Make fresh sesame noodles with chicken
Much like a Chinese finger trap that lures by appearing to be a toy, sesame noodles are not what they seem. You may think of them as merely a humble bowl of cold noodles, but don’t be fooled — just one bite of this recipe and you’ll be hooked on these toothsome noodles with shreds of tender chicken, all tossed with a fresh sesame sauce.
The real problem is, good versions of this dish can be hard to find. The cold noodles have a habit of turning gummy, the chicken often dries out, and the sauce is notorious for turning bland and pasty.
After trying a number of ways to avoid this, we found it necessary to rinse the noodles under cold tap water directly after cooking. This not only cooled the hot noodles immediately but also washed away much of their sticky starch. To further forestall any clumping, we tossed the rinsed noodles with a little oil.
To be authentic, the sesame sauce should be made with an Asian sesame paste (not to be confused with Middle Eastern tahini), but most recipes substitute peanut butter because it’s easier to find.
SESAME NOODLES WITH CHICKEN
Start to finish: 1 hour
5 tablespoons soy sauce
1/4 cup chunky peanut butter
1/4 cup sesame seeds, toasted
2 tablespoons rice vinegar
2 tablespoons packed light brown sugar
1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 teaspoon hot sauce
1/2 cup hot water
4 (6-ounce) boneless, skinless chicken breasts, trimmed
Salt and pepper
1 pound fresh Chinese noodles
2 tablespoons toasted sesame oil
4 scallions, sliced thin on bias
1 carrot, peeled and grated
Puree soy sauce, peanut butter, 3 tablespoons sesame seeds, vinegar, sugar, ginger, garlic and hot sauce in blender until smooth, about 30 seconds. With machine running, add hot water, 1 tablespoon at a time, until sauce has consistency of heavy cream (you may not need entire amount of water).
Adjust oven rack six inches from broiler element and heat broiler. Spray broiler pan top with vegetable oil spray. Pat chicken dry with paper towels, season with salt and pepper, and lay on prepared pan.
Broil chicken until lightly browned and it registers 160 F, 10 to 15 minutes, flipping chicken over halfway through broiling time. Transfer chicken to cutting board, let cool slightly, then shred into bite-size pieces.
Meanwhile, bring 4 quarts water to boil in large pot. Add noodles and 1 tablespoon salt and cook, stirring often, until tender. Drain noodles, rinse with cold water, and drain again, leaving noodles slightly wet.
Transfer to large bowl and toss with oil. Add shredded chicken, scallions, carrot and sauce, and toss to combine. Sprinkle with remaining 1 tablespoon sesame seeds and serve.
Nutrition information per serving: 700 calories; 194 calories from fat; 22 g. fat (3 g. saturated; 0 g. trans fats); 101 mg. cholesterol; 2205 mg. sodium; 79 g. carbohydrate; 6 g. fiber; 12 g. sugar; 45 g. protein.
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