Cold noodles with sesame sauce and chicken

Cold noodles with sesame sauce and chicken

The Real Food of China
Leanne Kitchen

A great way to present this dish is to have all the various ingredients prepared and assembled in bowls on the table; guests can then help themselves to as much or as little of what they want, and mix it all together, to taste. This recipe is inspired by a classic Sichuanese dish and makes a terrific cold summer meal when the weather is sultry. Add blanched shreds of carrot or some finely sliced radish for extra zing and colour if you want. Fans of heat can add a drizzle of chilli oil and a sprinkle of ground toasted Sichuan peppercorns for a nice, numbing edge.


Quantity Ingredient
500g fresh, thin wheat noodles

Sesame sauce

Quantity Ingredient
80ml chinese sesame paste, plus 2 tablespoons oil from the jar
1 tablespoon dark soy sauce
1 1/2 tablespoons light soy sauce
2 1/2 tablespoons red rice vinegar
1 tablespoon caster sugar
1 tablespoon sichuan chilli bean paste, or to taste


Quantity Ingredient
2 boneless chicken breasts, skin on
270g mung bean sprouts
4 spring onions, finely sliced
1 large handful coriander sprigs


  1. To prepare the accompaniments, place the chicken in a saucepan and add enough water to just cover. Very slowly bring the chicken to a simmer over a medium–low heat, then reduce the heat to very low just as bubbles start to break the surface; simmer for 30 minutes. The water should tremble and not simmer hard or the chicken will be tough — place the pan on a simmer pad if necessary. Remove the pan from the heat and leave the chicken in the liquid for 1 hour, or until cooked through and cooled slightly. Remove the chicken, reserving the stock for another use. Remove and discard the skin, then use your hands to very finely shred the chicken. Place in a serving bowl.
  2. Bring a saucepan of water to the boil, add the bean sprouts, then bring the water back to the boil. Cook the sprouts for 2–3 minutes, or until wilted, then drain and refresh under cold running water. Drain well, then spread the sprouts on paper towel to absorb the remaining water. Place in a serving bowl. Put the spring onions and coriander sprigs in separate serving bowls.
  3. To make the sesame sauce, put all the ingredients in a bowl and whisk until smooth and well combined. Pour into a serving jug.
  4. Cook the noodles in a saucepan of boiling water for 2–3 minutes (or according to the packet instructions), or until softened. Drain, then cool under running water. Drain again, then divide among large bowls. Serve the noodles with the accompaniments and sesame sauce for diners to add and mix their own, to taste.
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