They're the symbol of long life in China, the secret to Sophia Loren's beauty and they've been eaten in space. Yes, we're talking about noodles and what better way to keep it cool then with a chicken salad with all the textural bang.
- 125 ml (½ cup) light soy sauce
- 80 ml (⅓ cup) Chinese rice wine (Shaoxing) (see Note) or dry sherry
- 1 tbsp caster sugar
- 3 garlic cloves, bruised
- 4 cm-piece ginger, sliced
- 4 chicken breast fillets
- 200 g bean thread noodles, soaked in cold water for 15 minutes
- 1 tsp sesame oil
- 2 Lebanese cucumbers, thinly sliced
- 1 carrot, shredded
- 4 spring onions, thinly sliced
- thinly sliced long red chilli, coriander leaves and roasted peanuts, to serve
- 60 ml (¼ cup) sesame paste (see Note) or tahini
- 60 ml (¼ cup) soy sauce
- 2 tbsp Chinese black vinegar (chinkiang) (see Note)
- 1½ tbsp caster sugar
- 1 tbsp chilli oil
- 1 tbsp sesame oil
- 1 tsp ground Sichuan pepper (see Note)
Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.
To make sesame dressing, place all ingredients in a bowl, whisking to combine. Set aside.
Place soy sauce, wine, sugar, garlic, ginger and 1 L water in a saucepan over high heat and bring to the boil. Reduce heat to low, then add chicken and cook for 10 minutes or until cooked through. Remove from pan and, when cool enough to handle, shred with fingers. Set aside.
Drain noodles and cook in a saucepan of boiling water for 2 minutes. Drain again, then place in a large bowl with sesame oil, tossing to combine. Add cucumbers, carrot, spring onions and shredded chicken, tossing to combine. Divide among serving plates, drizzle with sesame dressing and serve scattered with chilli, coriander and peanuts.
• Chinese rice wine (Shaoxing), sesame paste, Chinese black vinegar (chinkiang) and Sichuan pepper are available from Asian food shops.
Photography Chris Chen.