“Cold noodles? Really? Are you sure?”
That was my husband’s reaction the other day when I told him we were having this chicken and noodle salad.
“But Mum! Noodles should be hot!” was Jessie’s response.
Mia took a mouthful of noodles and promptly spat them out.
Not the best of starts. But after a little cajoling and a bit of encouragement, things did get better.
“Actually, this isn’t bad,” Jason conceded in between mouthfuls.
Once Mia got used to the texture of the noodles, she was tucking in wholeheartedly. And Jessie polished hers off without any further fuss. “Yum,” she declared on finishing.
It can be so easy to serve up the same kinds of foods day in and day out but I’m one of those annoying mothers who likes to challenge her family’s taste buds. And it does pay off. Now they’ve got their heads around cold noodles in a salad, I think we’ll be coming back to this quite a lot.
It’s a beautifully freshy, zingy dish – perfect for summer, or at least helping to give the impression of a summer. The chicken thighs are poached so they are lovely and moist and the fresh coriander and mint, along with the lemon, ginger and garlic in the dressing, pack it full of flavour.
I also added some scrummy broad beans from the veg box; the ones in the garden aren’t ready yet. Shelling broad beans has to be one of my favourite jobs in the kitchen. It makes me feel like a 1950s mother for some reason.
If you were making an authentic South East Asian noodle salad, you probably should also use chilli and fish sauce in the dressing. I left these out because a) chilli would be a step too far for little Mia and b) my husband can’t eat fish – I know! How inconsiderate is that?! But if these sound good to you, go ahead.
Chicken noodle salad with coriander and mint
4 skinless chicken thighs
½ onion, peeled and chopped
5 kaffir lime leaves
small handful black peppercorns
200g vermicelli noodles
3 spring onions, finely sliced
1 carrot, grated
½ yellow pepper, deseeded and sliced
large handful shelled broad beans
large handful fresh coriander, chopped
large handful fresh mint, chopped
2 tbsp sesame seeds
6 lettuce leaves, shredded
For the dressing
3 tbsp caster sugar
1 tsp chopped ginger
2 cloves garlic, crushed
2 tbsp lemon juice
2 tbsp vegetable oil
2 tbsp cider vinegar
2 kaffir lime leaves
Place the chicken thighs into a pan with the onion, 5 kaffir lime leaves and peppercorns and cover with water. Bring to the boil, cover and simmer gently for 15 minutes. Allow the chicken to cool in the liquid.
Cook the noodles according to the packet instructions. Drain and run under cold water to refresh.
Dry fry the sesame seeds for a couple of minutes until golden. Remove to cool on a plate.
Place all the dressing ingredients in a saucepan and heat until the sugar dissolves. Sieve into a jug and leave to cool.
Into a large salad bowl place the noodles, spring onions, carrot, yellow pepper, broad beans, coriander, mint, sesame seeds and lettuce. Pour over the dressing and mix well to ensure everything is well covered. I like to use my hands for this bit.
Slice the cooled chicken thighs, arrange on top of the salad and serve.
I’m entering this recipe into Lavender & Lovage’s Herbs on Saturday blog challenge, which this month is being hosted by me! Find out which other entries have been entered and perhaps submit one of your own?