Before I tell you all about this month’s Secret Recipe Club offering, I would be an ungrateful citizen if I didn’t thank all the brave men and women of our armed forces, past and present, for putting their lives on the line for this great country of ours. As we celebrate Memorial Day this year, they and their families are in my thoughts as always with the hope that they can come back and enjoy peacetime as we all do here at home.
For this month’s Secret Recipe post, I was assigned the blog, “Jeannette’s Healthy Living.” This is the second month in a row that I’ve been given a blog with a strong focus on healthy eating. (I’m not sure if there’s a message there or not!) Jeannette started her blog because she was spending a lot of time cooking for family and friends with special dietary needs, including her youngest of four sons who has food allergies. Her goal was to make food that was as delicious as it was healthy so that it would not go uneaten leaving essential nutrients on the plate. Jeannette and I share the philosophy that “you are what you eat.” Or as Hippocrates put it, “Let food be your medicine and medicine be your food.“
As I browsed through Jeannette’s recipes, I found some categories that I had never seen before in a blog’s recipe index—e.g, “Anti-cancer,” and “Liquid/Soft Food Diet.” In addition, she has “Dairy-Free” and “Gluten-Free” categories as well as vegan offerings. I was hard pressed to choose among Spiced Vegetarian Red Lentil Soup, Lentil Dal, or the Salmon Arugula Walnut Salad with Wasabi Vinaigrette.
Then I spotted her Cold Asian Noodles with Peanut Sauce, and that was it for me. I have a weak spot for Chinese noodle dishes, especially when there is peanut butter involved. If you took a look at the Word file I have on Chinese noodles, you’d probably laugh when you saw it is 46 pages long. Before I’m too old to cook, I hope to try each and every recipe!
We are assigned our blog about a month in advance and given a posting date. I was given the date right about the time we moved; and, had I not been overwhelmed with multitasking, I would have realized that the posting date was Memorial Day and picked something more in keeping with grilling or a hot weather meal. Once I realized it, I probably could have switched gears; but nothing was going to deter me from making these Asian noodles!
When I was a stay-at-home mom, I always poached boneless chicken breasts whenever a recipe called for cooked chicken. Once I went back to work full time, I soon realized what a timesaver a purchased rotisserie chicken is. Having said that, I did not use a rotisserie chicken but instead poached the chicken according to the recipe. I highly recommend you do so as well because the poaching ingredients infused the chicken with a wonderful Oriental flavor. In addition, once the chicken is cooked, you reduce the chicken broth to strengthen the flavor and use some of that broth to make the peanut sauce.
Roger and I thoroughly enjoyed our nontraditional Memorial Day weekend meal. Before the weekend is over, I’m sure the grill will be put to use; but I’m awfully glad I had the chance to try this delicious Asian noodle dish this weekend. Otherwise, I would have added it to my file starting on page 47; and who knows when I would have gotten to it!
I hope the sun is shining on your Memorial Day…
One year ago: Cole Slaw – KFC Clone
Cold Asian Noodles with Peanut Sauce, Chicken and Vegetables
- 1 pound boneless chicken breast or thighs (I used boneless chicken breasts)
- 1/2 onion, peeled and chopped into large pieces
- One 1″ piece of ginger, peeled and cut into thin slices
- 1 garlic clove, smashed
- 1 tsp. coriander seeds, optional
- 1 tsp. black peppercorn seeds
- 1 tbl. sake or rice wine (I used rice wine)
- 1/4 to 1/3 cup chicken stock (from poaching the chicken)
- 1/4 cup peanut butter or other nut or seed butter
- 2 tbl. gluten-free soy sauce
- 1 tbl. sugar
- 1/2 tbl. rice vinegar
- 2 tsp. minced ginger
- 2 tsp. minced garlic
- 8 ounces Asian rice noodles (You can substitute spaghetti or vermicelli if you can’t find the rice noodles and if gluten is not a problem for you.)
- 2 tsp. sesame oil
Egg Crepe (optional)
- 1 tsp. flavorless oil
- 1 egg
- cucumber, peeled, julienned
- red bell pepper, julienned
- toasted sesame seeds, for garnish
- minced scallions, for garnish
- hot chili bean paste, for serving, optional
Place chicken in a medium saucepan. Add water to immerse chicken completely. Add onion, ginger, garlic, coriander seeds, black peppercorn seeds, and rice wine to water. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 10 or 15 minutes or until chicken tests done. Remove the chicken and set aside.
Return the chicken stock to a boil. Once liquid boils, reduce heat to low and simmer uncovered for 10 minutes to 15 minutes to reduce the stock. When the flavor of the chicken stock has intensified to your liking, strain the stock and reserve.
Once the poached chicken is cool enough to handle, cut the chicken across the grain into strips.
Combine 1/4 cup chicken stock, peanut butter, soy sauce, sugar, rice vinegar, ginger, and garlic in a bowl, and whisk until smooth. It is easier to incorporate all the ingredients if you use warm broth. The peanut sauce will thicken as it sits or if it is refrigerated, so add more broth if you need to thin the sauce out.
Cook rice noodles according to package instructions. Do not overcook or noodles will become mushy. Rinse well with cold water and drain. Drizzle sesame oil on top and toss gently. This will help keep noodles from sticking to each other.
Heat oil in a small omelette pan over medium heat. Beat egg gently and add to pan, swirling egg around to thinly coat bottom of pan. When bottom is set, about 1-2 minutes, flip omelette over and cook other side for another minute. Remove to a cutting board and cut into thin strips.
Divide noodles among four bowls. Arrange poached chicken, red bell pepper, egg omelette and cucumber on top. Sprinkle with sesame seeds and green onions. Serve with peanut sauce and hot chili bean paste, if desired.
Source: A delicious recipe from Jeanette’s Healthy Living