Friday, July 22, 2011

Agar-Agar Salad with Chicken

So what the hey is agar-agar? It's a derivative of seaweed and used basically as a vegetarian form of gelatin. In Chinese markets, it's typically sold in 1.5 oz packages and the product looks like long strands of translucent noodles with the consistency of plastic. Sounds delish, eh? Well, actually, it really is when well-seasoned and properly prepared. My grandmother used to make this tasty cold appetizer/salad with agar-agar and chicken and, after some experimentation, I came up with this rendition which I think closely (though not exactly) approximates her recipe. Hope I've done Ah-Ma proud!

1 package (1.5 oz) of Agar-agar
1 hothouse or English cucumber, julienned
2 Jalapeno peppers (red or green), seeded & sliced
1 large clove garlic, minced
16 oz. cooked, shredded chicken 
1/2 cup chopped cilantro
5 tbsp. Chinese black vinegar
2 tbsp. sugar
1/4 cup soy sauce
2 tbsp. sesame oil
2 tbsp. white sesame seed

1. Cut agar-agar into 2" sections in a large bowl. Cover with water & soak at least 6 hours or overnight. 

2. Drain water from the agar-agar and add all the other ingredients. Mix well. Let sit at room temperature for about 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. If not serving right away, then place into a Ziploc bag and refrigerate until ready to use. 

Cut agar-agar into 2" sections.

Cover with water and soak at least 6 hours to overnight.

Trader Joe's has some cooked, shredded chicken which works well in this recipe (I just shred it into smaller pieces by hand). You can also buy a roasted chicken from your local supermarket or poach a whole chicken or chicken breasts and do the same.

Julienne or cut the cucumber into matchstick-sized pieces.

Drain water from the agar-agar.

Shredded chicken, sliced jalapeno & chopped cilantro.

Sesame seed, soy sauce, black vinegar, sesame oil & sugar.

Add soy sauce & remaining seasonings (except for sesame seeds).

Stir in sesame seeds.

If not serving after 30 minutes, place salad into a Ziploc bag and refrigerate.

1 comment:

  1. Thank you for the recipe! I recall my mother making this when I was a child and enjoyed the sweet, salty, tart refreshing flavor of this cold dish. My mother used Japanese Rice Vinegar instead and added julienne cut scrambled egg.