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Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Spaghetti with sesame oil, shiitake mushrooms and chicken

Our latest food crush is on the combination of shiitake mushrooms and sesame oil. Toss the two together and lightly fry them and the resulting taste will be like vegetarian bacon or a soft salty and smoked marshmallow. Really different and enhanced than just the "sum of the parts". We felt that the best way we could frame this combination is by serving it in a spaghetti and chicken dish, and we also added some cucumber pieces for a hint of freshness (to counterbalance the potential oiliness of the pasta). The result was lovely and the overall flavor range was Asian-Chinese. Or at least its a Chinese restaurant feel that was inspired to me when I finally tasted what I've been imagining and planing for days. Try it, you'll definitely enjoy. 

Ingredients (serves 2):

  • 200 g spaghetti
  • 130 g cucumber
  • 150 g shiitake mushrooms
  • 1 chicken leg (but you can also use breast fillet)
  • 20-30 ml sesame oil (the type that tastes like roasted sesame
  • 1 tablespoons lemon juice (optional)
  • salt and pepper to taste

We didn't have much time on our hands so we wanted to bake the chicken while we do something else. We've put the leg in a kitchen foil, seasoned it with salt and pepper and then wrapped the foil around it and baked it at 200 degrees C for about 1 hour:

You can cook it anyhow you prefer or just use up some leftover chicken for this recipe, it doesn't matter. Just have about 1 plateful of cooked chicken bits in the end:

After you've cut up the meat into little pieces and put them aside, cook the spaghetti according to package instructions:

Clean and peel the shiitake mushrooms:

Chop them up into bite-sized pieces:

Heat about half of the sesame oil you intend to use in a frying pan and toss the mushrooms in it (seasoned with a little salt and pepper):

After 5-8 minutes also add the cucumber piece, chopped up into rough slice quarters:

Let the mushrooms and cucumbers fry some more for another 5 minutes.
Divide the spaghetti between two serving plates. Top with the chicken pieces. Drizzle a bit of lemon juice now, if using.

When the mushrooms and cucumbers are done, divide them too between the plates. Season with some extra salt and pepper and pour the rest of the sesame oil directly on each plate:

Toss the whole content of each plate very well until the sesame oil, salt and pepper coat the spaghetti and the topping bits are scattered evenly through the pasta. It's ready, dig in! :)

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