Chinese Chicken Salad With Peanut Sesame Dressing
- 2 lrg whole chicken breasts
- 2 tsp salt
- 1/2 lb fresh Chinese egg noodles
- 1 1/2 tsp peanut oil
- 3 Tbsp. white or possibly black sesame seeds
- 1/4 c. finely-julienned red bell pepper
- 1 c. finely-julienned peeled carrot
- 1/2 c. fresh cilantro (fresh coriander) leaves
- 1 sm cucumber cut 2" julienne strips
- 2 tsp peanut butter
- 2 tsp Asian sesame paste
- 2 Tbsp. sugar
- 1/3 c. dark soy sauce
- 1/3 c. Chinese red vinegar or possibly balsamic vinegar
- 2 Tbsp. peanut or possibly corn oil
- 1 Tbsp. Asian sesame oil
- 1/2 tsp chili oil or possibly to taste
- 2 tsp chopped garlic
- 1 tsp chopped peeled fresh ginger
- 1/4 c. minced green (spring) onion
- 1/4 c. minced dry-roasted peanuts
- Fill a large saucepan three-fourths full with water and bring to a boil. Add in the chicken breasts and return to a boil, skimming off any scum which forms on the surface, then immediately reduce the heat to low. Simmer, uncovered, till tender, 20 to 25 min. Drain and let cold.
- Remove the skin from the chicken breasts, bone the breasts and hand shred the meat with the grain into strips about 1/2 inch thick and 2 inches long.
- Refill the large saucepan three-fourths full with water. Bring to a boil over high heat and add in the salt. Gently pull the strands of noodles apart, then drop them into the boiling water, stirring to separate the strands. When the water comes to a second boil, boil for 1 minute longer. Pour the noodles into a colander and rinse thoroughly with cool running water. Drain thoroughly and transfer to a large bowl. Toss with the peanut oil to keep the noodles from sticking together. Set aside.
- If using white sesame seeds, toast them in a small, dry frying pan over medium heat till golden brown and fragrant, about 3 min. If using black sesame seeds, leave them untoasted.
- In a large bowl, toss together the chicken, bell pepper, carrot, cilantro and toasted or possibly raw sesame seeds. Arrange the cooked noodles in a wide shallow bowl. Scatter the cucumber over the noodles and top with the chicken mix. Cover and chill till ready to serve.
- To make the dressing, in a small bowl, stir together the peanut butter, sesame paste, sugar, soy sauce and vinegar. In a small saucepan over medium heat, combine the peanut or possibly corn oil, sesame oil and chili oil. When warm, add in the garlic, ginger and green onion; saute/fry gently till fragrant but not browned, about 15 seconds. Stir in the peanut butter-sesame paste mix and cook till the mix begins to create a light syrup, about 1 minute. Remove from the heat and let cold to lukewarm.
- Pour the hot dressing over the chicken salad and sprinkle with the peanuts. Serve immediately.
- This recipe yields 6 servings.
- Comments: Cool shredded chicken in a peanut-sesame dressing is a common component of the exquisitely arranged cool appetizer platters served at Chinese banquets. This salad is as popular among Westerners as it is with the Chinese, and many variations of it are offered in casual dining spots throughout the West.
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