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Szechuan Chicken & Red Rice Salad with Sesame Dressing

By Robin Asbell from her book The New Whole Grains Cookbook, Chronicle Books

1 ¾ to 2 cups water
1 tablespoon dark sesame oil
8 ounces boneless, skinless chicken breast halves cooked & shredded
1 cup red rice, washed and rinsed
1 tablespoon sugar
3 tablespoons Tahini
1 tablespoon minced ginger
2 cups bean sprouts
¼ cup soy sauce
2 teaspoons minced garlic
1 medium cucumber, peeled, seeded & sliced
1 tablespoon rice vinegar
½ teaspoon salt 4 scallions, slivered
1 tablespoon hot sesame oil
½ teaspoon crushed Szechuan peppercorns (optional)
¼ cup chopped peanuts (can use cashews)

In a 1-quart saucepan with a tight-fitting lid, bring the water to a boil, and add the washed rice. Return to a boil, then reduce the heat to a low simmer. Cover tightly, and cook for 25 minutes, or until the water is all absorbed. Take the pan off the heat and let stand for 10 minutes. Let the rice cool to room temperature.

In a measuring cup or small bowl, whisk the Tahini, soy sauce, rice vinegar, sesame oils, sugar, ginger, garlic, salt and crushed Szechuan pepper (if using). Put the shredded chicken in a small bowl and measure 2 tablespoons of the sesame mixture over it. Toss to mix. Stir the remaining sesame mixture into the chilled rice.

On a platter, spread the rice then top with the chicken, sprouts, and cucumber slices. Scatter the scallions and peanuts over it all and serve.