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Chicken Nuggets with Spicy Cucumber
by Chef Wayne Nish

Yield: 4 bento* servings
  • 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
  • 1 pound skinless, boneless chicken breast or thigh
  • Flour
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1 cup dried bread crumbs, preferably panko (a Japanese variety)
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Heat the oil to 350°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 breadcrumbs 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.


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.

The following suggestions are brew pairings from our StarBrewers:

  • Harpoon IPA - let the flavors fight it out!

  • Deschutes Bachelor E.S.B. - Copious amounts of hops help cleanse the palate and cools the spice from foods, causing you to crave more of what you just had.

  • Saranac Pale Ale - For your heavier and spicier foods I would like to suggest our Pale Ale. The well-balanced bittersweet qualities of our Pale Ale hold up well against the strong flavors of these foods.

  • Dominion Tuppers' Hop Pocket Pils - As the spiciness goes up, I would switch to the 'bready' malty body and assertive, earthy hop character of our Pils.

  • Dominion Tuppers' Hop Pocket Ale - If you decide to go even hotter with this dish, this Ale's big caramel, malty body and aggressive citrus hop bitterness can match the heat.