Bon Bon Chicken (Salad) Pt 1

         Yield: 8 Servings
Categories: Asian, Main Dishes, Poultry, Salad

------------------------------FOR THE CHICKEN------------------------------ 4 Chicken breast halves; boned -and skinned 1 Inch piece fresh ginger 3 Scallions 1 ts Salt 1 tb Chinese rice wine*; or -sherry 1 tb Szechwan peppercorns* -----------------------------FOR THE CUCUMBERS----------------------------- 2 Whole cucumbers 1/2 ts Salt ------------------------------FOR THE NOODLES------------------------------ 2 oz Chinese cellophane noodles* 8 c Water; approximately ----------------------------FOR THE SESAME SAUCE---------------------------- 8 Cloves garlic 1 Inch fresh ginger 1/2 ts Salt 2 ts Granulated sugar 2 ts Szechwan peppercorns*; -ground fine 1 tb Hot pepper flakes; (opt.) or -to taste 3 1/2 ts Rice wine vinegar* 3 tb Sesame paste** 1 tb Sesame oil* 5 tb Soy sauce 1 1/2 tb Water 3 Whole scallions; green and -white parts, sliced very -thin (Cold Chicken, Cucumber, and Cellophane Noodles in Sesame Sauce) For the chicken: Peel ginger and cut into "coins" 1/8 in. (3 mm) wide. Clean scallions and flatten them with the side of a heavy knife blade or cleaver. Cut these into 2 in. (5 cm) lengths, using both the green and white parts. Combine the ginger, scallions, salt, wine and Szechwan peppercorns and rub all over chicken breasts and place all in a heat proof bowl. Set this mixture aside to marinate at room temperature for at least 1 hour, turning the breasts several times. After at least 1 hour place bowl of chicken with marinade in a steamer and steam for 30 minutes, checking occasionally to make sure the steamer doesn't run out of water. Remove from steamer and let cool. Remove and discard any pieces of scallion, ginger, or peppercorn clinging to the chicken and cut into match stick sized pieces. Refrigerate until ready to assemble dish. For the cucumbers: Peel the cucumbers and cut in half lengthwise. Scoop out and discard seeds. Cut each half into 2 in. (5 cm) sections, and slice each of these sections lengthwise as thin as you can. Place cucumber slices in a bowl and mix well with the salt. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour. Just prior to serving squeeze out as much liquid as you can, using your hands, and pat dry between paper towels. For the noodles: Put the noodles in a bowl and cover with 4 cups boiling water. Let soak for 20 minutes. Drain. Boil additional 4 cups water and add softened cellophane noodles. Cook noodles for 2 to 3 minutes after water returns to boil. Drain noodles and rinse under cold water. Drain thoroughly and set aside. For the sesame sauce: Peel garlic cloves and place in small bowl or mortar. Peel ginger and chop fine. Add the ginger and the salt to the garlic and, using the wooden handle of your cleaver, a wooden spoon, or pestle, mash them together until they turn into a coarse paste. Add the remaining ingredients and stir until thoroughly combined. For the presentation: Arrange the drained cucumber slices on a large, flat serving platter. Place the noodles on a cutting board and cut across them several times to make them a more manageable length. Arrange on top of cucumbers. Arrange the sliced chicken on top of the noodles. Spoon the sauce over the chicken immediately prior to serving. Note: this dish may be served cold or at room temperature. You may make it in advance and keep it refrigerated. Do not add the sauce until just before you serve it. Serves 8 to 10. NOTES : * Available in finer supermarkets and Asian specialty shops. ** Also available in Asian specialty shops. Middle Eastern sesame paste, tahini, may be substituted. Today's recipe supposedly gets its name from its appearance. The shredded chicken looks like sticks of kindling, or bangbang. While we can't attest = to the truth of the story, we do know that this is the ultimate "chicken sala= d". The preparation is somewhat elaborate, and therefore better suited to a gu= est continued in part 2