Sesame Chicken Pasta Salad

This pasta salad has a really nice Asian flavor, and is really delicious hot, warm, or cold! Original recipe is from, but I’ve adjusted it to be more healthy (less chicken, more veggies, and less oil).

Japan Note: Bow-tie shaped pasta is not very easily found in my area (though I have found it at an import store). I have substituted rotini or ziti shapes with success. Though spaghetti is definitely the most common Western-style pasta here, I’m not sure how well it would work in this recipe.

1/4 cup sesame seeds
16oz (454g) bow-tie pasta
1/4 cup (60mL) vegetable oil
1/3 cup (80mL) soy sauce
1/3 cup (80mL) rice vinegar
1 tsp sesame oil
3 tbsp sugar
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/4 tsp ground black pepper
2 cups shredded, cooked chicken
1/3 cup chopped green onion
1-2 cups steamed veggies, cut into bite-size pieces (I like snow peas, broccoli, and carrots)


Spread sesame seeds in a dry pan and toast on low heat until fragrant. Be careful not to let them burn.

Cook pasta as directed on package and drain.

Whisk together oil, soy sauce, rice vinegar, sesame oil, sugar, ginger, and pepper together and pour over pasta. Mix in chicken, green onion, and veggies. Sprinkle with sesame seeds.

This pasta salad is good hot or at room temperature. If you can give it a little time to marinate, it’s even better, as the pasta soaks up more of the dressing.


Peanut Chicken

I invented this crispy peanut chicken recipe as a copy of a dish that my husband used to eat at a Chinese restaurant in the U.S. It’s definitely not the healthiest dish, but once in a while we really enjoy this for dinner.

Japan notes: Peanut butter is definitely available in Japan, in small, expensive jars. American brands are sold at import stores and some grocery stores. I have never tried the Japanese product called “peanut cream,” so I don’t know how that compares. We usually get our peanut butter from loving family members who send it from the U.S.


2 chicken breasts
1/2 tbsp grated ginger
1/2 tbsp sake or rice wine
salt and pepper
1/4 cup cornstarch
1/4 cup peanut butter (we prefer chunky)
2 tbsp sugar
1 tbsp vegetable oil
extra vegetable oil for frying
1 tbsp sesame oil

Squeeze the juice from the grated ginger into a bowl. Add sake and mix. Cut the chicken breasts into strips. Add the chicken to the bowl, add a sprinkle each of salt and pepper, and stir to coat. Let the chicken marinate for at least 20 minutes.

Remove the chicken from the marinade and shake off any excess liquid. Coat the chicken in cornstarch. I find the easiest way is to put the chicken pieces and cornstarch in a bowl, cover with a lid, and shake it to coat them evenly.

Heat about 2″ vegetable oil on the stove and add sesame oil for flavor. Once the oil is hot, fry the chicken a few pieces at a time until golden brown. Drain on paper towels to remove extra oil.

Make the peanut sauce by heating the peanut butter in a saucepan over low heat until it softens. Add the sugar and vegetable oil and cook, stirring constantly, until the sugar melts.

To serve, I like to put the chicken on the plate and drizzle peanut sauce over. This keeps the chicken crispy. I usually serve this with rice and some green veggies. The peanut sauce is good over the vegetable as well!

Chai Tea

I love chai tea, and often make it at home. If you mix a larger batch of the spices in advance, it cuts down on the time to make the drink.

Makes 1 large mug of tea.

1 cup (240mL) cold water
1/4 tsp chai spice mix (see recipe below)
1/4 star anise
1 tsp grated fresh ginger
1 bag black tea
1 cup (240mL) milk
1 tbsp sugar or honey


Put water, chai spice mix, star anise, and ginger into a small saucepan and bring to a low boil over medium heat.

When the water is bubbling, add the teabags and milk. Return to a simmer, and allow to simmer uncovered for 8-10 minutes.

Strain through a fine mesh strainer and add sugar or honey. Enjoy!

Recipe for chai spice mix
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
2 tsp ground nutmeg
2 tsp ground cloves
2 tsp ground cardamom
4 tsp ground cinnamon

This makes about 1/4 cup spice mix, or about 45-50 servings.