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We love a chilled noodle salad! Perfect for the hot weather, it cools you down and fills you up. This one uses earthy soba noodles, shredded chicken and crisp veg, all coated in a creamy peanut sauce.
For the Spicy Peanut Sauce
- 1/ 3 cup peanut butter
- 2 tablespoons tamari, light soy sauce
- 1 tablespoon sesame oil
- 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar, or chinese black vinegar
- 1 tablespoon maple syrup, or honey
- 2 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
- Kosher salt, to taste
- Chili oil, to taste
- 5 tablespoons water, to thin out sauce until thick but pourable consistency
For the Chilled Noodles
- 1/ 2 pound sugar snap peas, or snow peas
- 2 carrots, cut into 3" pieces then julienned
- 1 sweet bell pepper, (red orange or yellow), julienned
- 12 ounces dry soba noodles
- drizzle sesame oil, for tossing the cooked soba noodles after cooking
- 4 skin-on, bone-in chicken thighs, (omit for meat free version)
- 1/ 2 English cucumber, cut into 3" pieces then julienned
For the garnish
- 1 scallion, sliced
- sprinkle of sesame seeds
NOTE: If you want to do everything in ONE POT for fewer dirty dishes to wash (my modus operandi in life), follow my directions as written and poach the chicken at the end, after blanching the veggies and cooking the noodles, in the SAME POT OF WATER. Alternatively, if you need to make this meal fastest way possible, set out a second large pot of water to poach the chicken concurrently because it does take about 30 minutes to poach – see step 5.
Put a large pot of water on the stove and bring to a boil. Set out a large bowl filled with water next to the stove (to which you will add ice later for an ice bath). Set a colander over a flat bowl. We are using these, in turn, for the snow peas, julienned carrots, julienned bell pepper and soba noodles.
To Make the Spicy Peanut Sauce
While waiting for the water to boil, whisk all ingredients together. Taste and season with kosher salt as needed – amount depends on saltiness of peanut butter, and whether you used tamari or light soy sauce (former is typically saltier than the latter). It should taste salty, since it will be used to coat noodles. If you made it ahead and it’s a bit thick upon taking it out of the fridge, add a splash of boiling water and whisk until loose again.
To Blanch The Vegetables
Add a bunch of ice cubes into the large bowl of water. Once the pot of water comes to a boil, add a generous amount of salt (as if salting for pasta) and add sugar snap peas. Blanch 3-4 minutes until tender but still retaining crispiness. Do not dump out the water: Use tongs or a handle mesh strainer to transfer sugar snap peas into the ice bath. Once cool, transfer into colander to drain.
Add julienned carrots into the pot of water. Blanch for 30-45 seconds, or until pliable and tender but not soft. Transfer to ice bath. By now you can transfer the drained sugar snap peas to a cutting board, to be julienned (cut lengthwise 2-4 times depending on size). Drain carrots in colander. Quickly blanch the sweet bell peppers, until pliable and tender but not soft.
To Make the Noodles
Bring water back up to a rolling boil and cook the noodles according to package directions. Drain noodles into colander, dumping out the water, and rinse under cold running water. Place in serving bowl and toss with a good drizzle of sesame oil to minimize sticking. For proper “chilled” noodles, place the noodles in the fridge while you poach chicken.
To Poach the Chicken
Fill pot with fresh tap water and add chicken thighs. Cover and bring to rolling boil. Lower heat to a gentle simmer and cook for 5 minutes. Remove the pot from heat completely WITHOUT REMOVING THE LID. Allow it to stand covered for 25-30 minutes, depending on size of the chicken. To test doneness, there should be no blood when pierced with a skewer or sharp knife in the thickest part. A meat thermometer should read 165ºF. Drain chicken thighs, rinse briefly, then set aside to cool. Once cool to touch, discard skin and pull meat off the bones with fingers and shred.
Give the noodles a final toss to loosen. Add a drizzle of sesame oil if needed. Serve with shredded chicken, vegetables, sliced scallions and sesame seeds. Toss everything with the spicy peanut sauce.