10.23.2012

RICE NOODLES WITH PEANUT LIME CHICKEN

It's time for more food around here, isn't it?!  Ryan is usually the chef in our household, and he's an amazing one at that.  However, with beginning an intense Master's program and working a lot, that role has increasingly fallen in my lap.  Which I don't mind at all.  I love to cook, I just have to realize that it takes some planning... and a glass of wine to take the edge off (as suggested by my mom).

A few weeks ago, I wanted to make something homemade, healthy and somewhat easy.  I also wanted to use up some random ingredients we had (three bags of rice noodles, anyone?) so I Googled some of the stuff we had on hand and found an amazing recipe courtesy of Smitten Kitchen.  First things first, if you haven't gone to that blog before, do it now.




Moving along, the recipe she made is based off a crazy-complicated one that she trimmed down and I in turn trimmed hers down even more.  But even if it was extremely simplified, it was a success, so without further rambling, here's my simple version of rice noodles with peanut lime chicken.

Ingredients:
  • 6 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 12 tablespoons lime juice
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 Serrano chiles, thinly sliced
  • 3 tablespoons white wine vinegar
  • 8 tablespoons lime juice
  • 3 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1-inch chunk of ginger, peeled and sliced
  • 6 tablespoons almond butter (or peanut butter for a sweeter taste)
  • pinch of cayenne
  • 1 1/4 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breast
  • 12 oz. rice noodles
  • 2 cucumbers, cut in 1/4-inch moons
  • 2 carrots, chopped
  • small handful of cilantro (or other herb)
  • 4 scallions, chopped
  • 1/4 cup crushed or chopped roasted peanuts
  • lime wedges

Directions:

1.  Dipping sauce: whisk brown sugar, 12 tablespoons lime juice, garlic and Serrano chiles in a small bowl and let sit for 15 minutes.

2.  Peanut dressing: in a blender or food processor, puree white wine vinegar, lime juice, soy sauce, ginger, almond butter and cayenne until smooth and pour into a serving bowl.

3.  Chicken: stir together 1/2 of the dipping sauce and 1/3 of the peanut sauce, pour into a shallow dish and marinate chicken for at least 15 minutes.  After marinating, grill or cook chicken on a frying pan until nicely browned, about 5 minutes per side.  Chop into roughly one-inch pieces.

4.  Noodles: boil a large pot of water and turn off the heat.  Add the rice noodles and cook for about 8 minutes, depending on package directions.  Drain when noodles are al dente and cool under running water.  Fluff and leave in strainer to drain.

5.  Serve: place everything on a large serving platter with a bowl each for noodles, vegetables (cucumbers and carrots), chicken, the dipping sauce, the peanut dressing and toppings (cilantro, scallions, peanuts and lime wedges) and let people create their bowls however they wish.