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Sesame noodles with chicken and vegetables an all-time favourite

  • Noodles
The thing with cholent is that it’s just so heavy! No matter how it’s made, it always seems to put me straight to sleep. It’s even worse in the summer: the heat in the air combined with the heaviness and hot temperature of the traditional Shabbat dish always have me yearning for something lighter, fresher and - dare I say it - newer.
by CHAYA RAPPOPORT | Jun 22, 2016

PHOTOGRAPH: CHAYA RAPPOPORT

That’s where this sesame noodle salad comes in. As wonderful as it is warm, it’s equally good cold and is easily made ahead; it’s the perfect answer to the what’s-for-lunch problem.

In this salad, noodles tangle together under a sweet, nutty sauce and combine with shredded grilled chicken for protein and heft. A mix of colourful vegetables add bright flavour and crunch - the result is a summery, refreshing dish that will have everyone wanting seconds.

If you love peanut buttery sesame noodles, you’ll love this. They have that sweet/salty thing going on, they work well with just about any vegetable you’ve got languishing in the fridge and you can even make them vegan by substituting tofu for the chicken and maple syrup for the honey.

In my house we love these noodles very much; we’ve made them for weekday lunches as well. They keep for a couple of days in the fridge and, speaking from personal experience, a poached egg is not remiss here.

Regardless of how you serve the noodles, they are always delicious in any setting. Kids love them too and they’re my go-to for summer Shabbat lunches.

 

Note:

All the components of this recipe can be made ahead and remain fresh in the fridge for a few days, which allows for easy assembling the day you want to serve. The chicken (which is good on its own, too) is flavourful and shreds easily, the vegetables are tender yet crunchy and the sauce is sweet with honey, nutty with sesame oil and punchy from the addition of a little vinegar.

Cold sesame noodles with chicken and vegetables

Yield: Serves 6 to 8

Ingredients

For the chicken:

3 tablespoons rice vinegar
3 tablespoons soy sauce
1/4 cup toasted sesame oil
2 tablespoons maple syrup
2 cloves garlic, minced
4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts

For the salad:

1/2 small purple cabbage, sliced thin
1 large carrot, peeled clean, then cut with a julienne peeler
1 large red pepper, seeded and thinly sliced into matchsticks
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 pound (about half a kilogram) spaghetti, cooked
2 scallions, sliced, for serving
2 tablespoons toasted sesame seeds, for serving

For the dressing:

3 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
1 teaspoon freshly grated ginger
1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
2 tablespoons honey
3 tablespoons toasted sesame oil
5 tablespoons rice vinegar
2 tablespoons soy sauce

 

Variations: 

Substitute soba or udon noodles for the spaghetti. Add a few thinly sliced radishes to the vegetable mixture. Use 1 pound (about half a kilogram) of drained, dried and fried-until-crispy extra firm tofu in place of the chicken and use maple syrup instead of honey (in the dressing) to make this vegan.

Directions

 

Start by making the chicken:

In a medium bowl, whisk together the wet ingredients and the garlic. Season with salt and pepper, to taste. Reserve 1/4 cup of the marinade and set aside.

In a gallon-sized bag (about 4,5 litres), marinate the chicken in the marinade for 1 hour. Drain the chicken from the marinade.

Preheat grill or grill pan to medium high heat. Add chicken to grill and cook, flipping once and basting (coat the chicken with the reserved 1/4 cup marinade while it's cooking) until cooked through, about 5-6 minutes on each side.

Set chicken aside until cool enough to handle. Shred into small pieces and set aside.

Prepare the vegetables.

Heat the oil in the pan and toss in the carrot, cabbage and pepper. Cook for 6 minutes, stirring constantly, until the vegetables are soft and tender yet still crunchy. Remove from heat.

Prepare the dressing:

Combine all the ingredients in a small saucepan and bring to a low boil. Lower the heat to medium and simmer for 4-5 minutes, until well combined and slightly thickened.

In a big bowl or large pot, combine the cooked noodles, the shredded chicken, the vegetables and the sauce. Toss with one of the sliced scallions and half of the sesame seeds until well combined.

Serve warm or cold, topped with another sprinkling of sesame seeds and scallions. – (The Nosher via JTA)

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