I've been trying to be more responsible about bringing my lunch to campus this summer, because my schedule has just made it far too easy to grab various healthy and less-than-healthy (but almost invariably too expensive) lunches at school. This was one of my first attempts, a cold noodle salad. I wanted to try this recipe for a couple of reasons. First, the sesame noodles at Jamba Juice are one of my go-to lunches when I'm in a hurry, and I thought this might be a somewhat similar recipe, at least in spirit. Second, I was eager to try out fresh udon noodles, which I've never cooked with before. Luckily they were very easy to locate at the grocery store, in the Asian aisle -- of course, your mileage may vary here. I think you could easily substitute other noodles here with good results. And finally, I was determined to use some recipes from a food magazine - I'm so obsessed with these magazines, but it can be hard to remember to use the recipes from them!
So, how was the noodle salad? Overall, it was tasty, although this sauce was not my favorite. It was certainly tasty, but I think I would have preferred something a little milder with more of a sesame kick. I would also increase the number of veggies if I did this again - maybe adding some red bell peppers for more color and crunch. But, it was fantastic to learn about using fresh udon noodles. They were very easy to prepare and came out with the perfect texture, plus the texture held up in the fridge overnight without becoming mushy. Verdict: a good lunch, and I would make this dish again with a different sauce and more veggies.
Udon Chicken Salad with Snap Peas (adapted from Bon Appetit)
For the sauce:
1/4 cup + 2 T olive oil
1/4 cup + 2 T mango chutney
3 T unseasoned rice vinegar
2 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
3 tsp soy sauce
2 tsp toasted sesame oil
3/4 tsp Dijon mustard
3/4 tsp crushed red pepper
Combine all the ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
For the salad:
6 ounces stringless sugar snap peas, cut in half
7-ounce package fresh udon noodles
1 tsp toasted sesame oil
1 chicken breast half, seasoned with salt and pepper and cooked through
Bring a pot of water to a boil and salt it. Add the peas and cook for 2 minutes, until crisp-tender. Drain, and run under cold water to stop the cooking.
Bring another pot of water to a boil and add the noodles. Cook 3 minutes, drain, and run under cold water. Place in a bowl and toss with sesame oil.
Cut the chicken into strips or bite-sized pieces. Toss the peas, noodles, and chicken with the sauce.