A great fresh Asian-style Chicken Noodle Salad with lots of crunch and flavour. This Thai Salad is nut-free and gets its creaminess from coconut milk. Ready in just 15 minutes, it makes a very delicious, satisfying work lunch.
Grilled Chicken, Soba Noodles And A Delicious Nut-Free Asian Dressing
The hallmark of any good salad is a great dressing packed with loads of flavour. And when you are using protein in the salad, you have to ensure you dress/marinate that before cooking. This amplifies the final flavour of the dish. This Creamy Thai Chicken Noodle Salad is one I cook for my boys a lot, especially for a light weekday lunch. It is great hot or cold and also fares well in lunch boxes.
There are only three components to this yummy salad and they come together in a flash.
Chicken - I use chicken thigh for this dish. You could also use chicken breast or cooked and shredded barbecue/roast chicken. In fact, this salad is so versatile, that I often make two versions of it at once - one with chicken and the other with tofu (for me). When cooking chicken, it helps if you are using a good cast iron pan on high heat. It sears and browns the chicken quickly and then when you lower the heat and cook it until it's done, the chicken gets nice and sticky. If you are cooking tofu, you will need medium-high heat throughout until the tofu is golden.
Noodles - I use soba noodles for this salad. Soba noodles cook very quickly - a mere 3 minutes in boiling water. I also often use plain/chow mein pre-cooked egg noodles that need only a couple of minutes in hot water. No matter what noodles I use, after cooking them till they are just done, I drain the hot water off and rinse them several times in cold water to bring their temperature down and stop them from cooking further. I do this in a colander (see picture). Once I have rinsed them several times, I lift them with my hands and shake them over the colander to drain them further and to ensure each strand is silky and separate and that there are no clumps.
Dressing - I use coconut instead of peanut butter for that delicious creaminess. This makes the salad allergy-friendly and truly delicious. I use a bit of fish sauce but that can be easily replaced by more lime juice. I also use lemongrass powder or dried lemongrass leaf cuts when I don't have access to fresh lemongrass.
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For the chicken
- 500 g chicken thigh fillets
- 1 tablespoon light soy sauce
- 1 tablespoon lime juice
- 1 teaspoon ginger, grated
- 1 teaspoon garlic, minced
- 1 teaspoon coconut sugar
- 1 tablespoon oil
For the dressing
- 1 tablespoon ginger, grated
- 1 tablespoon garlic, minced
- 2 tablespoons lime juice
- 1 tablespoon fish sauce
- 1 tablespoon light soy sauce
- 2 teaspoons sesame oil
- 1 teaspoon red chilli flakes
- 1 teaspoon lemongrass powder*
- 2 teaspoons coconut sugar
- ½ cup light coconut milk
For the noodle salad
- 2 X 90g dry soba noodles
- 2 French shallots, peeled and thinly sliced
- ½ cup red capsicum, sliced
- 2 cups cabbage, thinly sliced
- 12 snow peas, ends trimmed and sliced lengthways
- 1 cup fresh coriander leaves, chopped
- ½ cup Thai basil leaves
- white and black sesame seeds, coriander leaves, extra red chilli flakes, lime wedges, - to serve
- Add chicken, soy sauce, lime juice, ginger, garlic and coconut sugar to a bowl. Mix well. Cover and set aside for 15 minutes.
- Prepare the dressing by mixing all ingredients for it in a lidded glass jar. Dressing can be prepared 2-3 days ahead and stored in the fridge until ready to use.
- Prepare the soba noddles by bringing a pot of water to a rolling boil and adding the dry noodles to the pot. Cook for 3 minutes until noodles are just done. Remove from heat and drain in a colander. Rinse the noodles several times in cold water to stop the cooking process. Run your fingers through the noodles, they should be loose, non-sticky and clump free. Set aside until ready to use.
- To cook the chicken, heat a tablespoon of oil to a large cast iron/non-stick frying pan on medium high. Gently place the marinated chicken in the frying pan. Increase heat to high and cook and sear each side for 1-2 minutes until browned. Reduce heat to low and cook for 10-15 minutes, turning occasionally until the chicken thighs are cooked through. Remove from heat and cool for 5 minutes before slicing the chicken into strips.
- Add the cooked noodles, cooked chicken, French shallots, capsicum, cabbage, snow peas, coriander and basil to a large bowl. Add the dressing and mix toss and mix well until everything is coated evenly with the dressing.
- Serve immediately. Alternatively, prepared salad keeps well in the fridge for up to a day and taste great cold. You may also warm it slightly in the microwave before eating.