Chicken is a staple is just about everyone's recipe rotation.
This recipe for Sesame Noodles with Chicken is one that's going to slide right in and never leave.
Just one bite and you're going to be hooked on these toothsome noodles with shreds of tender chicken, all tossed with the fresh sesame sauce.
While the softer texture of fresh Asian-style noodles is better, don't be afraid to substitute dried spaghetti. The trouble with both types of noodle, however, is that after being cooked and chilled, they get rubbery. Try rinsing the noodles under cold tap water directly after cooking, which cools the hot noodles immediately and washes away much of their sticky starch. Then toss the noodles with a little oil.
As for the boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cook them under the broiler to help them retain moisture and flavor.
To be authentic, the sesame sauce should be made with an Asian sesame paste, but, hey, peanut butter is in the pantry, so let's use that. The flavors of both fresh garlic and ginger are necessary, along with soy sauce, rice vinegar, hot sauce and brown sugar. Thin it with water to keep the sauce from being too thick or pasty.
To achieve the optimum sesame flavor, add some of the toasted sesame seeds to the sauce. Blended into the sauce along with the chunky peanut butter, the sesame seeds add the final kick of authentic sesame flavor.
Sesame Noodles with Chicken
Makes 4 servings.
5 tablespoons soy sauce
¼ cup chunky peanut butter
¼ cup sesame seeds, toasted, divided
2 tablespoons rice vinegar
2 tablespoons packed light brown sugar
1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 teaspoon hot sauce
½ cup hot water
4 (6-ounce) boneless, skinless chicken breasts, trimmed
Salt and pepper
1 pound fresh Chinese noodles
2 tablespoons toasted sesame oil
4 scallions, sliced thin on bias
1 carrot, peeled and grated
1. Puree soy sauce, peanut butter, 3 tablespoons sesame seeds, vinegar, sugar, ginger, garlic and hot sauce in blender until smooth, about 30 seconds. With machine running, add hot water, 1 tablespoon at a time, until sauce has consistency of heavy cream (you may not need entire amount of water).
2. Adjust oven rack 6 inches from broiler element and heat broiler. Spray broiler pan top with vegetable oil spray. Pat chicken dry with paper towels, season with salt and pepper, and lay on prepared pan. Broil chicken until lightly browned and registers 160 F, 10 to 15 minutes, flipping chicken over halfway through broiling time. Transfer chicken to cutting board, let cool slightly, then shred into bite-size pieces.
3. Meanwhile, bring 4 quarts water to boil in large pot. Add noodles and 1 tablespoon salt and cook, stirring often, until tender. Drain noodles, rinse with cold water, and drain again, leaving noodles slightly wet. Transfer to large bowl and toss with oil. Add shredded chicken, scallions, carrot and sauce and toss to combine. Sprinkle with remaining 1 tablespoon sesame seeds and serve.