Sunday, February 24, 2013

Simple Sesame Noodles with Ginger Poached Chicken

Rotini, penne, bucatini, ditalini, elbow macaroni, linguini, fusili, shells, orecchiette, angel hair...The KC kids like pasta especially when it's buttered and buried under a snowbank of Parmesan cheese shaved from a hunk, not shaken from a can.

After 6 and a half years of sauce therapy, Looly is now almost as likely to choose spaghetti with meatballs and marinara as she is to opt for plain (that is, buttered and Parmesan-topped) pasta. Bean and Roo remain steadfast in their loyalty to butter. Progress is not fast.

Asian noodles would be such a welcome change of pace if only I could get the troops on board. Pad Thai and Peanut Noodles don't bode well for the nut-allergic, so we generally avoid Asian restaurants but that doesn't mean we can't rock scallions and soy sauce at home with our noodles.
Perhaps somewhat embarrassingly, my past attempts at any remotely Asian-style noodles, while decidedly edible to me, have been met with unsettling facial contortions and breathy grunts by the KC kids. They complain they're too spicy, too salty, too fishy, too saucy, too sticky, but mostly...there's just not enough Parmesan.
After a lot (and I do mean a lot) of trial and error, we have a winner! It turns out the key to my children's stomachs is simplicity. I really love big, bold, Asian-y flavors and have a tendency toward the more is better philosophy but in terms of impressing the munchkins, restraint is key.

Simple Sesame Noodles
adapted from The Hakka Cookbook

1 pound udon noodles, soba noodles or whole wheat spaghetti
3 tbsp toasted sesame oil
2 tbsp canola oil
3 tbsp reduced sodium soy sauce
3 tbsp thinly sliced scallions
1 tbsp fresh lime juice
lime wedges
2 tbsp cilantro, chopped
Thai red chili paste (optional)

Cook the noodles according to the package instructions, drain and rinse. Combine the oils, soy sauce, green onions, and lime juice in a large bowl. Whisk to combine. Add noodles and toss to coat. Garnish with lime wedges and cilantro. Serve with red chili paste for some extra oomph, if desired, and ginger-poached chicken (recipe follows).
Ginger-Poached Chicken
adapted from The Hakka Cookbook

6 cups chicken stock (preferably homemade)
6 quarter-size slices of fresh ginger (unpeeled is fine)
3 cloves garlic
1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts cut into chunks
1 tsp salt

Combine the stock, ginger, and garlic in a large pot. Bring to a boil over high heat. Carefully, add the chicken pieces, cover, and remove from heat. Allow the pot to sit undisturbed for 15-20 minutes until the chicken is cooked through. Remove the chicken with a slotted spoon and serve over Simple Sesame Noodles (recipe above). Stir the salt into the broth and serve alongside the noodles and chicken.

Bonus: If you happen to be having a wintery, runny nose, tickly throat kind of day like me, I highly recommend you stir a solid tablespoon of Thai red chili paste into your own bowl of broth. Your sinuses will thank you.


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  2. Amy -

    Great recipe here - did your kids try the soba noodles (as they are buckwheat and blue)? Also, is the photo - udon or WWS? We will try it this week hopefully it's seems simple - Thanks again. Amit

  3. Hi Amit,

    These are udon noodles in the photo but the kids like soba noodles too. Maybe start with spaghetti if you think they might be hesitant to try it? Let me know how it goes! :)