Our weather has been hot for a few days now. Yuck. I don’t do well when I’m too warm and the last thing I want to do after work is get even hotter cooking dinner.
Main dish salads are perfect for this kind of weather and this salad from Smitten Kitchen is a delicious combination of cool, crisp vegetables, a bright, tangy lime marinade, juicy grilled chicken thighs, skinny noodles, creamy ginger-peanut sauce and a scattering of herbs and crunchy chopped peanuts on top. It is colorful, flexible and loaded with flavor.
I went with a wider selection of veggies than in the original recipe. This salad is my little salute to Pride with a rainbow of vegetables.
The Smitten Kitchen recipe calls for rice noodles and the first time I made it, I used them.
I didn’t find them at Safeway yesterday and I think I like it even better made with Angel Hair pasta.
I cooked the pasta this morning while it was still cool and I was fixing my breakfast and lunch. I lucked out when Rem said he would take care of the other cooking part: grilling the chicken. He prepared the two sauces (the marinade is made from part of each) and got the chicken soaking up the flavor when I was at work. Then it was a matter of him cooking the chicken while I chopped vegetables for a cool, delicious dinner.
As I mentioned before, it is a flexible recipe. I think the vegetables in the original recipe are a wonderful combination: carrots, cucumbers and green onions, but my additions of bell peppers, mung beans and cabbage worked beautifully. Use what you like and have. Little sticks of jicima would be good, for example, or some blanched green beans. I added fresh corn kernels, cut off the cob, to my lunch salad today and it was delicious.
My biggest changes to the original recipe were a reduction in the Asian fish sauce, omitting the fresh chiles, and increasing the vegetables.
Cold Noodle Salad with Peanut-Lime Chicken
Adapted from Smitten Kitchen
Sweet and Tangy Sauce
3 tablespoons Asian fish sauce
5 tablespoons brown sugar
juice of three limes
1 clove of garlic, finely minced
Creamy Peanut Sauce
1 tablespoons Asian fish sauce
3 tablespoons rice vinegar
juice of two limes
3 tablespoons soy sauce
1 one-and-a-half inch chunk ginger, peeled and grated or minced (or thinly sliced if you make the sauce in a blender or small food processor)
6 tablespoons natural unsalted peanut butter
1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil
1 tablespoon water
Pinch of cayenne
Chicken and Noodle Salad
1 1/4 pounds boneless skinless chicken thighs (about 6)
8 ounces dried rice vermicelli or Angel Hair pasta
2 small cucumbers, cut in half the long way than into 1/4 inch slices
2 medium carrots, cut in thin julienne
1/2 small red bell pepper, chopped
1/2 small yellow bell pepper, chopped
1 cup shredded red cabbage
1 cup bean sprouts
A handful of basil or mint or cilantro sprigs. I love it with all three, but you can use your favorite.
4 green onions, thinly sliced
1/4 cup crushed or chopped roasted peanuts
Make the dipping sauce: Whisk ingredients in a small bowl, making sure to dissolve the sugar.
Make the peanut dressing: Combine ingredients in a jar with a lid and shake until blended. Or, you can use a blender or small food processor, leave the peeled ginger in thin slices, and puree all ingredients to a smooth sauce.
Marinate the chicken: Stir together 1/2 the Sweet Tangy Sauce and about 1/3 the Cream Peanut Sauce in the bottom of a low-sided bowl or dish. Add the chicken to the mixture and toss to coat. Let marinate at least 15 minutes.
Cook the noodles: For rice noodles: bring a large pot of water to the boil, then turn off the heat. Add the rice vermicelli and soak for 7 to 8 minutes. (Package directions may vary; taste to check if noodles are done). Drain when noodles are al dente, and cool under running water. Fluff and leave in strainer to drain well. For Angel Hair pasta: Cook according to package directions (about 5 to 7 minutes) and drain when al dente. Cool under running water.
Cook the chicken: Grill the chicken on an outdoor grill, a stove-top grill pan, until nicely browned, about 3 to 4 minutes a side. Or broil about the same time. I’ve made this twice and the first time I chopped up the chicken prior to serving. Last night it looked so tasty with the grill marks, I left it whole to serve and just cut it up on the plate
To serve: Arrange the noodles and vegetables in a bowl or on a platter, put the chicken on a serving plate, and the green onions, herbs and chopped peanuts in small bowls. Each person can assemble the salad to their taste: first a nest of noodles than top with veggies and a splash of the Sweet Tangy Sauce. Top with chopped chicken and drizzle on the Creamy Peanut sauce. Scatter with green onions, herbs, and chopped peanuts.
(Or, if you are Rem, skip the noodles and vegetables entirely and make the grilled chicken into a sandwich with Creamy Peanut sauce).
Thanks for the visit.