Sweet-and-Sour Cucumber Slices

1 medium cucumber
1/4 cup thinly sliced red onion
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt

Coconut Curry Chicken Marinade (and Noodle Sauce)

1 1/2 cups coconut milk
1 tablespoon yellow curry powder
1 tablespoon fish sauce
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1 lb. chicken tenderloins (about 10 strips)

Peanut Sauce

2 tablespoons rice vinegar
1/3 cup crunchy peanut butter
1/3 cup water
1/4 cup dark brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1/4 teaspoon sesame oil
1 tablespoon lime juice

Sweet Red Chili Sauce

2 tablespoons soy sauce
4 teaspoons chili garlic sauce (sambal)
1/3 cup dark brown sugar
2 tablespoons hot water
1 tablespoon minced ginger
1 clove garlic, quartered
1 teaspoon lime juice
1 teaspoon rice vinegar
1/2 teaspoon sesame oil
1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon white sesame seeds

Tamarind-Cashew Sauce

1/2 cup coarsely chopped cilantro
2 green onions, chopped
2 tablespoons chopped cashews
1 clove garlic
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon yellow curry powder
1/2 cup honey
4 teaspoons rice vinegar
2 tablespoons water
1 tablespoon granulated sugar
1 teaspoon tamarind paste
1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar


1 teaspoon sesame seeds (see Tidbits)
1 tablespoon chopped peanuts
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
3 ounces Japanese style noodles (somen—see Tidbits)
1/2 head red cabbage
1 cup bean sprouts
1 cup julienned carrots
1 head butterhead (bibb) lettuce
1/3 cup coarsely chopped cilantro


1. Use a peeler and remove just a few strips of the peel from a medium-size cucumber. You want about half of the peel to stay on there. Now slice the cuke in half-lengthwise, then use a teaspoon to scoop out the seeds. Slice the two halves of the cucumber into very thin slices using a mandoline or other thin-slicing device. Make thin slices of the red onion as well, and measure 1/4 cup of onion slices. In a medium bowl, combine 2 tablespoons granulated sugar with 2 tablespoon rice vinegar and 1/4 teaspoon salt. Stir until sugar is dissolved, then add sliced cucumber and sliced red onion to bowl and stir. Cover and chill for 4 to 6 hours. Stir every couple hours.

2. Make the coconut curry chicken marinade by combining coconut milk, yellow curry powder, fish sauce and coriander. Reserve 1/4 cup of this sauce for the noodles, and pour the rest over the chicken tenders in a resealable plastic bag or covered container. Seal up the bag or container and park the chicken in your refrigerator for at least 2 hours.

3. Make the peanut sauce by combining all ingredients, except the lime juice in a small saucepan over medium heat. Stir often as the mixture comes to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for 3 minutes. Let the mixture cool for a bit, then add lime juice and pour the mixture into blender. Blend on medium speed for 20 seconds. Make sure to hold the lid on the blender with a dish towel so that the top doesn’t pop off as the hot liquid is blended. Pour this sauce into a covered container and let it chill out in the fridge.

4. Make the sweet red chili sauce by dissolving brown sugar in warm water and soy sauce. Pour this solution, plus remaining ingredients, excluding sesame seeds, into a food processor (or blender), and blend on high speed until the ginger is pureed. Stir in the sesame seeds, cover and chill.

5. Make tamarind-cashew sauce by combining cilantro, green onions, cashews, garlic, cumin, black pepper and curry powder in a food processor and blend until fine. Combine honey, water, rice vinegar, sugar, tamarind paste, and balsamic vinegar in a small mixing bowl. Heat the mixture in the microwave oven for 30 to 60 seconds, or until hot, then stir to dissolve the sugar and honey. Pour this into the food processor and mix for 5 seconds, then pour the mixture back into the bowl and stir in the oil. Cover and chill.

6. Cook the noodles following the directions on the package (cook for 3 to 5 minutes in boiling water, strain, and rinse with cold water). Coarsely chop the noodles so that they’ll be easier to handle when building the wraps, then mix the noodles with 1/4 cup of the leftover coconut curry sauce and let them chill out in the fridge until go-time.

7. When you’re ready to assemble the dish, preheat your grill to high heat, and grill the chicken tenders for 3 to 4 minutes per side, or until done. Just before the chicken is done, brush each piece with some reserved peanut sauce.

8. All of the components for the wraps will be presented on one plate, so you’ll need a large platter. Spoon some of the remaining peanut sauce, sweet red chili sauce, and tamarind-cashew sauce into small dishes and arrange them in the center of the platter.

9. Make four “bowls” by slicing half a head of red cabbage in half. Peel off four outside leaves from the cabbage (the part without the stem) to use as bowls for the lettuce wrap components.

10. Use your hands to load the noodles into one cabbage “bowl,” the bean sprouts into another, the carrots into the third one, and sliced cucumber into the last one. Arrange these ingredients around the sauces, on the left and right sides of the platter.

11. Peel the leaves off of the butterhead lettuce and fan them out at the top of the plate, above the sauces. Place one butterhead leaf at the bottom of the plate, below the sauces, and stack the chicken satay strips on top of this leaf.

12. Pile chopped cilantro between the chicken and the sauces.

13. Sprinkle sesame seeds over the cucumber and noodles, sprinkle chopped peanuts over the chicken, and serve.

Serves 4 as an appetizer.

Tidbits: You can find these thin white noodles where Asian foods are stocked in your market. If you can’t find somen noodles, you can also use the slightly thicker chow mein noodles. Just be sure to chop the noodles up a bit after they are cooked so that you aren’t wrangling long strands when building the wraps.

The restaurant chain uses a blend of black and white sesame seeds. Black sesame seeds, or a blend of the two, can be hard to find. So, if you can’t track down the stronger-tasting black sesame seeds, white seeds on their own work just fine here.

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