Noodle Chicken Salad

Asian noodles and sauce meet local vegetables and chicken.

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I’ve made a number of noodle salads over the years – love ‘em – but I don’t have a clear favorite. For summer the cucumber orange version is good, but that’s for summer. It’s February and I have some leftover (LO) roast chicken just waiting to be made into a noodle salad. I thought I’d break down my noodle salad recipes and maybe invent a new way to go.

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THE NOODLES
What I have on hand right now is:
Eden Organic Udon whole grain – thin, flat noodles – from Big Apple, a mostly Asian grocery in Polk Gulch.w_nb_somen copy
Dynasty Maifun Rice Sticks – from Big Apple – these are good. Come 3 “pads” in a 6 ounce package. Figure one pad per person.
Somen Noodles: (Available at Whole Food) These thin white noodles, made of wheat, are related to udon noodles but are noticeably thinner — a delicate wisp of a noodle that still manages to retain a distinct texture and delicious taste. They are divided — within the cellophane packaging itself — into neat little bundles, each bound with a ribbon. I’ve used these in the soup-like dishes, Noodle Beef and Noodle Chicken.
And of course, if I’m in the mood, I can make some noodles in the Udon shape.

THE SAUCE
The Asian sauces use the following ingredients – not all at once:

rice vinegar (not seasoned)
cider vinegar
Chinese black vinegar
Asian fish sauce
vegetable oil
sesame oil
chile sesame oil
chile sauce, like sriracha
soy sauce
tamari sauce
oyster sauce
lime juice
fresh orange juice
sake
garlic, minced
grated fresh ginger
sugar
salt

Another direction is the popular peanut butter sauce using a base of peanut butter, sesame seeds and brown sugar.

And finally, on a day I was feeling particularly lazy, I just threw on Sticky Fingers BBQ Sauce… not bad.

THE VEGETABLES
For Summer when the nice little Mediterranean or Japanese cucumbers are in season, I like a salad of:
oranges peeled and segmented
cucumbers, not peeled or seeded, cut into matchsticks
cilantro
sesame seeds, toasted
scallions

For other times, choose from:ns_watermelon_radish
Mixed baby greens or hearts of Romaine, thinly sliced or lil gems, thinly sliced
carrot, shredded or fine matchstick
scallions
cilantro
mushrooms, thinly sliced
red onion, thinly sliced
red bell pepper, thinly sliced
celery stalks, thinly sliced
almost any other fresh, crispy vegetable
Peanuts or slivered almonds for garnish

Pictured are watermelon and red radishes, not a typical addition, but what I have on hand and crispy and good.

THE MEAT
Poached or roasted chicken meat, white and/or dark, shredded. Shredded, roast pork shoulder would also work… or no meat at all.

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Noodle Chicken Salad FOR TODAY
I have 10 ounces of LO roast chicken from Mountain Ranch Organically Grown
Celery is always good with chicken… hell, I like celery with anything.
Grated carrots and scallions seem common to most of the noodle salads.
I also have watermelon radishes that are crispy, and red radishes that are crispy and mild. I have 3 little heads of cabbage… but it seems as though for an Asian salad, one would use cabbage OR noodles, not both.

Since I’m going all experimental, I’ll go with a sauce suggested for Lo Mein noodles. I’ve never made it, but it looks good and a little more complex than the straight Asian. Time to get to work.

INGREDIENTS
10 ounces of roasted chicken meat, shredded and/or cubed

NOODLES
8 ounces Udon noodles

SAUCE
1 1/2 tablespoons oyster sauce
1 1/2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon Asian sesame oil
5 tablespoons rice vinegar
1/2 tablespoon grated fresh ginger
1/2 tablespoon chile sauce, like sriracha
3/4 cup vegetable oil

VEGETABLES
2 Carrots, shredded [slap chop]
Celery, sliced thin [6 whacks from top of bunch]
2 Scallions, white and some green sliced thin
1 Watermelon radish, julienned
4 Red radishes, julienned
Chopped peanuts for garnish

INSTRUCTIONS:
Whisk together all of the dressing ingredients; set aside.

Toss the chicken with a little of the dressing and set aside.

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the noodles and cook until al dente. Follow package directions. For most of these salad noodles, that could be as little as 3 minutes. For home made, 3 minutes is good – that’s about when they float. Drain and rinse under cold water. Toss with enough vegetable oil to keep them from sticking together — this is especially important if the noodles are made ahead of time.
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When ready to serve, layer the noodles with the vegetables in a large bowl. Toss with the dressing and serve over a bed of lettuce, or in this case, lil gems.

ns_servedThat’s it… Yummy.

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