Asian pumpkin and crispy chicken salad

Here's an unusual idea which combines with taste and originality two simple ingredients which often represent the highest authenticity of Italian gastronomy: chicken and squash, a really perfect pairing. Chicken, in general, never fails as a family meal: maybe because it’s white meat, healthy and economical, which always keeps children and adults happy, and which you can re-interpret in many different ways, especially when it is adapted with imagination by those who know what they’re doing! By combining it with pumpkin, indeed, this popular meat gets a really great twist: the pumpkin, an undisputed symbol of autumn and the arrival of Halloween, brings gaiety to your dining table, ideal for a nice dinner party with friends. You just have to take note of the various pieces of advice in this recipe, and do your best in the kitchen: there is no greater satisfaction than the appreciation of your guests for something that you’ve made for them!

Ingredients

  • chicken 2 chicken thighs
  • mint A bunch of fresh mint
  • coriander A teaspoon of coriander seeds
  • chilli Three fresh chillies
  • cinnamon Half a teaspoon of cinnamon
  • salt
  • pepper
  • squash A ripe pumpkin
  • lime A lime
  • extra virgin olive oil
  • soy sauce
  • brown sugar A teaspoon of brown sugar
  • parsley A small bunch of parsley
Information
120 minutes Total time
45 minutes Active time
Serves 2 persons
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Preparation

Grind the chillies and coriander seeds in a mortar, then add the ground cinnamon and a good pinch of salt and pepper. Remove the seeds from the pumpkin and set aside. Cut the pumpkin into wedges, place them in a baking dish and cover them with oil. Sprinkle with the ground spices, mix well, then arrange the slices in a single layer and bake for 40 minutes at 180°C. Wash the pumpkin seeds, eliminating the fibre residues. Season with salt and pepper, add some olive oil and toast them in a pan until they are lovely and crisp. For the sauce, pour the zest and juice of a lime into a bowl and add the same amount of oil and soy sauce. Stir the sugar into the mixture, along with the chilies and chopped parsley. Score the skin of the chicken with a knife. Add salt to the chicken pieces and brown them over a high heat on both sides until crispy. Then cut the chicken into slices. Whilst the chicken and pumpkin are still warm, mix them with the parsley leaves and half the mint. Pour the sauce over the top and mix well. Serve sprinkled with fresh coriander and mint.

Tips
To clean the pumpkin properly, you should first cut it in half, then quarter it: at this point, you should clean it with a spoon, carefully lifting out the filaments, so that you can then finally cut it into cubes.
Trivia
There is an Italian phrase ‘avere sale in zucca’, meaning to have common sense or gumption – literally, to have ‘salt in the pumpkin’. This comes from the fact that pumpkins are products made up principally of water, with the result that it is difficult to find salt there - thus it’s sensible to add some.

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