I want to eat this salad again. This Spicy Asian Chicken Noodle Salad was really good and the peanut sauce was so easy to make, I can think of a many uses for the peanut sauce alone. I don't really know what it was that sparked my appetite one day. All I could think about was a spicy asian dish - I didn't know what it would look like, but I knew what it would taste like - so I went on an Internet search for the flavors I had imagined. Luckily I found this recipe on Epicurious.com and decided I needed to give it a try.
I had most of the ingredients in the pantry: soy sauce, chicken broth, garlic-chile sauce, peanut butter, rice vinegar, cilantro, ginger, chicken and brown sugar. I had to make a stop at the store for the green onion, red bell pepper and noodles.
To make this UNIVERSAL dressing, start with 1/3 cup creamy peanut butter. The recipe specifically says do not use old-fashioned style or freshly ground - but I'm not sure exactly why. It just says so... I scooped this into my cuisinart blender.
Next you need to measure and add 1/4 cup soy sauce to the cuisinart.
Then measure and add 2 tablespoons unseasoned rice vinegar. "Unseasoned?" I haven't come across "seasoned" so I assumed this 100% natural rice vinegar was fine to use.
This is where you get to dictate how spicy the sauce will be. I used 2 tablespoons of chili-garlic sauce - found on the asain food aisle of your grocery store. Lately however I haven't had any luck finding this brand. My next project will be to track down an Asian Market and a Meat Market here in Austin.
1 tablespoon of packed brown sugar.
1 tablespoon minced peeled fresh ginger.
This is about a 1/2 cup of cilantro leaves. The original recipe says to add this to the salad later, but I would rather it be chopped up in my sauce.
I like this before and after photo. Here are the sauce ingredients...
Start blending the ingredients together and add chicken broth a tablespoon at a time until you reach the consistency you like. I added about three tablespoons.
Voila, here is the SPICY PEANUT SAUCE!
While the sauce is chillin' in the fridge I prep the fresh salad ingredients. Chop up a handful of baby carrots or you could also grate two large carrots.
Chop 3-6 green onions.
Slice up a red bell pepper.
To add some healthy protein to this meal, I marinated a chicken breast in soy sauce, sesame oil, a tablespoon of brown sugar and sliced jalapenos. Then threw it in my sauté pan until cooked through. The soy and brown sugar gave this a nice caramelized glaze and the jalapenos a very subtle kick.
Be sure to let the cooked meat rest for 5 minutes before you cut into it. This lets all the juices "redistribute."
I was only making salad for one, so I put the extra veggies in a baggie for later.
This was not part of the recipe either, but I really like to eat spinach so I started with a handful of fresh baby spinach in my large mixing bowl.
Throw in the carrots.
Add the red bell pepper.
Add the chopped green onion.
Now for the noodles. The recipe calls for linguine or dried chow mein udon noodles. I did not want linguine and my grocery store did not offer the udon noodles, so I purchased these rice sticks. I was impressed with these thin glassy noodles! They are dried fragile noodles and I had to use kitchen shears to portion out just 1/4 of the package.
I boiled some water, dunked the noodles and three minutes later I rinsed in cold water. Done!
I started with the cool and cooked noodles, added about three tablespoons of the peanut sauce and whirled the pasta around until it was all covered.
Next, top with the fresh veggies!
Then I sliced the chicken and placed on top.
Chow mein noodles gave the salad a perfect crunch!
May I present to you my Spicy Asian Chicken Noodle Salad. I ended up making and eating this salad for three meals in two days. I even made another batch of the peanut sauce two days later. I think it is extremely versatile since it would pair perfectly with chicken or beef, on a salad as dressing or as a side dipping sauce. I want to eat this salad now!