Historians say there is evidence wasabi has been cultivated in Japan for more than 1,300 years and that there were even times it could be used to pay a tax — evidence of how valued this delicate herb has been.
The tang of wasabi, which is sometimes compared to horseradish, nicely blends with the flavors of lemon and soy in a sauce that accompanies this sesame-chicken dish.
Panko bread crumbs, black sesame seeds and white sesame seeds combine for the coating, which provides a nice color contrast and great eye appeal.
This is one of the dishes we enjoy preparing at the Westmoreland Club in Wilkes-Barre, and if you would like to try it at home, we’re happy to share the recipe.
SESAME CHICKEN WITH
4 chicken fillets, 6 ounces each, washed, dried and pounded thinly, then seasoned with salt and black pepper
Breading for chicken breasts (keep in separate pans)
1/4 cup flour with light salt and black pepper
3 eggs, whisked till smooth, with (optional) drop or two of sesame oil added
1/2 cup panko bread crumbs, 1/2 cup black sesame seeds and 1/2 cup white sesame seeds, blended together
Dash red pepper flakes (optional) to spice it up a bit
1 1/2 cups or more of vegetable oil to pan fry or deep fry
Dredge chicken fillets in flour. Shake off excess. Then place in egg wash. Coat well. Drain off excess egg, then place in sesame-seed blend, cover and press coating into the chicken. Lay flat on a sheet pan or large platter. Refrigerate immediately and leave uncovered. Chicken also can be frozen at this point to use another day (wrap tightly). If you do freeze, pan fry or deep fry from a frozen state for better cooking results
CREAMY LEMON SOY-WASABI SAUCE
1/4 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup lemon juice
8 tablespoons prepared horseradish
1 teaspoon wasabi powder and 1 teaspoon hot tap water, mix until smooth
1 1/2 teaspoon fresh grated ginger or 1/2 teaspoon of ground ginger
2 to 3 tablespoons honey
2 cups heavy mayonnaise
Place all ingredients in a medium bowl, whisk until smooth. Taste. Dressing should be creamy, tangy and sweet. Add more honey or wasabi as per your taste. Refrigerate immediately.
To pan-fry sesame chicken: In a large, dry skillet, place about a half inch of vegetable oil over medium heat. Heat oil until veins of oil form and wisps of steam come off surface of oil (300 -325 F). With heat-resistant tongs gently place sesame chicken fillets into hot oil, at least 1/4 inch apart from each other. Oil should be gently bubbling. If not, remove chicken and let oil get hotter.
Let pan-fry until golden brown (2-3 minutes), then gently turn over and brown other side (2-3 minutes). Remove chicken from oil and place onto a clean platter covered with paper towels to soak up any excess oil. Use a meat thermometer to check chicken internally. It should be at least 165 F degrees for 15 seconds. If chicken needs more time, I suggest baking it the rest of the way.
To deep fry: Heat oil to 300- 325 F degrees. Fry until golden brown, 5 to 7 minutes. use a meat thermometer to check chicken internally. It should be at least 165 degrees for 15 seconds. If chicken needs more time, again, I suggest baking it the rest of the way.