26.4.11

peanut noodle salad

During every holiday season I make unusually high quantity of heavy meat dishes. I don't know how to explain this except that in my country of origin (Yugoslavia) this is the custom. Even to the point that for every big occasion there has to be a suckling pig roast and aspik and chicken and meat burek and, and... The meat fest seems to never end.
I try to minimise this but inevitably we end up eating much heavier food than we are used to, and it's dishes like this amazing salad that provide an oasis of freshness and crunch.

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Actually, I make this dish almost every week. Whether you serve it with Sichuan Spicy Wontons as a starter, or just the salad as the main dish, it is very tasty, healthy and satisfying, and sure to become a family favourite.






This is a slightly modified version of Ching's recipe (you have the link to her site in the sidebar) the woman is pure genius, responsible for me cooking mainly Chinese food now and I can not recommend her recipes more.


Ingredients

2 pellets of dry wheat noodles (about 200 g)
a splash of light soy sauce and toasted sesame oil
2 skinless, organic chicken breast (for a vegan version, you can omit this or replace with fried beancurd)
1 organic vegetable stock cube
1/2 cucumber, halved lengthways and seeds removed, then sliced
a handful of fresh bean sprouts
1 spring onion
handful of fresh coriander, roughly chopped
1 medium chilli, deseeded and chopped
small handful cashew nuts, dry roasted and then crushed
for the sauce
1 tbsp groundnut oil
1 medium onion
1 medium chilli, deseeded and chopped
4 heaped tbsp crunchy peanut butter
200ml vegetable stock

Preparation:
Add a stock cube to 500ml of water and boil the chicken breasts until cooked (about 20 minutes). Remove from the pan and put aside (make sure you spoon out some liquid so that the chicken does not dry out).
Chop and slice the cucumber, chillies, coriander, spring onion, onion and wash and drain the sprouts.
Bring a pan of water to boil and cook the noodles (they usually need only about 2 minutes). Drain, add a splash of soy sauce and toasted sesame oil, stir and set aside.
Toast the cashews briefly, and when they cool down a little, place them in a plastic bag and crush them using a rolling pin or a meat tenderiser.

To make the sauce, heat the peanut oil and add onion and one of the chopped chillies. Stir-fry for a couple of minutes, then add peanut butter. Stir and add vegetable stock, stirring all along until you get smooth and homogenous sauce.

To assemble the salad, place the noodles into a large serving bowl. Sprinkle it with spring onion, then chicken, bean sprouts, cucumber, chilli and coriander.
Pour the peanut sauce over the salad and toss gently.
Sprinkle with crushed toasted cashew nuts and serve warm or cold.

Bon appétit!

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