Make Ahead

Cold-Turkey (or chicken) Pecel with Peanut-Lime Dressing

October 27, 2016
Photo by creamtea
Author Notes

With this recipe, you can wing it--pun intended. You can use a purchased rotisserie chicken or re-purpose what's left of a roast chicken or Thanksgiving turkey. The amount depends on how much cooked poultry you have: a little less, you can increase the other proteins, a little more, and you can decrease. You use any vegetables you like, some raw, some blanched. You can serve a crowd or you can serve a small family, as we do.
The basics derive from a recipe in Madhur Jaffrey's World of the East Vegetarian Cooking--a terrific book for vegetarians, vegans and omnivores alike-- with additional recommendations from an Indonesian friend. I added lime- juice and zest to the latter's recommendation of tamarind paste. This combination makes the dish sing! Substitute soft butter lettuce for the cabbage, steam cauliflower or broccolini in place of the pea pods, or try adding batons of jicama. For vegetarians, sauté diced tempeh in a spice paste of pureed fresh garlic and ginger, salt and a little hot pepper in a neutral oil. This makes a filling yet refreshing dinner salad. —creamtea

  • Prep time 15 minutes
  • Cook time 20 minutes
  • Serves 3-4; can be increased
  • For the Dressing
  • 4 tablespoons creamy unsalted natural peanut butter
  • 1/4 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
  • 2-3 medium cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 teaspoons brown sugar, packed
  • grated zest of 1 lime; juice of 1/2 lime
  • 1/4 teaspoon prepared, bottled harrissa, more or less according to taste
  • 2 teaspoons soy sauce
  • 2 teaspoons tamarind paste
  • 4-5 tablespoons hot water
  • For the salad
  • 4-5 cups shredded cabbage
  • 1 cup sugar-snap peas (about 151/, washed, tipped and tailed
  • 2 large Persian cucumbers (Kirby, English or regular peeled salad cucumber may be used)
  • 1 red bell pepper, cored, seeded and thinly sliced
  • 7-1/2 ounces tofu (1/2 standard block), diced
  • 4 small boiling potatoes
  • 3 scallions, thinly sliced
  • 1/4 cup roasted skinned peanuts, crushed or chopped
  • left over turkey or chicken, about 4 ounces of cooked, shredded meat per person, but this is flexible depending on your other ingredients
In This Recipe
  1. In a small food processor, combine the dressing ingredients (use 4 tablespoons hot water to start, then add more as needed); blend until smooth. Taste for seasoning, add a pinch of salt, blend again. Scrape into a small pitcher and set aside.
  2. Prepare a bowl of ice water.
  3. Set two pots of water on to boil, putting the eggs in one; add salt to the second one. Bring both to the boil. Place the cover over the pot containing the eggs, then remove it from heat and allow to stand 12 minutes. Drain and transfer eggs to the bowl of ice water. Allow to cool, then peel and slice. When water is boiling in the second pot, add potatoes, scrubbed (they can be skinned later); simmer until tender when pierced with a knife. Remove each potato to the bowl of ice water (don't discard the hot water-- keep it at a simmer). I use a long-handled Chinese mesh strainer to transfer the vegetables.
  4. Add the pea pods to the simmering water, time them about 30 seconds, and scoop out to the bowl of ice water with the mesh strainer.
  5. One by one, transfer the potatoes to a cutting board. Slice them with a knife (it helps to oil the blade with a paper towel and to cut with one stroke to avoid breakage). The peel will come off of each slice easily in a single strip.
  6. Remove the pea pods from the ice water and pat dry with a paper towel.
  7. Assemble the salad: In a large bowl or on a platter, arrange decoratively the cabbage, cucumber, pepper strips, tofu, pea pods, sliced egg, sliced potato and shredded turkey or chicken. Garnish with the sliced scallion and crushed peanuts. Set the pitcher of peanut sauce alongside for guests to help themselves. (You can also set smaller bowls of the scallion, peanut and egg slices alongside the main platter for a neat presentation).

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