Chicken Nuggets with Spicy Cucumber

Adapted by StarChefs.com
Yield: 4 bento* servings

INGREDIENTS:

1 quart peanut or canola oil
1 seedless cucumber
1/4 teaspoon Vietnamese chili paste ( or Tabasco or other hot sauce)
3 tablespoons Champagne or white wine vinegar
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 pound skinless, boneless chicken breast or thigh
flour
1 beaten egg
1 cup dried bread crumbs, preferably panko (a Japanese variety)

METHOD:

Heat the oil to 350 degrees F in a heavy 2-quart saucepan.

Cut the cucumber in quarters lengthwise, then cut into 1/4-inch slices on an angle. In a bowl, toss the cucumber slices with the chili paste, vinegar, and salt and pepper to taste and set aside.

Cut the chicken into 1-inch cubes and season with salt and pepper. Dredge the chicken cubes in the flour, dip them in the beaten egg, and roll in the bread crumbs to coat evenly. Fry the chicken pieces in 2 batches in the hot oil for approximately 3 minutes for breast meat or 5 minutes for thigh meat, until the crust is golden brown. Lift the chicken from the oil and drain immediately on paper towels.

For assembly:

We chose a deep plate that contrasts with the texture of the pickles. Mound the cucumber slices tightly in the center of the plate and prop the chicken nuggets up against them.




*The black lacquered shokado bento box, covered with a lid and separated into four square compartments, is a common sight at dinner and party tables in Japan. It's also appearing with increasing frequency in American kitchens as an artful way to present everyday food.