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Szechuan Chicken and Red Rice Salad with Sesame Dressing

The New Whole Grains Cookbook by Robin Asbell

1 1/2-2 c. water (use smaller measure for Himalayan red rice, the larger for Wehani or other long grain)
1 c. red rice, washed and rinsed*
3 T. tahini
1/4 c. soy sauce
1 T. rice vinegar
1 T. hot sesame oil
1 T. dark sesame oil
1 T. sugar
1 T. minced ginger
2 t. minced garlic
1/2 t. salt
1/2 t. crushed szechuan peppercorns, optional
8 oz. boneless skinless chicken breast or thighs, cooked and shredded
2 c. bean sprouts
1 cucumber, peeled, seeded and sliced
4 scallions, slivered
1/4 c. chopped dry roasted peanuts

In a 1-qt saucepan with a tight fitting lid, bring water to a boil, then add washed rice. Return to a boil, reduce heat and cover, simmering for 25 minutes or until water is absorbed. Remove from heat and let stand 10 minutes. Allow to cool to room temperature. In a measuring cup or small bowl, whisk tahini, soy sauce, sesame oils, rice vinegar, sugar, ginger, garlic, salt and crushed peppercorns (if using). Put shredded chicken in small bowl and toss with 2 T. of dressing; add remaining to rice and stir to coat. Fold rice, chicken and cucumber gently in bowl, top with scallions, sprouts and peanuts.

*- To wash rice, place in bowl and cover with water. Swish with fingers, rubbing the grains around until water is cloudy. Drain, rinse through a wire strainer and shake excess water off.

KATE’S RECIPE NOTES:
Yum, the dressing is divine! I only used enough on the rice to hold it together, reserving the remaining to pour over as it was served. I chopped a red pepper into this as well for some extra antioxidant power. I did not have the two different kinds of sesame oils, just the basic and it tasted fine using that in the same amounts. The vegetables will soften in the dressing overnight; if you want to avoid this, keep everything separate and toss together just prior to eating to retain the crispness. I would love to try this on Soba noodles.

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