Thursday, March 19, 2009

Shredded Salad with Chicken and Peanut Sauce over Rice Noodles

Back to the files I went, and there are so, so many things in those files. I was in spring cleaning mode, and I managed to sort through two bulging folders of recipes before it was time to do something else. It’s kind of fun to look back and see what pages I cut out of magazines years ago. Some recipes are things I’ve tried since then from other sources and no longer require the pages I saved. With other recipes, I can’t believe they’ve been hidden away for so long and I still haven’t tried them. Such was the case with this salad. My best guess is that it came from a summer issue of Living in 2002. I just searched that site and couldn’t find the recipe, so I’ll include my version at the end of this post.

On a side note, I finally made a trip to MT Supermarket to shop for noodles and whatever else caught my eye. I have to say I was overwhelmed by the number of choices of everything. There are countless varieties of rice, soy sauces, fish sauces, vinegars, and on and on. I literally could not decide which noodles to buy and came home with so many my pantry is overflowing. For anyone in Austin who hasn’t gone there yet, I highly recommend it.

But, back to the salad. There is a lot of chopping and shredding and poaching and cooking, so allow plenty of time to complete it. Or, make the peanut sauce or do some chopping in advance. Every layer of this dish is full of flavor beginning with the chicken. Chicken breasts were poached with ginger, garlic, cilantro stems, and sesame oil. The vegetable mixture included cabbage, carrots, serrano chiles, green onions, mint, and cilantro leaves. And then, the peanut sauce is a powerhouse of flavor accenting everything else. This is exactly the kind of dish in which you can add more of a favorite item, leave out one you don’t like, and still have a very interesting combination. The chicken was tender and delicious, but as I was cooking it, I was thinking about how tofu would be just as good and much quicker. I used green cabbage, but savoy or napa would have been great. I shredded it very thinly on a Benriner, but thicker pieces would have added nice texture. I think I say this of every recipe, but next time, I’ll add more chiles. It’s not just me. Kurt always requests more chile flavor and heat as well. So, change this or add that, and you’ll still have a fantastic salad.

To poach the chicken:
1 three-inch piece of ginger, thinly sliced
4 garlic cloves, peeled, smashed and cut in half
10 cilantro stems
2 T toasted sesame oil
1/2 t salt
2 large, bone-in, skin-on chicken breasts

-in a large saute pan, add ginger, garlic, cilantro, sesame oil, and salt and enough water to reach halfway up the side of the pan; bring to a boil over high heat; add the chicken, reduce heat to medium, and cover; simmer until chicken is cooked through; remove from heat and let stand until cool enough to handle
-transfer chicken to a cutting board; remove skin and cut meat from bone, cut meat into small strips or shred with your fingers

Prep vegetables and herbs:
1/2 head green cabbage (or savoy or napa), cored and thinly sliced
6 carrots, peeled and thinly sliced or julienned on slicer
3 serrano chiles, seeded and thinly sliced into long strips
1 bunch green onions, thinly sliced white and green parts
1/2 c fresh mint leaves, chopped
1/2 c fresh cilantro leaves, chopped

-place all sliced and chopped vegetables and herbs in a large mixing bowl

Peanut Sauce:
1 five-inch piece of ginger, peeled and grated
2 shallots, peeled and minced
1/4 c fish sauce
1/2 c soy sauce
3/4 c freshly squeezed lime juice
1 c smooth, natural peanut butter
1/4 c toasted sesame oil
2 T water if needed

-in a large measuring pitcher, combine ginger, shallots, fish sauce, soy sauce, and lime juice; whisk in peanut butter; whisk in sesame oil; if sauce is too thick, whisk in water starting with one tablespoon and adding more as needed

To finish salad:
1 pound rice vermicelli noodles
1/2 c roasted, unsalted peanuts for serving

-bring a large pot of water to a boil; cook noodles according to package instructions or until al dente; transfer to a colander to drain; rinse under cold water, drain, and place on a serving platter
-add prepared chicken to bowl of vegetables and herbs and toss to combine; pour half of the peanut sauce over this mixture and toss to coat; taste and add more peanut sauce as desired
-to serve, top noodles with chicken salad mixture, drizzle with some remaining peanut sauce, sprinkle with peanuts, and garnish with any extra herbs or green onions


  1. Oh, this looks GREAT (and I'm with Kurt!)
    On another note - I'm still looking for that couscous around here....just the tiny stuff so far.

  2. Yum yum yum,Lisa!! I love those flavour combinations a lot! Another great recipe to try!!
    I also love going to my local Asian - Indian food store!!

  3. cilantro and sesame oil are two of my favorite things to put together. sounds delicious! i have so many recipes i've torn out of books, too - they're just all unorganized in drawers and books. it's sad - but it gives me a good surprise whenever i find one :)

  4. Lisa, I make a similar Asian chicken salad, but don't poach the chicken this way.
    I am bookmarking this recipe and going to make it for an upcoming party!
    PS what kind of fish sauce do you like? mine smells funny, is that normal? I don't do much Asian cooking. Thanks.

  5. Perfect combination of all these flavors! Never tried it vermicelli in this way. Thank you for sharing.

  6. This looks great, I never think to cook with rice noodles. I'll have to pick some up soon.

  7. This looks sooooo good! I love your peanut sauce and all those amazing flavors you have going on, yummmm!!

  8. The salad sounds wonderful! Love the peanut sauce and the rice noodles. Yum!

  9. Creamy peanut sauce over noodles -- I'd take seconds...and thirds!

  10. Hi Lisa, your rice noodle looks so yummy, I am definitely going to make one soon! The peanut sauce makes me drooling! It's a great spin off from the traditional chinese rice noodle cooking!

  11. Lisa this looks so yummy I can't wait to try sounds great.

  12. Wow , Lisa , your noodles looks absolutely delicious. I believe the peanut sauce give it a special and yummy touch

  13. I love rice noodles, and that peanut sauce looks so creamy and delicious. Thanks for sharing!

  14. The combination of this salad resembles a Chinese dish to me. It looks so tasty and healthy to me. Must try it out soon.

  15. Looks beautiful and yummy, and pretty healthy too - can't beat that combination!

  16. oooh, mint! that's an unexpected and therefore very exciting ingredient to me! great, great concoction.

  17. I really like using peanut butter in savoury dishes like this. It looks great!

  18. This sounds like the perfect balance between filling and light. Using a mandoline to shred the cabbage is a great idea, I'll have to try it the next time I need a lot of shredded cabbage.

  19. What inspiration Lisa, I love how colorful and gorgeous the peanut noodle dish looks. It sounds quite labor intensive, but well worth it!

  20. This looks so good. Even without the noodles, it could work out perfectly fine as a salad!


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