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Sesame Chicken Salad

Sesame sauce bathes layers of chicken, cucumber, and noodles in this satisfying main-course salad. Assemble the salad just before serving, or the cucumbers will release liquid, turn limp, and make the sauce watery.

  • Total Time:
  • Servings: 4

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  • 1/4 pound vermicelli
  • 1 cup plus 3 tablespoons canned low-sodium chicken broth or homemade stock
  • 3 scallions including green tops, cut into 1/4-inch slices
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/3 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts (about 4 )
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh ginger
  • 4 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons tahini (sesame-seed paste)
  • 1 tablespoon Asian sesame oil
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons cooking oil
  • 1/8 teaspoon dried red-pepper flakes
  • 3 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1/2 teaspoon fresh-ground black pepper
  • 2 cucumbers, halved lengthwise, peeled, and seeded


  1. In a pot of boiling, salted water, cook the vermicelli until just done, about 9 minutes. Drain. Rinse with cold water; drain thoroughly.
  2. In a medium saucepan, combine the 1 cup broth, one third of the scallions, and the salt. Bring to a simmer, add the chicken, stir, and cover the pan. Simmer for 5 minutes. Turn the heat off and let the chicken steam for 5 minutes. Remove the chicken from the saucepan and shred it.
  3. In a blender, puree the remaining 3 tablespoons broth, the ginger, garlic, tahini, sesame oil, sugar, cooking oil, red-pepper flakes, soy sauce, and pepper. Put the cucumber halves cut-side down and slice them lengthwise into thin strips.
  4. To serve, put the vermicelli on plates or in bowls. Scatter each serving with a layer of cucumber strips and then top with the shredded chicken. Pour the sesame sauce over the chicken and sprinkle with the remaining scallions.

Suggested Pairing

The bold flavors of the salad will be complemented by the acidity and slight sweetness of a German Kabinett Riesling from the Mosel-Saar-Ruwer.

Photo © Kelsey Brown

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