Tatooine Memories Chicken Salads
by Susu & Rosie
Menu: Tatooine Trader Chicken Salad | Naboo Celebration Chicken Salad | Coruscant Creamy Baked Chicken Salad and Kaminoan Variation
Obi-wan Kenobi's life had taken a twist for the worse at the end of the Clone Wars when the traitorous order to murder the Jedi was given. He escaped with his life, his lightsabre, his memories and not much else.
Exiled on Tatooine, the old Jedi Master made a living trading, foraging and scavenging; no one took notice, for that was the lot of nearly all the denizens of that Outer Rim planet. He befriended the Jawas and often traveled with them to get from settlement to settlement. And he made acquaintances with the humans and aliens who lived in Beggar's Canyon, where fruits rich in water could grow deep in the caves there. During harvest, Obi-wan would help elderly and needy sustenance farmers process their crops, picking them when ripe, then drying them for packing and sale, and saving the precious water that was trapped in the fruits and vegetables. In return, Obi-wan was given a share of the crop for his own use: to feed himself, and to trade for other items.
Though it was a hard life, training as a Jedi had prepared him for it; before being accepted by his master Qui-gon Jinn as a padawan, he had worked with the Agricultural Corps as a farm worker. Also, as a Jedi he did not possess anything, and lived by the grace and indulgence of the Republic and its citizens. Even so, his life had been rich, and it was memories of meals eaten and events past which sustained Obi-wan old before his time in his exile.
What else did Obi-wan do during those long years of waiting for Luke to train as a Jedi? Mostly, he studied and meditated. And came across a basic formula for a delicious nuna salad, based on his memories and analyses of dishes served long ago, in very different circumstances!
Tatooine Trader Chicken Salad
The "crazy old hermit" would always strike the best bargains, but curiously, no one could remember his name or exactly what he looked like after the deal was made. Obviously, Obi-wan was not above using Jedi mind-tricks to protect himself from those who might recognize him. But in compensation, he left a recipe for a delicious nuna salad (based on one he ate at a victory celebration on Naboo, many, many years before), made entirely from canned or bottled goods and the cave-harvested dried fruit and vegetables. The recipe itself was good enough to be used as a trade item, too!
Naboo Celebration Chicken Salad
Here's the original recipe which was served on Naboo to celebrate victory over the Neimodian threats. It was also served to celebrate Obi-wan's passage into the Jedi Order of Knights; he had directly fought a new threat, the only Jedi to have battled successfully over a Sith Lord in over a millennium. Alas, it also reminded Obi-wan of the death of his master, Qui-gon Jinn, at the blade of the same Sith Lord. A bittersweet dish, indeed.
If desired, you can use the sauce as is, but it's very elegant if puréed or blended smooth. This is safer and simpler to do when the sauce is cool or cold.
Whether chunky or smooth, when the sauce is at room temperatur, add the mayonnaise and cream and mix well.
Remove the chicken skin from the meat and remove all the bones. Cut the chicken pieces into 1-inch / 2½ cm sized cubes or chunks. Place in a bowl with the sauce, raisins or apricots, and nuts, and toss to coat. Cover and refrigerate till serving time. Serves 6 as a main course.
Makes a great buffet dish, served with cold long-grained rice. If you wish, you can lay down the rice on a platter, then arrange the chicken over that, then pour the sauce over the chicken, and sprinkle over with the nuts, and dried fruit. OR lay down lettuce cups (the cup-shaped leaves of iceberg lettuce, carefully removed from the head to retain its shape, and washed and dried) on a platter or on individual plates, and spoon rice on the bottom, and top with the chicken and sauce. Garnish either presentation with chopped parsly, if desired.
Coruscant Creamy Baked Chicken Salad
In the intervening years before the Clone Wars, Obi-wan had been invited to many important luncheons and suppers, and unlike other Jedi, he actually looked forward to attending these things. He would listen and watch carefully and glean a lot of information about people and aliens, and their politics and intrigues; and if the proceedings were really dull, he could instead try to figure out how a dish he was eating was made. It was in this way that he discovered that dishes containing nuna, fruit, and mayonnaise were universal just as some of the traits and concerns of many sentients (both good and bad) were also universal! Though this is not a "salad" in that it's usually served warm, he recognized its relationship to the Naboo recipe easily. And he thus was able to pick out the very basics of the recipe he used on Tatooine, many years later and far, far away from the glitter and glamor of the galaxy's capitol.
This can be served immediately with rice or noodles, or cooled to room temperature and served as the Naboo Celebration Chicken Salad. Serves 4 as a main course.
This dish can be used with leftover sliced deli turkey or chicken breast, too! To make it more interesting, roll the deli slices around some asparagus or broccoli spears, and lay those down in the baking dish, then follow the rest of the recipe as above. Obi-wan was served this variation on his first trip to Kamino as a meal, rather than a "salad," but he recognized that the sauce was identical.
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