Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Vietnamese Chicken Noodle Salad

I sure seem to have a knack for planning more labor-intensive dishes on days I end up having to work late. But even if I could really have used a sous chef today, all the effort was worth it when I had a flavorful and healthy meal.

Vietnamese Chicken Noodle Salad
from The Martha Stewart Living Cookbook: The Original Classics

serves 6
2 T. peanut butter
3 T. rice-wine vinegar
1 T. low-sodium soy sauce
1 T. honey
2 T. fresh lime juice, plus 6 lime wedges for garnish
1 t. minced garlic
1 t. freshly grated ginger
1 T. peanut oil
2 T. finely chopped fresh mint leaves, plus sprigs for garnish
1 quart homemade chicken stock or low-sodium store-bought chicken stock, skimmed of fat
1.5 lbs. boneless, skinless chicken breast
1 lb. rice vermicelli or capellini pasta
1 cucumber, seeded, cut into 3-inch-long matchsticks
2 carrots, cut into 3-inch-long matchsticks
1/2 small red onion, thinly sliced

1. Place peanut butter, 1 T. rice-wine vinegar, soy sauce, honey, 1 T. lime juice, garlic, and ginger in the bowl of a food processor or in a blender. Process until smooth and creamy. Set the peanut sauce aside until ready to use.

2. Whisk together the remaining 2 T. rice-wine vinegar, the remaining 1 T. lime juice, the peanut oil, and mint in a small bowl and set the vinaigrette aside.

3. Place the chicken stock in a large saucepan; cover and bring to a boil. Add the chicken and simmer about 15 minutes, until chicken is completely cooked. Remove chicken from pan, and set aside to cool, reserving stock. Shred chicken into bite-size pieces, and toss with reserved peanut sauce.

4. Add 3 cups water to the stock, cover, and return to a boil. Add the vermicelli, and cook, uncovered, until al dente, about 4 minutes. Drain, and toss with the reserved vinaigrette.

5. Divide noodles, cucumber, red pepper, carrots, red onion, and chicken among six bowls, and garnish with the mint sprigs and lime wedges. Serve.

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