carrots

soba noodle and chicken salad with spicy peanut dressing

Okay Summer. I guess you’re here to stay.

soba noodle and chicken salad with spicy peanut dressing | Brooklyn Homemaker

I don’t know what it is about warm weather, but it makes me crave cold peanutty noodles. At least the fact that it’s hot out means that I have plenty of fresh summer veggies at my disposal. Filled with all that produce, this salad really is the perfect thing for a hot muggy day. Can you think of anything you’d rather eat in this weather than something that’s filling without being heavy, and cold and refreshing but also savory and flavorful at the same time?

No. You can’t.

soba noodle and chicken salad with spicy peanut dressing | Brooklyn Homemaker

I usually make this once or twice every summer and that’s all I need to pacify my craving. The recipe makes enough that Russell and I both get to bring the leftovers for lunch, and if we don’t go crazy on the portions, we might even have something left to snack on the day after that.

soba noodle and chicken salad with spicy peanut dressing | Brooklyn Homemaker

I’ve made this enough times now that I’ve been able to get the dressing and everything just the way I like it. I’ve tried a few different recipes and some of them were too sweet, others too salty, others waaaay too complicated. Each time I’ve fiddled and futzed and streamlined the recipe to make it as simple and delicious as can be.

soba noodle and chicken salad with spicy peanut dressing | Brooklyn Homemaker

The only slightly time consuming part of this is cooking, cooling, and pulling the chicken. If you wanted to speed things up, and avoid turning on the oven for a day, you could plan ahead to cook extra chicken the night before, or use leftover chicken from yesterday’s roast. You could even leave it out or substitute it for another vegetable. A rotisserie chicken could work too, but I worry that all that seasoning might be too strongly flavored and could compete and clash with the flavors in the dressing. Maybe not though?

soba noodle and chicken salad with spicy peanut dressing | Brooklyn Homemaker

If everything you put into the salad is relatively cool or cold, you can definitely eat it right away without needing to refrigerate it, and since the veggies go in raw and the peanuts and soba noodles are done in just a few minutes, this really is quick and easy to throw together if your chicken is cooked ahead.

soba noodle and chicken salad with spicy peanut dressing | Brooklyn Homemaker

To some, the ingredient list here might seem a bit daunting, but please don’t be scared. The dressing is so distinctive and flavorful that you’ll be glad you took the time to go out and find fish sauce and sesame oil. If you’re like me, you probably already have these things in your fridge anyway, but if you don’t, you can find them in most grocery stores pretty easily these days. Then you’ll have them and can start experimenting with all kinds of new recipes to add to your repertoire.

Once you get everything together, making the dressing is as easy as throwing everything in a bowl and whisking it. If you’re not a fan of heat and spice, you could reduce or even skip the sriracha, but I think it really adds something wonderful to this cold dish.

If you’re not familiar with Soba noodles, they’re a Japanese buckwheat noodle that’s usually cut so thin that it cooks in 5 minutes or less. They’re subtly nutty, and hold their texture in broth or dressing, so they lend themselves perfectly to both cold salads and hot soups. They’re often gluten free too, but some companies add wheat so be careful to read the label if that’s important to you. If you can’t find them you could also use regular thin spaghetti, or even spiral sliced zucchini noodles like the ones I made here.

soba noodle and chicken salad with spicy peanut dressing | Brooklyn Homemaker

This salad is totally perfect for summer weather, whether it’s sunny and mild, or too hot and sticky to leave the house. It’s especially great to take with you for lunch if sitting in front the A/C in your underpants all day isn’t an option.

The dressing is thick, creamy, and perfectly peanutty with a nice sesame backbone, a little sweet acidity from the lime, a bit of saltiness from the soy and fish sauce, and just a touch of heat from the sriracha. Not only is this salad packed with flavor, it also has a great variety of textures to keep every bite fresh and interesting. There are crunchy toasted peanuts, crisp snow peas and peppers, tender noodles and chicken, and a dreamy creamy dressing to tie it all together.

soba noodle and chicken salad with spicy peanut dressing | Brooklyn Homemaker

Soba Noodle and Chicken Salad with Spicy Peanut Dressing

2 chicken breasts, skin-on & bone-in
1 tablespoon olive oil
salt and pepper
9.5 oz soba noodles
3 carrots, very finely julienned with a julienne peeler, mandolin, or spiral slicer
1 red bell pepper, cut into very thin strips
1/3 lb snow peas, hard stem-ends removed
1/2 cup unsalted peanuts (extra for plating if desired)
lime wedges and torn basil or cilantro for plating, if desired

Peanut dressing:
zest and juice of 1 lime
1 tablespoon finely grated fresh ginger
1/2 cup smooth natural (unsweetened) peanut butter
4 tablespoons soy sauce
3 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoon sriracha chili sauce
2 tablespoon sesame oil
1 tablespoon fish sauce
1 tablespoon honey (if using sweetened peanut butter, use 1 teaspoon honey instead)

Preheat oven to 375. Place chicken breasts on a parchment lined baking sheet, rub with olive oil, and season with salt and pepper to taste. Bake for 35-40 minutes or until cooked through. Remove from oven and cool. Once cooled, remove skin and pull meat from bone. Shred chicken into bite sized pieces. Set aside.
In a heavy skillet on high heat, toast peanuts for about 5 minutes. Cool, roughly chop and set aside.
Cook soba noodles according to package directions. Rinse in cold water, drain, and place in a large bowl. Add prepared carrots, pepper, and snow peas, as well as cooled pulled chicken and peanuts. (If desired, reserve some peanuts for serving)
To prepare dressing, place all remaining ingredients in a bowl and whisk until well combined. Pour over salad and toss toss toss until everything is well dressed and evenly distributed through salad. If desired, top with a few reserved roasted peanuts, a lime wedge, and some torn basil or cilantro.

thai coconut green curry chicken thighs

Can you believe that summer is almost here?

thai coconut green curry chicken thighs | Brooklyn Homemaker

Warm sunny days put me in the mood for light meals filled with fresh vegetables, bright flavors, & spice and heat.

thai coconut green curry chicken thighs | Brooklyn Homemaker

On a recent sunny day, I sent Russell to the store to grab me some chicken thighs for what’s turned out to be my favorite meal of the summer so far, my grilled lemon herb chicken thighs. I know that it’s not officially summer just yet, but soon the mosquitos and humidity will make our little yarden a lot less fun, so we’re taking advantage as much as possible right now. Anyway, he accidentally came back with skinless boneless thighs and had to turn back for something that would hold up a little better on the grill.

thai coconut green curry chicken thighs | Brooklyn Homemaker

Not one to waste anything, especially anything edible, I decided to put those skinless boneless thighs to good use a day or two later. I went through the fridge and cupboards to see what I could come up with, and quickly had a plan hatching. I had a can of coconut milk in the house, along with some carrots, limes, and ginger; so I knew what I had to do.

 thai coconut green curry chicken thighs | Brooklyn Homemaker

These chicken thighs would lend themselves perfectly to a quick and easy Thai curry. I even had half a jar of Thai green curry paste and a bottle of fish sauce in the fridge, and a bright green basil plant growing out back. All I would need to grab from the store was some red bell peppers and a bag of white rice.

thai coconut green curry chicken thighs | Brooklyn Homemaker

This dish comes together really quickly once you get everything prepped and ready to go. I think it’s nice to chop all the vegetables into long thin strips so they cook really quickly. Even the chicken thighs get sliced into thin strips for quick cooking. Once you get the chicken and the vegetables cut, the lime zested and juiced, and the ginger grated; this meal comes together in about half an hour. If you put the rice on to cook while the curry thickens, you’ll be ready to go in no time. The only thing I wouldn’t do too far in advance is slice the basil, which starts to brown once it’s cut.

thai coconut green curry chicken thighs | Brooklyn Homemaker

This dish is perfect for warm weather. It’s bright, tangy and just a tiny bit sweet from the lime juice, with some nice subtle spice from the curry and ginger. The chicken is perfectly tender and flavorful, the veggies add freshness and bite, and the coconut milk brings the whole thing together giving the curry some rich creaminess while keeping it light and bright. Great now I’m drooling. Good thing there’s some leftovers in the fridge!

thai coconut green curry chicken thighs | Brooklyn Homemaker

Thai Coconut Green Curry Chicken Thighs

  • Servings: about 4 to 6-ish
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1 lb boneless skinless chicken thighs, cut into bite sized strips or chunks
1 tablespoon fish sauce
3 tablespoons Thai green curry paste
1 tablespoon coconut oil or vegetable oil
salt to taste
1 14 oz can coconut milk
1 tablespoon of freshly grated ginger (from a 1″ by 2″ peeled chunk)
zest and juice of 1 lime
3 large carrots, cut into thin strips
2 red bell peppers, cut into thin strips
1 medium onions, cut into thin strips
generous handful basil leaves, washed

In a small bowl combine chicken, fish sauce, and green curry. Stir to coat. Preheat a skillet over medium high heat, add oil and spread chicken thighs in an even layer. Season with salt to taste, and cook for 5 minutes stirring infrequently. Add coconut milk, lime zest and juice, and grated ginger. Stir to combine, and bring to a simmer. Simmer for 10 minutes, add the carrots, peppers and onion, and simmer 10 minutes more. Meanwhile, cut the basil into a chiffonade (stack the leaves, roll them up like a cigar, and cut into paper thin strips). Add about 3/4 of the basil and simmer 5 minutes more.

Serve over white rice and top with remaining basil.