I’m going going to lie to you: this noodle salad has a few steps and a fairly long ingredient list. But, besides the fact that it’s totally worth it, this is also really three recipes in one. The peanut-lime dressing is one of my favorites, and is excellent over any salad. I like to toss it with shredded cabbage to bring to potlucks. If you’re vegetarian, vegan, or just short on time you can skip the chicken all together and serve the noodle salad as is, or with some cubed tofu mixed in.Alternately, you can skip the noodles all together and serve the poached chicken with anything – this is an easy, healthy, flavorful way of preparing chicken. You can also turn the poaching liquid into a broth – I did, and had a meal of if the next day. For a one pot meal, you can serve it with the chicken. Easy peasy. I love how many meals you can get out of this one recipe!
But before you go playing around too much, I really do recommend all the components together. It’s a light yet filling meal that’s packed with flavor. Since it’s a noodle salad, it can be served at any temperature so can be made ahead. It’s a great side or main dish, and the rice noodles make it gluten free.
- 2 tablespoons soy sauce
- 1 inch piece ginger, peeled and roughly chopped
- 6 cloves garlic, smashed
- ½ cup chopped cilantro leaves and stems
- 2 stalks lemongrass, bruised or 8 lemongrass leaves, roughly chopped
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 3-4 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves (about 1 pound)
- ¼ cup freshly squeezed lime juice (from 2 limes)
- 2 tablespoons rice vinegar
- 1 tablespoon fish sauce
- 1 tablespoon brown sugar
- ¼ cup peanut butter
- 6 ounces (170 g) thin rice noodles
- 2 carrots, coarsely shredded
- ⅓ cup chopped cilantro
- ¼ cup chopped mint
- ¼ cup sliced scallions
- ¼ cup chopped peanuts
- Fill a large, deep pan with water and add the soy sauce, ginger, garlic, cilantro, lemongrass, salt and pepper and bring to a rolling simmer over medium heat.
- Add the chicken breasts and bring the liquid back to a boil. Cook for a few minutes, then remove from the heat, cover, and let stand for about 15 minutes, until the chicken is cooked through.
- Remove the chicken from the poaching liquid with a slotted spoon and set aside. Let cool and then shred with two forks. (Don’t throw that liquid out! You’ve now got a beautiful broth – cover and bring to a rolling boil for at least 5 minutes (just in case) then strain and serve. Add chicken or any veggies you like.)
- Put all ingredients in a blender or food processor and mix until fully combined and smooth. Set aside (can be made a few days in advance and stored in the refrigerator).
- Meanwhile, put the rice noodles in a large heatproof bowl and pour boiling water over to cover. Allow to soak for 10 minutes, until the noodles are tender. Drain and rinse with cold water. Return to the bowl.
- Add the carrots, cilantro, mint, scallions, peanuts, shredded chicken, and half the peanut-lime vinaigrette and toss (alternately, substitute 4 cups shredded rotisserie chicken or sliced tofu, raw or cooked). Taste and add more vinaigrette as needed.
Kosher meat if you omit the fish sauce
Parve, Vegan and Vegetarian if you omit the chicken and fish sauce