So here’s the thing about ginger. I hate it. I think it tastes like soap. I am extremely sensitive to it and I can taste even a small amount in things. Now, I realize there are some things where ginger is imperative and in general if it’s cooked into something (like chutney) I don’t notice it that much, but fresh ginger makes me feel like I’m in that scene from A Christmas Story.
While writing this post, I searched long and hard to find information on why ginger tastes like soap to some people (because I know I’m not the only one), but I couldn’t find anything. I did find some disturbing things pertaining to why people thing ginger tastes like soap, but I assure you- none of it was scientific. Somewhere along the line I read something about how the way ginger tastes is some kind of chemical reaction, or recognition, similar to why some people think cilantro tastes like soap (not me, I love the stuff). Either way, I give up. If you find it, tell me.
Until then- keep that nasty crap away from me.
As for this recipe, it is common for Thai food to have ginger in it. I was immediately drawn to this recipe after I realized it was missing that one loathed ingredient. I love rice noodles, everything from their texture to how quickly they cook. Aside from a short marinade for the chicken this recipe comes together extremely quickly. It tasted light and refreshing and I had visions of enjoying this in the backyard with fresh herbs from the garden. Screw you winter, bring on the sunshine!
Anyway, this is a modified version of this Martha Stewart recipe
Thai Chicken and Noodle Salad
Ingredients for dressing/ marinade:
4 thinly sliced scallion whites
2 minced garlic cloves
½ cup soy sauce
½ cup rice vinegar
2 Tbs brown sugar
1 Tbs fresh lime juice
½ tsp anchovy paste
1 tsp red pepper flakes
¼ cup sesame oil or olive oil
Whisk or shake together all ingredients except the oil (the oil will be added after it is used as a marinade).
Ingredients for salad:
1 ¼ Lbs boneless, skinless chicken breast, thinly sliced crosswise
3 ½ oz Chinese rice noodles
1 Tbs. veg oil
2 carrots, sliced into ribbons with a vegetable peeler (or julienned if you’re fancy)
1 English cucumber, halved lengthwise and thinly sliced crosswise
¼ cup freshly chopped cilantro
Handful of bean sprouts
3-4 sliced scallions
A dash of red pepper flakes (optional)
Place chicken and half of the dressing in a sealable plastic bag, reserve remaining dressing. Marinate at room temp for 30 minutes, or refrigerate overnight. Boil about 3 cups of water in a kettle or a pot. Put the rice noodles in a large bowl and cover with boiling water. Let them sit for two to three minutes until cooked (these directions will also be on the package). Drain and set aside. In a Large skillet heat oil over medium high. Working in batches, cook chicken until cooked through, 1 to 2 minutes. Whisk the remaining dressing with ¼ cup sesame or olive oil. Top the noodles with the chicken, carrots, cucumbers, cilantro and bean sprouts. Drizzle with the dressing, and sprinkle with crushed red pepper flakes and scallions.
A few notes:
The original recipe called for basil- both cilantro and basil work for Thai food and I happened to have cilantro on hand. It was delicious. If you had Thai basil it would be even better.
You could literally modify this recipe ANY way you want. You could add ginger (eww) to the marinade/dressing. You could add spicy Thai chilis instead of red chili flakes for even more heat. You could use pork or beef. You could top it with crushed peanuts, or any other kind of vegetable you might like.