Sichuan-Style Chicken Salad (Bang Bang Ji Si)
Why This Recipe Works
To ensure moist, judiciously seasoned chicken, we arranged four chicken breasts in a steamer basket, submerged the basket in a Dutch oven filled with salted water, and brought the water up to 175 degrees over medium heat. We then shut off the heat, covered the pot, and let the chicken cook gently via the salted water's residual heat until the chicken registered 160 degrees. Before shredding the chicken, we let it rest to allow the juices to redistribute, ensuring moist meat. We found that shredding the chicken created more surface area and allowed for greater penetration of the dressing, which we made by combining oil infused with garlic, ginger, and chili; soy sauce; Chinese black vinegar; toasted sesame oil; sugar; and toasted and ground Sichuan peppercorns. For contrast, we mixed the dressed chicken with thin-sliced napa cabbage, scallions, celery, loads of cilantro, and toasted sesame seeds.