Banbanji is an appetizer and salad made with juicy tender chicken, cucumbers, tomatoes, and a sweet and nutty dressing. Although the dressing is often made with white sesame paste or peanut butter, I use sweetened black sesame cream in this version to create a beautiful contrast with the red tomatoes and green cucumbers.
If you ever wondered how restaurants get their salad chicken to be so tender, the answer is that they steam it. Before cooking the chicken it’s brined to bring out the juices and tenderize the meat. When cooked in the steamer, you can get juicy tender chicken every time. The important think to remember is not to overcook the chicken- you want to remove it as soon as the chicken reaches an internal temperature of 165 degrees F or 75 degrees C.
There are two different ways to serve the chicken- either sliced or shredded. If the chicken is sliced then I leave the skin on to preserve the moisture. The dish is topped with the dressing.
Sliced Banbanji Chicken
For shredded chicken, use your finders to shred the chicken as soon as it is cold enough. Remove the shin and discard and mix the dressing into the chicken which will keep the chicken moist and delicious.
No matter how you serve it, the taste is always amazing. The scallions on top can be mixed with with other chopped herbs to enhance the flavor. For a Japanese taste, add some Shiso leaves and Myouga. For a more Thai taste, try some cilantro and lemongrass.
I like to make Banbanji Chicken as a light meal on a hot summer day. It’s a favorite in my home – so give it a try and let me know how it comes out!