This is a dish that my family know well. Chinese cuisine isn’t really known for its salads, but this used to be one of my family’s favourite cold entrees at a Chinese restaurant we used to frequent on special occasions. The combination of cucumber, shredded chicken, mung bean noodles, soy and sesame make for a savoury, delicious dish.
Mung bean noodles are quite different in appearance and nature to other noodles – they are translucent and really do look like crystal or glass. They are much more elastic and chewy in texture as well, and they happily soak up any flavours you put with them. I bought them from the Fruit World in Greenlane, but you can get them from most Chinese grocery stores.
I’ve always wanted to try and make this dish but hadn’t come across the recipe until the other day when a friend was kind enough to give me a spare copy of The Heritage of Chinese Cooking by Elizabeth Chong. I happily spent an evening browsing through the book looking at recipes and was pleased to come across this one. I’ve adapted it mostly in terms of quantity, but the sauces are pretty much as is. Now that I can make it myself and as the weather warms up, I’m sure I’ll be making this dish a number of times.
Sesame chicken salad with crystal noodles
1/2 Tbsp dark soy sauce
1/2 Tbsp light soy sauce
1/2 Tbsp white vinegar
1/8 tsp sugar
3 Tbsp chicken stock
1 Tbsp sesame paste or tahini
few drops of chilli oil
1/8 tsp sugar
1/8 tsp salt
enough chicken stock to give a thick, smooth, and slightly runny consistency
For the salad
200g flat mung bean noodles
1/2 cucumber, julienned or peeled into ribbons
1 large cooked chicken breast (steamed or poached), shredded
1 tsp sesame oil
1/2 tsp salt
In a bowl, combine all of the soy dressing ingredients. In another bowl, combine the sesame dressing ingredients.
Cook the mung bean noodles according to the packet instructions (usually in boiling water until al dente). While the noodles are cooking, gently toss the chicken and cucumber with the soy dressing. Arrange on a deep plate.
Meanwhile, drain the noodles, then run them under cold water and drain again. Sprinkle the sesame oil and salt over the noodles and gently toss together. Place the noodles on top of the chicken and cucumber.
Spoon the sesame dressing over the top. Just before serving, gently mix everything together.