Thursday, May 1, 2008

School Night Sesame Noodles

When I was little my mom had this magical marinade: soy sauce, lemon juice, and vegetable oil. She used it as a salad dressing, and especially to make a wilted cucumber salad.

But she also used it as a chicken and meat and seafood marinade. Basically, if you put anything into this mixture, it tastes good.

When my sister and I got into high school and college we started altering our mom's magical marinade. For salad dressing, we changed to olive oil, of course, instead of that yellow jug of corn oil. For marinades, we added chopped garlic and ginger, and eventually, sesame oil, and something sweet like honey or mirin.

By now the magical marinade has a place of honor in my kitchen. I still use it all the time, and I come across versions of it in cookbooks everywhere. Basically, it's three things: salty, sweet, acidic. Soy sauce, mirin, rice vinegar. Soy sauce, maple syrup, lemon. Salt, honey, cider vinegar. It's a perfect flavor balance. Then you add whatever extras you want, like ginger and garlic.

So when I was going to make sesame noodles with chicken, the easiest thing to do was to slice the chicken breasts into large slivers, marinate them in the magical marinade and broil them quickly on each side while I made the noodles.

This is a perfect mothership meal: the noodles are the base, with chicken, scallions, cucumbers, red peppers, broccoli, what-have-you, as the satellites. Put it all out on the table, and let everyone eat. If your kids like the sesame noodles, they're great in lunches, too.

Sesame Noodles

1/4 cups peanut butter
* 2 Tbs. sesame oil
* 2 Tbs. soy sauce
* 1 Tbs. rice vinegar
* 1 Tbs. honey
* 1 tsp. ginger, grated
* 1 clove garlic, minced
* 1 package thin noodles, cooked according to package directions

* 2 scallions, chopped finely
* 1 cucumber, peeled, seeds scooped out, and chopped
* Other vegetables as desired: snow peas, small broccoli florets, thinly sliced red peppers, etc.


1. Mix the first seven ingredients in a small pot over low heat until smooth.
2. Add to the cooked noodles, and toss gently and thoroughly.
3. Serve cold, warm, or at room temperature, with garnish on the side.

Quick Broiled Chicken Breasts
Two chicken breasts. Slice into fat slivers.
Mix with Magical Marinade of my youth: equal parts soy sauce, mirin and rice vinegar, and some minced ginger and garlic. Marinate for at least 20 minutes. Broil on both sides until done.


Anonymous said...

Sounds wonderful. One question - What exactly does "slice into fat slivers" mean for the raw chicken breasts? Cutting into strips prior to broiling?

Larissa Phillips said...

I cut them before I broiled them to make them cook faster, and to give them more surface-to-marinade contact. You can broil them first if you prefer. Thanks for visiting!