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RotD 5 July 2014: Seaweed Salad with Grilled Taiwanese Chicken

I would like to apologize to my readers because I accidentally wrote about and published my posts on my 7 July 2014 dishes – the minestrone alla Genovese and the Italian chicken tomato soup spaghetti – before this one. As I was busy on the day I made this recipe, out all Sunday, and busy last Monday, while the pictures of this dish lay ready in my blog’s folder on my computer, the blog entry did not materialize until now.

Two nights before this, my mother and I developed cravings for fast-food fried chicken and asked my brother, who was on the way home from the office, to take away KFC for us (there’s a branch just outside the village; I wanted to go myself but Mom forbade me to as it was raining – I would’ve walked). Unable to finish it that night – and not quite willing to so that I could stick to my personal philosophies of not eating too much at night – more than half the chicken went into the fridge. The next day, I had the still-unsliced chicken for lunch, with a good spattering of Taiwanese pepper (pepper salt). As this day, Saturday, was the second day of the Lean Startup Machine Manila (this rather quicker post talks about what I wore that day), and I was rushing late for my social media correspondence duties, I needed an on-the-go breakfast.

The first thing that came into my mind was: salad. Already I had ideas; the other day, I was inspired by The Honourable Nigella Lawson’s Crab & Avocado Salad with Japanese Dressing. I wanted to make a seaweed salad with grilled leftover KFC chicken and the Japanese dressing. Well, I already had an existing one, another Nigella recipe: the wasabi lime dressing, an equally Japanese-inspired creation I had yet to finish up, so I used that one.

What would supposedly comprise the verdancy of the salad was this curious little package all the way from Taiwan (a gift to me): seaweed that opens up and “grows” in water. The package evidently contained different kinds of seaweeds due to the colors in it, so I got several colors for my salad.DSC_0207

The seaweed is simply soaked in potable water; any temperature will do, but I now prefer it hot (to slightly “cook” it as well). Unfortunately, this time around, the seaweed failed to fully “flower”. I am not sure whether it was because the seaweed had been here for a long time already, or I just put too much in a relatively small bowl. As such, I was forced to add another leafy green to complement the sea vegetable, this time a land vegetable: cabbage.

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At the same time, I took out my trusty Happy Call and proceeded to grill the leftover shredded KFC. I added a lot of Taiwanese pepper (pepper salt) this time, to provide a deeper Asian twist to the viand, to help it complement the seaweed.

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I also prepared a slice of bread and diced it, then had it toasted to make croûtons. Normally I would fry them, but I was pressed for time and toasting is more healthful than frying anyway. When the chicken was done grilling, I transferred both bread and meat to the upper portion of my Sistema Salad-to-Go lunch box, a really nice brand of BPA-free, microwaveable hard plastic lunch boxes. It hails from New Zealand, and is quite inexpensive in some places here in the Philippines such as Shopwise.

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The seaweed and cabbage went to the main compartment, as did some of the chicken that didn’t fit in the upper compartment anymore. I put the wasabi lime dressing into a small jar that came with the lunch box, purposely made for salad dressings. It’s really convenient and cool; the lunch box even comes with its own fork and knife that can be disassembled and clipped underneath the top compartment.

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So I ate the salad in the car on the way to Makati, but wasn’t able to start doing so right away because I had several phone calls to make. I ended up eating most of it in the event. Anyway, as social media correspondent, I Tweeted only during key activities, and did video editing the whole time; furthermore, participants were out doing field work when I arrived.

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Notwithstanding the eccentric combination of flavors and ingredients, the salad was actually surprisingly delicious. The mouth-tingling sharpness of the KFC and the Taiwanese pepper went well with the powdery sweetness of the bread, as well as the sliminess of the seaweed and the subtle flavor of the cabbage. Of course, there was also the wasabi lime dressing (or, rather, wasabi calamansi dressing), which was a cornucopia of flavors in itself: the sharpness of the citrus fruit married into the bold, cool hotness (oxymoronic, don’t you think?) of the wasabi. It definitely made the whole thing a lot more delectable and palatable. 🙂

And now that I think of it, I can see myself experimenting more with different brands of fried chicken… Bring on the Jollibee, the McDonald’s, the S&R, the Rack’s, at iba pa.

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