Ginger, sesame, and soy is an amazing combination to me. I’ve loved the trio since the very first potsticker I ever stuck in my mouth in the early 1980s. Until then the only Asian food I’d been introduced to was the Moo Goo Gai Pan in the Family Style combination dinners my parents ordered as a special treat at the Vietnam era Chinese restaurants they favored in Salt Lake City, Utah. I loved those forays into the adult world of dining, but honestly, I don’t remember much about the food. I’m sure these meals did indeed feature ginger, sesame, and soy in some watered down combination but this is not when my fascination with these flavors began.
No. The discovery came to me in the least likely of places. Santa Barbara, California circa 1985.
Ginger, Sesame, and Soy
When I should have been out moonwalking in my parachute pants with people my own age I was attending gyoza parties held in the kitchen of the man I rented a room from while I was in college. Roger was at least a decade older than me. He was successful, worldly and seemed to live life with a sophisticated joie de vivre I openly admired. So when it came to potstickers I happily sat down with his friends and learned how to wrap, roll, steam, and fry them. I also learned how to mix up the dipping sauce – a piquant potion of rice vinegar, mirin, ginger, sesame, and soy.
Scallion-Stuffed Ginger-Sesame Chicken is my attempt to put all these flavors (and some of those memories) together on one plate. It’s a sophisticated dish that’s still simple enough for a weeknight dinner. It can even be started the night before to save even more time because marinating the chicken for some time beforehand helps the flavors seep through while keeping the meat delicate enough so it doesn’t fight with the flavorful ginger, sesame, and soy. GREG