Saturday, April 26, 2014

Asian Chicken and Rice Noodle Salad

I was poking through my Fine Cooking magazine this weekend and happened on this recipe. It sounded delightful, and lately, I've been craving Asian flavors. I was heading to the store to get some grocery shopping done, so I added a few items from this recipe to my list. I made this for dinner tonight, which I, of course, sampled before dinner time. It's really quite tasty! I made a few changes to the original recipe (using celery instead of fennel, adding cilantro, subbing honey for the sugar, and using rice vinegar), and I'm very happy with the result. This comes together pretty quickly, and I think the whole family will enjoy it.

Asian Chicken and Rice Noodle Salad
1/2 cup rice vinegar
3 tbs. honey
2 fresh long red chiles, stemmed and minced (about 1/4 cup)
Kosher salt
2 medium carrots, coarsely grated
3 celery stalks, thinly sliced
2 tbs. cilantro
1 lb. boneless, skinless chicken breasts (or thighs)
Freshly ground black pepper
4 oz. thin rice noodles (vermicelli)
4 cups thinly sliced Napa cabbage (from 1/2 large head)
1 Tbs. Asian sesame oil; more to taste

1. Prepare a medium-high (400°F) gas or charcoal grill fire.

2. In a large bowl, stir the vinegar, honey, chiles, and 1-1/2 tsp. salt until the sugar dissolves. Reserve 2 tbs. dressing in a small bowl. Add the carrots, celery and cilantro to the large bowl and toss; set aside.

3. Pat the chicken dry and generously season with salt and pepper. Grill the chicken, turning once, until cooked through, about 10 minutes. Transfer to a cutting board, and let rest for a couple of minutes.

4. Meanwhile, prepare the noodles according to package directions. Drain, rinse briefly under cold running water, and transfer to the large bowl. Add the cabbage and sesame oil, toss well, and season to taste with salt, pepper, and more sesame oil. Transfer the salad to a serving platter or plates. Slice the chicken thinly and arrange on top. Drizzle with the reserved dressing, garnish with more cilantro, and serve.

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