This time last week, I was getting ready to meet fellow blogger, Elaine Boddy of foodbod at Borough Market. We hadn’t met before but within minutes of meeting I felt that I had always known her. She asked a young woman to take a photo of us, cautioning her not to run off with her phone – I just knew we would get on! We had a cuppa and a natter to begin with and then started our meander round the market, stopping to take pictures and exclaim over the produce. We sampled and tasted all sorts of delicious morsels, had a cheese tasting at Neal’s Yard Dairy and then shared a delicious Indian dosa and spicy chickpeas from Horn OK Please and also a fantastic Lebanese mezze from The Arabica Food and Spice Company. All the while we did not stop talking! It was a wonderful day and I can’t wait to do it again – very soon. After Elaine left to catch her train home, I suddenly realised that I did not have anything for dinner. I went back in and bought a lovely chicken which I roasted with potatoes and parsnips knowing full well that there would be lovely left overs for later in the week. The sauce for this Warm Chicken Noodle Salad is absolutely gorgeous! It is nutty, spicy, sour, sweet and so moreish! Please do adjust the piquancy of the sauce to your palate. If tahini is not something you buy, use peanut butter in its place but do make a note to get a jar – it is a fabulous ingredient.
This would also work well with other types of oriental noodles like soba, udon, rice and vermicelli. Just please, don’t overcook them. You could also boost the vegetable content of the salad by including shredded carrots and finely sliced green beans. If you don’t have any cooked chicken knocking about, poach a couple of chicken breasts in a vaguely oriental stock – add things like a dash of soy sauce, a star anise, a few slices of ginger etc to the water to infuse a little extra flavour into the chicken. The trick to poaching is not to let the water boil once the protein is in it- keep it barely simmering. Check the breasts after ten minutes by slicing the thickest part with a sharp knife. Pop it back in if it needs a few more minutes otherwise, shred when cool enough to handle. (Sliced or shredded poached chicken breasts are great to have in the freezer to speed up after work/school meals. Just sayin’…)
Warm Chicken Noodle Salad with a Spicy Tahini Sauce
- 400g fresh egg noodles
- 300g cooked, shredded chicken (or lower a couple of chicken breasts into a pan of simmering water to which you have added some star anise, a few slices of ginger and a dash of soy sauce; poach for 10 minutes in barely simmering water. Drain, let cool slightly and shred)
- 100g shredded cabbage (not Savoy or the red ones – you can use Chinese, Bok Choy, Sweetheart etc.)
- 50g bean sprouts
- 6 stalks of chopped coriander leaves
- 6 stalks of chopped mint leaves
- a handful of roasted and salted peanuts
- 2 lime wedges
For the sauce
- ¼ c tahini sauce (mix it up really well if has separated in the jar, before measuring out)
- 2 Tbsp soy or tamari sauce
- 1 Tbsp rice vinegar/white wine vinegar
- 1 Tbsp sweet chilli dipping sauce
- 1 Tbsp sesame oil (I used pumpkin seed oil)
- Juice of half a lime
- 1 tsp sugar
- 1 tsp fish sauce
- 1 tsp grated ginger
- Put the kettle on to boil.
- If you are poaching chicken, now is the time to do it.
- Make the sauce by whisking all the ingredients together. Taste and adjust the sweet, savoury, salty, spicy and sour balance to to your taste. Taste it again before you serve as the flavours develop a little as it sits.
- Crush the peanuts coarsely (in a pestle and mortar; or place on a chopping board; cover with baking paper/cling film and go over with a rolling pin; or place in a plastic bag and bash gently with a rolling pin or bottom of a sturdy glass).
- Pour the water from the kettle into a saucepan and let it come to the boil again. Add a little salt to the water and drop in the shredded cabbage. Blanch for one minute then add the egg noodles for one minute. Set a timer – there’s nothing worse than soggy noodles!
- Drain the noodles and the cabbage and mix with the bean sprouts and the shredded chicken.
- Arrange on two plates. Top with 2 or 3 spoonfuls of the sauce; sprinkle over the coriander and mint leaves and finish with a spoonful of crushed peanuts.
- Squeeze over the lime wedges and eat immediately. Keep the sauce to hand and pass round as needed – you will want more!
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