What I ended up with
Once the chicken was cold smoked, I removed it from the smoker, and placed it back into the refrigerator for 4 hours to let the smoke settle. I also smoked the skin and bones, which was simmered to create a stock, along with celery, red pepper and onion trimmings.
2/3 pound skinless chicken breast, cold smoked
1 teaspoon each grated ginger
1 teaspoon finely minced Mitsuba
2 tablespoons Panko bread crumbs
1/2 teaspoon lemon rind
1 teaspoon sake
1/8 teaspoon cornstarch
1/8 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon lemon juice
Cube chicken into 1/2" chunks and combine with all ingredients except for bread crumbs. Process in pulses in food processor until chicken forms a medium textured paste, add bread crumbs and combine. Form into balls about 1" to 1-1/4" in diameter and chill to harden. Note that the mixture ios very soft and will slump if not very cold. Once chilled, coat with egg wash and panko, let sit in refrigerator until cold, while heating oil. Fry at 275°F until golden brown. Much hotter and the center will not cook, and this is chicken, it needs to cook.
These are nothing more than salt, sugar and cayenne pepper powder tossed with cucumbers, and then allowed to sit in refrigerator overnight. The cucumbers remain crispy, but, take on a sublte sweet-hot flavor along with the cucumber flavor.
Peeled 6 grape tomatoes, then prepare a vinegar and sugar mixture that consisted of:
1/4 cup rice wine vinegar
1 teaspoon sugar syrup
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1 teaspoon shoyu (Japanese soy sauce)
Soak peeled tomatoes in the vinegar solution overnight. The tomatoes will have a sweet and sour flavor and have a fresh tomato texture. Obviously the fresher the tomato, the better, but, the harder to peel. It's worth it, I actually did 12 of them, so I have a few extra.
Now, if there was one element of this cook that was going to be problematic, it was the peanut butter, and surely, not a typical ingredient, Thai would have been so much easier. In any event...
Peanut Miso Sauce:
1 cup chicken stock
2 tablespoons peanut butter, smooth
1 tablespoon shiro miso
1/2 teaspoon sugar syrup or honey
1/2 teaspoon Togarashi oil
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/4 teaspoon sudachi juice
sake, not sure how much, a healthy splash
Heat it all over low heat until it starts to combine, raise heat to medium and whisk until smooth and slightly thickened. Remove and use quickly. It will thicken on cooling. You will want to adjust sweetness and heat to reflect the peanut butter and miso flavors.
Pirikara, tomatoes and peanut-miso sauce
And the texture was excellent, I think just the touch of baking powder and lemon juice aided that texture greatly. The cornstarch improves the texture of the chicken as well.
Fluffy Chicken Balls
These totally worked out as a riff on the traditional and the smoke, citrus and even the peanut butter worked well together. The cayenne which would have seemed likely to over-power the other elements worked to create a subtle and somewhat random piquant quality to the dish.