Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Cool Rice Noodles with Sweet and Sour Sauce

Well, we've got a few new things today. The first is we're using leftovers. The second is that this is actually a dish for one. If you plan on sharing, better double or triple the recipe/ (Depending on how many people will be eating. I really liked the way this turned out, it could become more of a fusion food really easy by adding some avocado. Anyway, the recipe is coming from the wonderful folks over at Fine Cooking. Unfortunately, the recipe isn't available on their site.

The Menu:
Cool Rice Noodles with Chicken & Sweet & Sour Sauce

1/3 c. Sweet & Sour sauce
2 Tbls. Fish Sauce
3 Tbls. Lime Juice
1/4 c. Finely grated carrot
1 leaf red lettuce (Tear it into bite-size pieces)
1/4 c. Thinly sliced, seeded cucumber
1/4 c. Thinly sliced sweet onion (Vidalias are good)
1 oz. Thin rice vermicelli (Cook according to the directions on the package and cooled)
1/4 c. Shredded cooked chicken
1 Tbls. Coarsely chopped fresh cilantro
5 mint leaves, lightly crushed and torn
2 Tbls. Unsalted, dry roasted peanuts, coarsely chopped

Sweet and Sour Sauce: (yields 1/2 c.)
1 Tbls. Crushed red pepper flakes
1/2 Tsp. Kosher salt
3/4 c. Sugar
1/4 c. + 2 Tbls. Rice Vinegar
7 cloves garlic, minced

How to:
Sweet and Sour:
1) Use a small, completely dry saucepan and toast the pepper flakes over high heat until fragrant. It should only take a minute or two.

: Do not, I repeat do not, pre-heat the saucepan. Otherwise, the pepper flakes will burn before you can blink. In a similar vein, when they say "Until fragrant", this does not mean to lean over the pan and inhale to determine fragrancy. Go for residual smell. The Little Birdie made a special visit to tell me that inhaling directly will cause your nasal cavities to burn like crazy. Pure capsicum smoke and my nose are not a good combination. That and the whole house will smell like burned peppers. Anyway, moving along.

2) Now add the salt, sugar and rice vinegar. Cook the whole concoction over medium-low heat just until the salt and sugar have dissolved.

3) Stir in the garlic and remove the sauce from heat to let it cool all the way.

Congratulations. Your very own Sweet and Sour sauce. And here I thought this was going to be hard.

Chicken Salad:
1) Combine your now cooled Sweet and Sour sauce, fish sauce, lime juice and grated carrot in a small bowl.

Note: Fish sauce, also known as Nam Pla, can usually be found in the Asian or ethnic foods section of your local grocer. Look for one that you recognize all of the ingredients in it. They should read something like: Fish Extract (blend of herring, sardines, skad and mackerel) Water, salt. The look on the face of the Asian checker was priceless when a white boy like me bought fish sauce. Apparently, not many Caucasians in Texas buy fish sauce. Oh well.

2) Line the bottom of your serving bowl(s) with the lettuce, cucumber and sweet onion slices. Now top it with the cooked and cooled rice noodles.

3) On top of that, put the shredded chicken, cilantro, mint, and peanuts. Lastly, drizzle your sweet and sour sauce over the whole salad and toss it to combine and coat.

Easy Peasy.

More Notes:
Remember that Basque Chicken Stew that was so full of flavor? I still had some lying around, so I pulled out one of the legs and used that for the chicken here. I used two forks to shred it. Just insert the tines in an interlocking manner and pull. It'll shred really easy. It really helped to have an essentially marinated piece of meat. It brought a lot of it's own flavor to the mix.

If you want to add some flair, try topping this with avocado or maybe mango. Turn it into a real fusion cuisine kind of dish. Yeah, really quick. It shouldn't take more than 15-30 minutes to put together. It all depends on your slicing and chopping speed.

Small saucepan
Small mixing bowl

Health Info:
3 meat servings
2 Veggie servings
3 Starch servings

::Malloreth out::


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