This is a recipe for everyone who loves noodles and everyone who loves chicken bites compared with noodles. Here I combined two different recipes but obviously you can do part of the recipe if you are more into having a more veggie version of this, so you'll go making only the take-out style noodles, excluding the addition of the chicken. With or without chicken, this one is a go-to plate for all the asian-cuisine-freaks out there..
Take-out style noodles with cucumber (adapted from Smitten Kitchen)
3/4 pound dried rice noodles
2 tablespoons toasted sesame oil, plus a splash to loosen noodles
2 tablespoons tahini
1 tablespoon smooth peanut butter
3 1/2 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons Chinese rice vinegar
1 tablespoon granulated or brown sugar
1 tablespoon finely grated ginger, I used ground one
2 teaspoons minced garlic (from 1 medium-large clove)
cucumber, very thinly sliced
1/2 cup roasted salted peanuts, roughly chopped
A handful of chopped fresh herbs, such as mint and cilantro, for garnish
some slivered scallions and carrots, for garnish
Cook noodles according to package directions and rinse with cold water to cool. Drain well. Drizzle with a tiny splash of toasted sesame oil to keep them from sticking until dressed.
Meanwhile, whisk tahini and peanut butter in the bottom of a small bowl, then whisk in soy sauce, rice vinegar, remaining 2 tablespoons sesame oil, sugar, ginger and garlic to taste until smooth. Adjust flavors to taste. It might seem a bit salty from the bowl, but should be just right when tossed with noodles.
Toss sauce with cold noodles.
Peanut-lime chicken (adapted partly from Smitten Kitchen)
1 1/4 pounds boneless skinless chicken thighs (about 6)
3 tablespoons Asian fish sauce
3 tablespoons brown sugar
6 tablespoons lime juice
1 garlic cloves, finely grated or minced
Small Thai or Serrano chiles, thinly sliced, to taste
1 tablespoon Asian fish sauce
1 tablespoon rice vinegar
3 tablespoons lime juice
1 tablespoon soy sauce
a pinch of ground ginger, or shave some fresh if you have on hand
2 tablespoons natural unsalted peanut butter
1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
Pinch of cayenne
Whisk all dipping sauce ingredients in a small serving bowl, making sure to dissolve the sugar. Leave to ripen for 15 minutes.
In a blender or small food processor, puree all peanut dressing ingredients to a smooth sauce, about the thickness of heavy cream. Pour into a serving bowl.
Stir together the dipping sauce and the peanut dressing in the bottom of a low-sided bowl or dish. Add the chicken to the mixture and toss to coat. Let marinate at least 15 minutes.
Grill the chicken under the broiler until nicely browned, about 3 to 4 minutes a side. Let cool slightly, then chop roughly into 3/4-inch pieces.
To serve: At this point, you can place everything on a large serving platter, with piles or small bowls for noodles, vegetables, chicken and toppings (peanuts, herbs) and let your family and friends put it together in their own bowls as they wish. Or, you can assemble it for everyone as suggested:
Divide the dressed take-out noodles among bowls. Top each bowl with the chopped chicken, cucumber, carrots, scallions, peanuts and herbs of your choice.
You can also serve with chile-garlic paste on the side, if you have it on hand.