This was a pleasant one-dish meal for another hot, dry day. There is something just very appealing about cold noodles in a zingy sauce. I’m calling for you to poach the chicken, but this would be a great use for leftovers from a purchased rotisserie chicken, which in turn is a good way to keep the heat down in the kitchen. If you can’t stand the heat in the kitchen, outsource it!
I picked about 8 little zucchinis the other day so stand by for zucchini action. Beans should be showing up soon too.
45 minutes prep time
Make the Dressing:
2 teaspoons sugar
1 teaspoon 5-spice powder
1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
a bit of chile-garlic sauce or other source of heat, as desired
Mix the sugar and 5-spice powder in a small bowl, then add the sesame oil and mix well to a smooth paste. Mix in the soy sauce and vinegars. Add a little chile garlic sauce or chile oil if you would like some.
Make the Salad:
450 grams (1 pound; 4 medium) chicken thighs, poached
2 cups finely shredded cabbage
1 or 2 stalks of celery, finely sliced
2 or 3 green onions
1 medium zucchini
200 grams (1/2 pound, scant) Chinese egg noodles
The chicken needs to be poached in advance; cook it in a covered pot in a small quantity of lightly-salted chicken broth or water. Ten to twelve minutes should do it; then leave it covered in the pot until it is cool enough to store. The chicken should be cold. You could also use other leftover cooked chicken, such as from a roast chicken.
Finely shred the cabbage. Wash, trim and slice the celery and green onions. Wash, trim and cut the zucchini into fairly long, thin, narrow slices (julienne). Put the zucchini in a strainer, and salt well. Leave it to drain in the sink while you cook the noodles.
Put a large pot of lightly salted water on to boil. Cook the noodles according to package instructions; it is a good idea to add an extra minute or two to the time, especially if the package is under the impression that you are going to go on to add these to soup or stir-fry them.
Pour the boiling water from the cooked noodles over the salted zucchini in the strainer, thus blanching them, and dump in the noodles on top to drain. Rinse well in cold water until cool, then drain very well. Put the zucchini and noodles into a large mixing bowl with the other prepared vegetables. (You may wish to save a bit of the green onion to sprinkle over the top.) Toss with about two-thirds of the dressing.
Shred the chicken and toss it with the remaining dressing, then mix it into the salad.