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Sesame Chicken Cucumber Noodle Salad
EatingWell Test Kitchen
“This sesame chicken and noodle salad couldn't be simpler to make. And the secret to this saucy sesame chicken and noodle salad is in its beautiful raw veggies—it's got great crunch. It's a simple, healthy, affordable dish to serve on a hot summer's night or to bring to a potluck: just toss the salad with the dressing when you're ready to serve. (Recipe adapted from Simply Ming One-Pot Meals by Ming Tsai and Arthur Boehm; Kyle Books, 2010.)”
8 ounces Chinese egg noodles or other thin noodles or pasta, fresh or dried
1 cup creamy peanut butter
¾ cup rice vinegar
2 tablespoons toasted sesame oil
2 tablespoons Shaoxing wine or dry sherry (see Notes)
1 tablespoon Asian chile sauce, such as sambal oelek or Sriracha (see Notes)
2 heads baby romaine or 1 head regular romaine lettuce
1½ pounds cooked boneless, skinless chicken breasts (see Tip), sliced crosswise into ¼-inch slices and chilled
2 medium red bell peppers, cut into ¼-inch dice
1 large English cucumber, peeled, seeded, halved lengthwise and cut into ¼-inch slices
Salt to taste
Freshly ground pepper to taste
Toasted sesame seeds for garnish (see Notes)
1Fill a large bowl with water and add ice cubes. Cook noodles in boiling water until just tender, 2 to 4 minutes if fresh, about 6 minutes for dry (or according to package directions). Drain and transfer the noodles to the ice water. When the noodles are cold, drain well and transfer to a very large bowl. Set aside.
2Meanwhile, whisk peanut butter, vinegar, sesame oil and Shaoxing (or sherry) in a bowl until smooth. Add scallions, cilantro, if using, soy sauce and hot sauce, and stir to blend.
3If using baby romaine, half lengthwise, notch out the core, and cut crosswise into ½-inch pieces. If using regular romaine, remove the tougher outer leaves. Halve lengthwise, notch out the core, halve again, and cut crosswise into ½-inch pieces. You should have about 8 cups.
4Add the lettuce, chicken, bell peppers and cucumber to the noodles. Add three-fourths of the dressing and toss to coat. Season with salt and pepper. Add the remaining dressing if desired.
5Transfer the salad to a serving bowl. Serve garnished with sesame seeds.
Make Ahead Tip: Cover and refrigerate the salad for up to 1 day or prepare the dressing (Step 2), cover and refrigerate for up to 5 days; thin with a little water as needed.
Notes: Shao Hsing, or Shaoxing, is a seasoned rice wine. It is available at most Asian specialty markets and in the Asian section of some larger supermarkets. If unavailable, dry sherry is the best substitute.
Sambal oelek, a spicy blend of chiles, brown sugar and salt, and Sriracha, a Thai chile sauce, can be found in the Asian section of many large supermarkets and at Asian markets.
Look for toasted sesame seeds at the supermarket near other Asian ingredients. Or toast regular sesame seeds in a small dry skillet over low heat, stirring constantly, until golden and fragrant, about 2 minutes.
Tip: To quickly poach boneless, skinless chicken breasts, place in a large skillet or saucepan. Add lightly salted water (or chicken broth) to cover and bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat to low and simmer gently until the chicken is cooked through and no longer pink in the middle, 10 to 20 minutes, depending on size.