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Seoul-ful Chicken with Minted Cucumbers

Photo: Howard L. Puckett; Styling: Lydia Degaris-Pursell
Yield 4 servings
Category Finalist, Entrées. "My family loves Asian food, and I enjoy its vivid flavors and colors. This is my spin on Korean grilled chicken with a speedy kimchi-type accompaniment. I prefer using chicken thighs for this dish because they are juicier and tastier than boneless breasts. This dish is simple enough for an after-work dinner but scrumptious enough for guests." —Janice Elder, Charlotte, North Carolina

Ingredients

  • Cucumbers:
  • 1 English cucumber, peeled, halved lengthwise, and thinly sliced (about 2 1/2 cups)
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup minced shallots
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh mint
  • 1 tablespoon seasoned rice vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1 teaspoon dark sesame oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground red pepper
  • 1 serrano chile, seeded and minced
  • Chicken:
  • 8 skinless, boneless chicken thighs (about 1 1/4 pounds)
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons dark sesame oil
  • 1 tablespoon minced peeled fresh ginger
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
  • Cooking spray
  • 1/4 cup thinly sliced green onions
  • 4 teaspoons sesame seeds, toasted

Nutrition Information

  • calories 262
  • caloriesfromfat 31 %
  • fat 8.9 g
  • satfat 1.9 g
  • monofat 3 g
  • polyfat 2.8 g
  • protein 29.9 g
  • carbohydrate 14.9 g
  • fiber 1.5 g
  • cholesterol 115 mg
  • iron 2.7 mg
  • sodium 502 mg
  • calcium 40 mg

How to Make It

  1. To prepare cucumbers, place cucumber slices in a colander; sprinkle with salt, tossing well. Drain 1 hour. Place cucumber slices on several layers of paper towels; cover with additional paper towels. Let stand 5 minutes, pressing down occasionally. Combine cucumber, shallots, and next 6 ingredients (through chile) in a large bowl; toss gently. Cover and set aside.

  2. To prepare chicken, place each chicken thigh between 2 sheets of heavy-duty plastic wrap; pound to 1/2-inch thickness using a meat mallet or small heavy skillet. Combine soy sauce and next 5 ingredients (through garlic) in a large zip-top plastic bag. Add chicken to soy sauce mixture in bag; seal. Marinate in refrigerator 30 minutes, turning bag occasionally.

  3. Heat a grill pan over medium-high heat. Coat pan with cooking spray. Remove chicken from bag; discard marinade. Place 4 thighs in pan; cook 6 minutes on each side or until done. Repeat procedure with remaining 4 thighs. Place 2 thighs and 1/2 cup cucumbers on each of 4 plates; sprinkle each serving with 1 tablespoon green onions and 1 teaspoon sesame seeds.

  4. Wine note: Serve an herbaceous sauvignon blanc to echo the crisp freshness of the dish's cucumber and mint. Chilean versions, like Veramonte Sauvignon Blanc Reserva 2007 ($11), strike a balance between the crisp, green flavors of the New Zealand–style wine and the juicy tropical fruit and melon of California versions in an affordable package. —Jeffery Lindenmuth