CHICKEN VERMICELLI NOODLE SALAD

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It’s officially the first day of Autumn here in Melbourne however summer looks like it’s sticking around for a little longer. That means quick and refreshing meals which take little effort are continuing to be the theme in the kitchen. I make variations of this vermicelli noodle salad all year round, depending on what I have in the fridge or what I’m craving. Sometimes with tofu or prawns instead of chicken and with varying herbs and vegetables – the herbs are very important. This version has a wonderfully simple coconut ginger dressing which comes together in seconds and adds a voluptuousness to the dish as the creaminess of the coconut cream coats the noodles while still keeping it light. Below the recipe are some substitutions so you can change it up to suit you.

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Serves 4

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2 chicken breasts (500g in total)

2cm piece of ginger

100ml sake

SALAD

200g rice vermicelli noodles

2 small carrots or 1 large, julienned

1 granny smith apple, julienned

Large handful each of mint and coriander, leaves torn

60g roasted salted peanuts

2 shallots, thinly sliced

Coconut Ginger Dressing

125ml coconut cream

1tbsp fish sauce

Generous pinch of sea salt

Juice of 2 limes

1 tsp caster sugar

1cm piece of ginger, finely grated

1 small hot red chilli, or to your taste finely chopped (optional)

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Place the chicken breasts in a medium pot and cover with cold water. Add the ginger and sake and bring to the boil over a high heat. Reduce the heat so the liquid is at a gentle simmer, cover with a lid and cook for approximately 10 minutes. Allow to cool in the liquid for 15 minutes, remove then shred and set aside.

For the salad, cook the noodles according to the instructions on the packet, refresh in cold water then allow to drain. Mix the remaining ingredients together with the noodles and the shredded chicken in a large bowl.

Whisk the dressing ingredients together in a small bowl and check to make sure that it is balanced. It should be nice and bright from the lime with a good amount of saltiness and subtle sweetness. Pour the dressing over the salad and toss well to ensure everything is well coated. Check again for seasoning, adjust if necessary and serve.

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VARIATIONS & SHORT CUTS

  • Other vegetables such as cucumber, green mango, celery, daikon and bean sprouts can all be used in this salad.

  • Substitute the shallots for spring onions

  • Vary the herbs. Thai/Italian Basil, Shiso, Vietnamese mint are all great here too

  • Use left over roast chicken instead of poaching chicken breasts

  • The poaching broth can be seasoned and used for soups or stews. We often will ladle it into bowls and drink with the noodles on the side too

  • Omit the fish sauce and chicken for Vegetarian/Vegan options. Simply use a little more salt and substitute the chicken for tofu.

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