I found this at an estate sale last year. I wasn’t quite sure what it was, so I called it an Alaskan herb chopper. That weekend I went on a Boy Scout training campout (I know, I know), and on the table of sharp and pointy things, I was surprised to see another Alaskan herb chopper:
The man in charge of the table of sharp and pointy things told me it was an ulu knife (ulu meaning “cheap souvenir” in Eskimo languages), and that the ULU factory is located in Anchorage, Alaska. Who knew?
According to the ULU factory website, the ulu knife is one of the most innovative tools that came from the Eskimo culture, and was the main cutting tool used by the Eskimos. It was originally made from flat, thin rocks or slate, and the handles were carved from wood, ivory, or bone (mine is made from resin). Eskimos used the ulu knife for everything including skinning seals, sewing mukluks, and eating blubber. Today, according to the website, it is still a versatile tool that is good for skinning fish and cutting meats, vegetables, cheese, and pizza.
On a recent visit to my Dad, guess what I found in his apartment? Yep, an Alaskan herb chopper:
At this point, I was starting to feel like one of those people in a horror film who discovers that everyone around her has the same tattoo or necklace or something like that except her, and that something REALLY BAD is about to happen. And now I want — make that need — to know who else has an Alaskan herb chopper?
Inspired by my versatile Eskimo tool, I decided to use it make a dish. No, I did not use it to skin fish or eat blubber, but I did use it to . . . chop herbs! Specifically, I used it to chop mint and cilantro for Thai-Style Chicken Salad. It worked pretty well, and although it’s sharp enough that I wouldn’t try to get past airport security carrying one in my purse, it will never replace my beloved santoku knife.
This is not your tea room chicken salad (although those are perfectly tasty, too). I’ve always made it using rotisserie chicken breasts — they really add to the flavor (and convenience). Serve it with crackers for an appetizer or light meal.
|THAI-STYLE CHICKEN SALAD|| || |
- ¼ cup fresh lime juice
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon chili powder
- ¼ cup chopped fresh cilantro
- ¼ cup chopped fresh mint
- Pinch of sugar
- 3 cups minced cooked chicken breast
- ⅓ cup finely chopped shallot
- ⅓ cup thinly sliced green onions, white and green parts
- 3 tablespoons mayonnaise
- In a medium bowl, whisk together lime juice, salt, chili powder, cilantro, mint, and sugar. Add the chicken, shallot, scallion, and mayonnaise, and mix until thoroughly combined.
The ULU knife reports for duty
Herbs annihilated by the ulu knife