Monday, January 31, 2011

Cold Noodles With Peanut Sauce

When I made this peanut sauce for the Thai Tempeh Wraps last week, I had plenty of leftover and wanted to use it up.  So, I decided to make David's cold noodle recipe that goes with the peanut sauce.  

Pretty good stuff!  We liked this noodle dish and, of course, the peanut sauce.  The highlight, surprisingly, was the chicken!  This is a genius way of poaching a chicken breast.  The meat was so tender and perfectly cooked.  After all this time of going on and on about how much I don't like chicken breasts...I have finally found a satisfying method to cook the stuff.  

Cold Noodles With Peanut Sauce

This recipe makes about 2 cups (500ml) of peanut sauce, which is more than you’ll need for four servings. But it’s pretty great on white rice as an afternoon snack or French fries.

The chicken needs to be hand-shredded since the uneven surface makes it easier for the peanut sauce to adhere to the meat. Toast the peanuts in a 350ºF (180ºC) oven on a baking sheet for about twelve minutes, stirring a few times during baking, until they’re well-toasted.

2 cups (300g) dark roasted unsalted peanuts
1/2 to 3/4 cup (125-180ml) hot black tea
1/2 cup (125ml) oil, preferably peanut or coconut milk
1 tablespoon (10g) peeled and minced fresh ginger
2 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
2 small chiles, seeded and finely chopped
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher or sea salt
1 tablespoon light or dark brown sugar
1 1/2 tablespoons soy sauce
1/2 teaspoon ground Szechuan pepper (if available)
1/4 cup (60ml) fresh lime or lemon juice
2 tablespoons toasted sesame oil
1 1/2 teaspoons chili paste or chili oil
1/3 cup (15g) packed cilantro sprigs or chives
1 tablespoon fish sauce
1 pound (450g) wide Chinese noodles, often called Shanghai noodles
2 chicken breasts, boneless or on the bone
1 large cucumber
sprigs of cilantro

Make Peanut Sauce: Put the peanuts, 1/2 cup (125ml) of hot tea, and the oil or coconut milk in a blender. Turn the machine on and let it run for a few minutes until the peanuts are almost smooth. Then add the remaining ingredients and let the machine run until the sauce is pureed. Check the consistency. If it’s too thick for your liking, add up to another 1/4 cup (55ml) of tea.

Cook the noodles in a pot of boiling salted water according to the time on the package. (I usually cook them a little less, since I like them chewy.) Once done, drain and immediately run cold water over the noodles in the colander, turning them with tongs to cool them as rapidly as possible. Toss the noodles in a drizzle of oil and set aside.

Put the chicken breasts in a medium saucepan, cover with cold water and add enough salt to estimate the saltiness of sea water. Cover and bring the water to a boil. Once the water comes to a boil, turn off the heat and leave the chicken breasts in the water for twenty minutes, covered. After twenty minutes, remove the chicken breasts from the liquid and let sit until cool enough to handle. Shred the chicken breasts by hand into bite-size strips.

Peel the cucumber. Cut it in half lengthwise then remove the seeds with a spoon. Slice the cucumber diagonally.

Divide the noodles between the four bowls, top with chicken and cucumbers, then add a few generous, heaping spoonfuls of peanut sauce. Garnish with sprigs of cilantro and encourage guests to mix everything together in their own bowls.

Storage Tips: The peanut sauce can be made up to one week in advance and refrigerated, or frozen for up to two months. The chicken breasts and the noodles can be cooked and refrigerated up to one day ahead.

(Servings: 4, Prep time: 45 min., Cook time: 20 min., Difficulty: Easy)

foodforscot Ratings:

Shanon (taste):  7/10
Scot (taste):  7/10
Effort:  3/5
Dishwashing Effort:  3/5


  1. What a great way to poach chicken! I've always struggled with it, so I'm so excited to try this technique! And of course, I love noodle salads. Thank you for sharing such a creative and delicious recipe with me. I hope you have a safe and warm day tomorrow...we're about to get very cold in Austin!

  2. Seriously, make the best husband will adore this...I made the pasta with olives and capers and tuna last week and he went nuts...declared it his favorite pasta ever...thank you so much for your well chosen recipes...

  3. Interesting - I always poach chicken breasts over low heat, but I'll have to try this method with salt water and turning it off altogether. Thanks for sharing!