This chicken noodle salad recipe with sesame dressing, pan-roasted peanuts and fresh fragrant coriander makes a cold noodle salad that’s made with buckwheat noodles and shredded poached chicken, doused in a sesame dressing, and textured with crunchy pan-roasted peanuts, sesame seeds and fresh fragrant coriander. Served chilled, this noodle salad is ideal for summer and spring, and can be warmed in winter and autumn.
This chicken noodle salad recipe with sesame dressing, pan-roasted peanuts and fresh fragrant coriander makes my delicious take on what must have been one of the most popular salads of the 2022 northern hemisphere summer that’s soon coming to an end.
But don’t fret as this is a versatile year-round dish. You can present it chilled, which you’ll want to do on a hot day, but you can also serve it up as a warm salad, which essentially turns it into a noodle dish, when it will call for a runny soft-boiled egg or two.
It’s super easy to make, coming together in half an hour, which will see it getting filed in this collection of noodle recipes made in 30 minutes or less, as well as this compilation of our best poached chicken breast recipes.
Now before I tell you more about this chicken noodle salad recipe with sesame dressing, pan-roasted peanuts and fresh fragrant coriander, I have a favour to ask. Grantourismo is reader-funded. If you’ve cooked our recipes and enjoyed them, please consider supporting Grantourismo by supporting our epic Cambodian cuisine history and cookbook on Patreon, which you can do for as little as the price of a coffee. Or you could buy us a coffee and we’ll use our coffee money to buy cooking ingredients for recipe testing.
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Lastly, you could browse our Grantourismo store for gifts for food lovers, including food themed reusable cloth face masks designed with Terence’s images. Now let me tell you all about this chicken noodle salad recipe with sesame dressing, pan-roasted peanuts and fresh fragrant coriander.
Chicken Noodle Salad Recipe with Sesame Dressing, Pan Roasted Peanuts and Coriander
You’ll often see this genre of recipe simply called a chicken noodle salad recipe or cold noodle salad recipe as the noodles don’t always come with chicken. I’m not sure if that’s because the writer isn’t certain of the origin of these cold noodle salads or, as many of the recipes are a fusion of sorts (as mine is), they aren’t sure what provenance to give it.
I also get the sense that recipe developers and food bloggers might be reluctant to call this an Asian noodle salad recipe and risk the wrath of the internet gods who can sometimes be too quick to make accusations of reductionism, misrepresentation, cultural appropriation or, worse, erasure, if proper credit isn’t given where it’s due.
And having said that, I have seen instances where the accusers are misguided because they haven’t done enough research themselves or don’t have first-hand experience of cooking or eating the dish in its place of origin, which I’ve observed often in relation to dishes from Southeast Asia, where we’ve lived for 12 years.
So I’d really encourage recipe writers and bloggers to do some research into their new favourite recipe and identify its possible origins, even if they aren’t a hundred percent sure – especially after the whole Alison Roman ‘chickpea stew’ controversy a couple of years ago, when the then New York Times recipe contributor was accused of cultural appropriation by not acknowledging the source of her dish.
Roman’s spiced chickpea stew with coconut and turmeric – which became so internet-famous it was simply called #thestew – was thought to have most probably been ‘inspired by’ a South Indian chickpea dish or a similar Caribbean chickpea stew. From memory, the New York Times edited the intro text to say it “evoked” those dishes.
And I do get that not everyone is like me – not everyone is into culinary history and wants to read the story behind the dish. Many people simply want a list of ingredients and instructions. Let those people scroll – or click on a ‘jump to recipe’ button. Or keep your intro to the dish to a paragraph or two.
Because to not provide some context and not acknowledge the origin of a recipe and the particularity of a dish is a form of misrepresentation. While home cooks aren’t expected to introduce a meal with a story, if you’re a successful food blogger making an income from your site, to not do so is a form of culinary appropriation regardless of how popular that dish has become that everyone is cooking it.
So let me tell me you a little about this chicken noodle salad recipe – or cold noodle salad recipe because you can skip the chicken to create a vegetarian version.
There’s a whole tradition of cold noodle salads in Asia, which is why you could in fact call it an Asian chicken noodle salad – and risk being accused of reductionism!
Here in Southeast Asia, in Cambodia and in Vietnam, there’s a cold noodle dish with a sweet and sour sauce made from coconut cream and fish sauce, that is often served with pork and fresh fragrant herbs. I’m going to share those recipes soon.
In China and East Asia, in Japan, Korea and Taiwan, there’s also a genre of cold noodle salad recipes that are each a little different to the other – they’re what we call ‘same same but different’ here in Southeast Asia – yet they tend to share a few features including the use of soba or buckwheat noodles, a sesame dressing and julienned cucumber.
It’s this cold noodle salad that’s become increasingly popular in recent years, reaching its pinnacle this summer, when it seemed to become the salad of the season. My chicken noodle salad recipe is based on that Chinese-East Asian cold noodle salad, but, because we live in Cambodia, I’ve added a few Southeast Asian elements: sliced red chillies, pan-roasted peanuts and fresh aromatic coriander.
I’m going to share more ‘authentic’ Chinese and Japanese cold noodle salad recipes, so I’ll tell you more then and will link from here to those recipes when they’re published. Just a few tips to making my chicken noodle salad recipe with sesame dressing, pan-roasted peanuts and fresh coriander.
Tips to Making this Chicken Noodle Salad Recipe with Sesame Dressing, Peanuts and Coriander
As usual, I only have a few tips to making this chicken noodle salad recipe with sesame dressing, pan-roasted peanuts and fresh coriander.
I’ve got tips to poaching chicken breasts in the introduction to our round-up of best poached chicken breast recipes but our most important piece of advice is to use a digital kitchen meat thermometer to check the internal temperature of the chicken breasts. Make sure to poke the thermometer it into the thickest parts of the breasts. When it reaches 74°C/ 165˚F remove the chicken breasts straight away.
If you’re making a cold chicken noodle salad, set the chicken aside to cool down, but if you’re making a warm chicken ‘salad’, do the noodles first, so they’re ready at the same time, pull the chicken apart while it’s still warm using two forks.
You could use store-bought roasted peanuts. We love Thailand’s Tong Garden, the makers of Tong Garden salted peanuts, the crunchiest peanuts in the world (seriously, try them).
But we usually buy raw peanuts and pan-roast them ourselves. Terence likes to dry roast them but I like to do them in a tablespoon of neutral cooking oil because I like the shine and colour. To peel or not to peel them? That’s up to you. We pan-roast them in one of these adorable little non-stick single-egg pans on high heat for a minute, continuously shaking the pan so they’re constantly turning. They can burn very quickly, so transfer them to a cold dish the second they’ve browned.
My chicken noodle salad recipe calls for dark soy sauce, but you could use light. I note that some recipes call for peanut oil, but I prefer sesame oil. Chinese sesame paste (not tahini) is a must, as are sesame seeds.
I like fresh hot red chillies, but you could use the long mild red chillies. If I don’t have any fresh chillies in the fridge, I’ll sprinkle on some chilli flakes or chilli powder, or drizzle on some of Terence’s homemade Szechuan chilli oil (recipe here).
Chicken Noodle Salad Recipe with Sesame Dressing, Pan Roasted Peanuts and Coriander
- 2 chicken breasts , poached, shredded
- 1 knob of fresh ginger , peeled and sliced
- 120 g buckwheat noodles
- 2 tbsp sesame oil
- 3 tbsp Chinese sesame paste
- 2 tbsp dark soy sauce
- 2 tbsp rice vinegar
- 1 garlic clove minced
- 1 tsp palm sugar or brown or white sugar
- 1 tsp sea salt
- 1 cucumber shredded to look like noodles
- 3 scallions or spring onions finely sliced
- 1 red chilli fresh, deseeded and sliced
- 2 tbsp peanuts pan roasted
- 1 tbsp sesame seeds black and white
- 1 tbsp fresh coriander fresh, leaves only
- Poach the chicken breasts: place the chicken breasts in a pot large enough so they’re sitting beside each other on the bottom of the pot; pour in just enough water to cover the chicken pieces and add the ginger slices; bring the water to a boil, then immediately reduce the heat to low and simmer until when you poke a thermometer into the widest part of the breast the internal temperature reaches 74°C (165°F). Remove the chicken breasts and when they’re cool enough to touch, shred the chicken pieces into strips using your hands or two forks and set aside to cool.
- While the chicken is poaching, boil the noodles in a big pot of salted water according to the instructions on the packet, then drain, rinse under cool water, transfer to a cold mixing bowl, douse in a tablespoon of sesame oil, ensuring the noodles are completely coated, and refrigerate until ready to assemble.
- Prepare the salad dressing: to a jar with lid, add a tablespoon of sesame oil, Chinese sesame paste, dark soy sauce, rice vinegar, minced ginger and garlic, sugar and salt, screw the lid on and shake the jar vigorously. Taste and adjust the seasoning if needed.
- Assemble the salad: to the noodles, add the shredded chicken, cucumber ‘noodles’, sliced scallions, sliced red chillies, half the pan-roasted peanuts, sesame seeds and fresh coriander, and the dressing, and combine well. Refrigerate to chill if you're not ready to eat it yet.
- Just before serving, transfer it to a salad bowl or serving plate, sprinkle with the other half of the pan-roasted peanuts, sesame seeds and fresh coriander, and serve immediately.
Please do let us know in the comments below if you make this chicken noodle salad recipe with sesame dressing, pan-roasted peanuts and fresh fragrant coriander as we’d love to hear how it turned out for you.