 cups water, just to cover. Bring to a boil over high heat, then reduce heat to a bare simmer. Add scallions, ginger slices, star anise and turmeric. Simmer very gently until tender, about 45 minutes.
Step 3Remove chicken to cool on a baking sheet. (For faster cooling, submerge chicken in ice water.) Reserve 1/2 cup cooking liquid.
Step 4Make the glaze: Put soy sauce, sugar, cayenne, garlic, toasted sesame oil, ginger and 1/2 cup cooking liquid in a shallow saucepan or small skillet over medium-high heat. Simmer rapidly until thickened, about 5 minutes. Set aside.
Step 5Chop bone-in chicken into 1-inch chunks with a sharp cleaver or large chef’s knife. (Remove bones before chopping, if preferred. If using drumettes or boneless thighs, leave whole.) Arrange chicken on a serving platter.
Step 6Brush glaze onto the meat. Sprinkle with sesame seeds and peanuts. Add chiles (if using), cilantro and scallions. Surround with mustard greens or lettuce leaves, if using. Serve chilled or at room temperature.