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Japanese griddled chicken thighs with bean and radish salad

Diana Henry / 29 December 2015

Don't be put off by the beautiful symmetry of Japanese cooking. Japanese recipes can be deceptively simple to prepare, and this chicken salad is an easy and homely recipe that's ideal for two.

Japanese chicken salad
Diana Henry's Japanese chicken salad with edamame beans and radishes. Photograph by Laura Edwards, food styling by Joss Herd.

Preparation time

30 minutes

Cooking time

10 minutes




For the chicken

  • Skinless chicken thigh fillets
  • 2 tsp white sesame seeds

For the marinade

  • 35ml soy sauce
  • 1 1/2 tbs sake or dry sherry
  • 1 1/2 tbs soft dark brown sugar
  • 4cm piece of root ginger, peeled and grated
  • Good pinch dried chilli flakes

For the salad

  • 80g podded edamame beans (or use extra sugar snaps if you can't find them)
  • 75g sugar snaps
  • 8 radishes, finely sliced
  • 15g micro leaves (such as pea shoots, or use little sprigs of watercress if that’s all you can find)

The dressing

  • 2 tbsp mild miso paste (white miso is the best)
  • 1 tbsp rice vinegar
  • 2 tbs groundnut oil
  • 2 tbs water
  • 1 tsp honey
  • 2 cm cube root ginger, peeled and grated


Mix together all the ingredients for the marinade in a shallow dish. Put the chicken into it, turning to coat it well. Cover loosely with cling film and leave to marinate in the fridge for 30 minutes. Whisk together all the ingredients for the dressing, taste for seasoning and sweet-sour balance and set aside.

Cook the edamame beans in boiling water for 2 minutes then drain and run cold water through them. Slice the sugar snaps into strips along their length (this looks lovely – you can see the little peas inside peeking out). Put these in a broad shallow bowl along with the leaves.

Lift the chicken out of the marinade, shaking off the excess, and heat a griddle pan. Cook the chicken over a medium heat, turning it over frequently, until it is cooked through (this will take about 8 minutes altogether). Cut into strips.

Add the leaves to the salad and toss with the dressing. Either put the chicken on top or serve it alongside. Scatter the chicken with sesame seeds.

Cooking tips

You can get fresh podded edamame beans in supermarkets now, and also frozen ones. If you can’t find them just use more sugar snaps. No need to cook the sugar snaps, by the way, they are gorgeously crunchy and sweet in their raw state.

Japanese food is supposed to appeal to all the senses: how you decorate a dish is of the utmost importance. It’s a thrill to arrange tendrils of pea shoots and mizuna leaves, sprinkle on black sesame seeds and, if I can find them, tiny thread-like micro leaves called red amaranth, arrange slivers of pink pickled ginger and add daubs of green wasabi.


The opinions expressed are those of the author and are not held by Saga unless specifically stated. The material is for general information only and does not constitute investment, tax, legal, medical or other form of advice. You should not rely on this information to make (or refrain from making) any decisions. Always obtain independent, professional advice for your own particular situation.