Fit for a Ninja! Bok Choy and Chicken with Cold Noodles and Peanut Sauce
Just in case you have that bok choy sitting around -- which happens to be one the most nutrient dense foods in existence -- use it up with my interpretation of an interpretation of a recipe. David Tanis wrote about Cold Rice Noodles with Grilled Chicken and Peanut Sauce in the New York Times’ City Kitchen column. Then, Deb from Smitten Kitchen reworked the recipe and, upon reading her version, I altered mine in turn. Now, don’t get me wrong, I didn’t change it because there was anything wrong with it. I just didn’t have certain ingredients on hand but had others, so I swapped. The basic premise is the same, and Deb lays it out so well, I’m going to just paste in her exact recipe, but with my changes in italics.
In addition to the presence of bok choy in my crisper, I think I was inspired to cook this Asian dish because both my children’s Halloween costumes came in the mail today. What are they being, you ask? Oh, just a couple of half-pint ninjas. In fact, at my four-year-old’s request the whole family (dog included) are going to be decked out in samurai garb. So when the kids demanded ninja food for dinner, I had to comply. Mercenaries have to eat too, you know.
Cold Noodles with Peanut-Lime Chicken (and Bok Choy)
Serves 4 generously, 6 moderately
6 tablespoons Asian fish sauce
6 tablespoons brown sugar
12 tablespoons lime juice
2 garlic cloves, finely grated or minced
Small Thai or Serrano chiles, thinly sliced, to taste
3 tablespoons Asian fish sauce
3 tablespoons rice vinegar
9 tablespoons lime juice
3 tablespoons soy sauce
1 one-and-a-half inch chunk ginger, peeled and sliced
6 tablespoons natural unsalted peanut butter
1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil
Pinch of cayenne
Chicken and noodle salad
1 1/4 pounds boneless skinless chicken thighs (I used a pack of breasts from WGG)
8 ounces dried rice vermicelli or other rice noodles
2 small cucumbers, cut in 1/4-inch half moons (didn't use)
2 medium carrots, cut in thin julienne
1/2 head bok coy, sliced thinly
Small handful basil or mint or cilantro sprigs, or your favorite of the three (torn or roughly chopped)
4 or more scallions, slivered
1/4 cup crushed or chopped roasted peanuts
Lime wedges (to serve)
Make the dipping sauce: Whisk ingredients in a small serving bowl, making sure to dissolve the sugar. Leave to ripen for 15 minutes. Refrigerate any extra and use within a few days.
Make the peanut dressing: In a blender or small food processor, puree all ingredients to a smooth sauce, about the thickness of heavy cream. Pour into a serving bowl. (I could have drowned myself in this deliciousness!)
Marinate the chicken: Stir together 1/2 the dipping sauce and 1/3 the peanut dressing (you can eyeball this) 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.
Cook the noodles: Bring a large pot of water to the boil, then turn off the heat. Add the rice vermicelli and soak for 7 to 8 minutes. (Package directions may vary; check for doneness by tasting.) Drain when noodles are al dente, and cool under running water. Fluff and leave in strainer to drain well.
Cook the chicken: Grill the chicken on an outdoor grill, a stove-top grill pan, or run under the broiler until nicely browned, about 3 to 4 minutes a side. Let cool slightly, then chop roughly into 3/4-inch pieces. (I sauteed in my skillet until nice and browned.)
To serve: At this point, you can place everything on a large serving platter, with piles or small bowls for noodles, vegetables, chicken, the dressing and marinade 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:
Toss vegetables with 1 tablespoon dipping sauce in a small bowl. Divide the cooked noodles among 4 to 6 bowls. Top each bowl equally with vegetable mixture and chopped chicken. Toss each bowl with 2 teaspoons of each the dipping sauce and dressing, or more to taste (we wanted more). Add the herbs, peanuts and scallions to each bowl and serve with additional dressing and dipping sauce on the side.
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@OneVanillaBean You're a real sprout farmer now!! Thanks a bunch for sharing the pic...which is adorable by the way!