This recipe is lightly adapted from a 2004 issue of Cook's Illustrated. As with all their recipes, they did their homework and the result is a perfectly balanced mix of flavors and textures.
I've made it many times - sometimes with the chicken, sometimes without, depending on the crowd - and it's always a hit. The chicken-less version is a good vegan option and the version with chicken is hearty enough to be used as a main dish with a salad or other veggie side.
My only change to the Cooks Illustrated recipe is to add some fresh, chopped cilantro to the final product - either as a garnish or mixed into the dish with the carrots and scallions.
The result is herby, crunchy, sweet and savory. In short, it's delicious. Make the sauce ahead of time if you can as it gives the flavors more time to develop.
Sesame Noodles with Shredded Chicken
- ¼ cup sesame seeds
- ¼ cup chunky peanut butter
- 2 medium cloves garlic, minced or pressed through garlic press (about 2 teaspoons)
- 1 piece (1-inch) fresh ginger, grated or minced (about 1 tablespoon)
- 5 tablespoons soy sauce
- 2 tablespoons rice vinegar
- 1 teaspoon hot sauce (such as Tabasco)
- 2 tablespoons lightly packed light brown sugar
- Hot water
- 3 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves (1½ pounds), trimmed of excess fat
- 1 tablespoon salt
- 1 pound fresh Chinese egg noodles or 12 ounces dried spaghetti
- 2 tablespoons Asian sesame oil
- 4 scallions, sliced thin on diagonal
- 1 medium carrot, peeled and grated on large holes of box grater (about 2/3 cup)
- 1/2 cup fresh cilantro, washed, dried and coarsely chopped
1. Toast the sesame seeds in a medium skillet over medium heat, stirring frequently, until golden and fragrant, about 10 minutes. Reserve 1 tablespoon sesame seeds in a small bowl.
2. In a blender or food processor, puree the remaining 3 tablespoons sesame seeds, peanut butter, garlic, ginger, soy sauce, vinegar, hot sauce, and sugar until smooth, about 30 seconds.
3. With the machine running, add hot water 1 tablespoon at a time until the sauce has the consistency of heavy cream, about 5 tablespoons; set the mixture aside (it can be left in the blender jar or food processor workbowl).
4. Bring 6 quarts water to a boil in a stockpot over high heat.
5. Meanwhile, adjust an oven rack to 6 inches from the broiler element; heat the broiler. Spray the broiler pan top with vegetable cooking spray; place the chicken breasts on top and broil the chicken until lightly browned, 4 to 8 minutes. Using tongs, flip the chicken over and continue to broil until the thickest part is no longer pink when cut into and registers about 160 degrees on an instant-read thermometer, 6 to 8 minutes.
6. Transfer to a cutting board and let rest 5 minutes. Using 2 forks, shred the chicken into bite-size pieces and set aside.
7. Add the salt and noodles to the boiling water; boil the noodles until tender, about 4 minutes for fresh and 10 minutes for dried. Drain, then rinse with cold running tap water until cool to the touch; drain again. In a large bowl, toss the noodles with the sesame oil until evenly coated.
8. Add the shredded chicken, scallions, carrot, cilantro, and sauce; toss to combine. Divide among individual bowls, sprinkle each bowl with a portion of reserved sesame seeds, and serve.
You might also like:
- Hainanese Chicken with Ginger-Garlic Rice
- Garlic Scape & Pork Stir-Fried Rice
- Pork & Veggie Pot Stickers from Scratch
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