Saturday, June 17, 2017

Cold Noodle Dinner In A Bowl

I used to subscribe to Bon Appetit magazine, but stopped recently because most of the recipes seemed to be ones I couldn't see myself making. That is why I was so surprised when I purchased their June issue in late May at the airport so I would have something to read on my flight home. Despite the fact that it was the Grilling Issue and Sweetie is the one who grills, I found quite a few recipes and ideas for things to make. I think that, with all the recipes so easily available on the internet, that cookbooks and cooking magazines provide inspiration more than anything.

One of the articles was on how to put together a variety of cold noodle salads. There was coconut-lime shrimp with rice noodles, garlicky chicken with udon noodles, Veg lover's soba with a miso-mustard dressing and spicy steak salad with ramen noodles, but they also explained how to mix and match.

Inspired by the article, I decided to make a salad similar to a Vietnamese bun salad, using grilled teriyaki chicken for the protein, rice stick noodles, carrot matchsticks and cucumber, peanuts, cilantro and a fish sauce-lime dressing. It made a wonderful dinner and is a great warm weather dish. I took the same salad on a picnic a few days ago and it was just as refreshing and surprisingly filling.

Rice Noodles With Salad and Chicken
serves 4-6
Inspired by Bon Appetit June 2017 issue

4 tablespoons lime juice
2 tablespoons fish sauce
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1/4 cup water
1/2 teaspoons toasted sesame oil
1 clove garlic, minced
1/4 teaspoon minced fresh ginger
hot pepper flakes or hot sauce, to taste

4 boneless, skinless chicken thighs
1/4 cup teriyaki sauce

4-6 cups thinly sliced iceberg lettuce
2 teaspoons minced cilantro
2 teaspoons minced fresh mint
1/2 cup shredded or matchstick carrots
1/2 cup thinly sliced cucumber, slices cut in half
2-3 tablespoons chopped peanuts

1 package fine rice stick noodles or vermicelli noodles
vegetable oil

In a jar with a tightly fitting lid, place all the sauce ingredients, then shake to combine. Let sit at least 30 minutes, then strain through a fine-mesh strainer. Discard the solids.

Place the chicken thighs in a glass pie dish or similar non-corrosive dish, or in a plastic ziplock bag. Pour the teriyaki sauce over the chicken and let marinate at least 30 minutes. Grill until just cooked through, about 5 minutes. Cut into bite sized pieces.

While chicken is marinating, combine the lettuce, cilantro, fresh mint, carrots and cucumbers in a large bowl. Set aside.

Cook the noodles in a large pot of boiling water until al dente', then drain in a collander and rinse with cold water. Put the noodles back in the pot and drizzle with a small amount of vegetable oil, then toss the noodles with your fingers to coat them with the oil. If too hot, use salad tongs for tossing.

To assemble the salad, place a portion of the rice noodles in the bottom of a large soup bowl. Add a generous helping of the salad mixture, top with the warm chicken and drizzle with the sauce. Sprinkle chopped peanuts on top. If desired, garnish with additional cilantro and mint.

If you like, you can skip mixing the lettuce, cilantro, mint, carrots and cucumbers and just put the carrots and cucumbers in little piles on top of the lettuce in the bowl, then scatter the cilantro and mint on top, along with the peanuts. Once it all gets stirred together in the bowl as you eat there is no difference in the eating experience.

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