Fuchsia Dunlop, the author of The Food of Sichuan, who loves our Sichuan pepper oils, kindly introduced our products to Christine McFadden, a well-established food writer in Dorset, England, who has published numerous cookbooks. She experimented with our Sichuan pepper oils and developed recipes for us. We are sharing this delicious tingling chicken noodle salad from her.
A perfect summer treat, this dish is a glorious mix of contrasting textures and flavors – tingling Sichuan pepper oil combined with sweet crunchy cashews, cooling cucumber and mint, zesty lime and tender noodles. We have used soba noodles (buckwheat). Udon noodles (wheat) would work just as well. Taste before serving, wait for the tingle, then sprinkle with more tingling oil if you’d like to ramp things up.
for the marinade:
- soy sauce 1tbsp
- rice wine or dry sherry or Shaoxin wine 1tbsp
- sea salt 1/4 tsp
for the dressing:
- soy sauce 2.5tbsp
- sugar 1tbsp
- sea salt a sprinkle
- freshly ground black pepper a sprinkle
- toasted sesame oil 3tbsp
- Red Sichuan pepper oil 1 tsp or to taste
for the salad:
- boneless chicken thigh 450g in total
- cashew nuts 5tbsp, chopped roughly
- brown sugar 3/4 tsp
- dried chili peppers 2-3
- sea salt 1/2 tsp, some extra for seasoning the stir-fried chicken
- lime finely grated zest of a large one
- soba noodles 100g
- neutral oil 2tbsp
- cucumber 1/2
- cabbage 1/3 (sliced lengthways)
- green onion 3 large
- mint leaves large handful, stem discarded
- cilantro leaves large handful, stem discarded
- Whisk the marinade and dressing ingredients in separate bowls.
- Slice the chicken into neat strips measuring about 1cm x 4cm. Spread out in a shallow dish, mix with the marinade, tossing to coat, then set aside.
- Bring a large saucepan of water to the boil for the noodles.
- While the water is coming to the boil, mix the chopped cashews, sugar, sea salt and lime zest in a small bowl.
- Add the noodles to the boiling water and cook according to the packet instructions. Once cooked, tip into a colander and drain under cold running water. Shake off as much water as possible, then use scissors to snip into slightly shorter lengths. (Shortening will make the noodles easier to mix with the other salad ingredients.) Spread out to dry on a paper towel-lined tray and put them in fridge to chill.
- Next cook the chicken. Heat the neutral oil in a medium-sized wok or frying pan until almost smoking. Throw in the chili peppers and fry for 30s. Throw in the chicken and marinade liquid and stir-fry over high heat (stirring constantly) for about 6 minutes. Season with a sprinkle of sea salt and freshly ground black pepper. Drain the juice and tip the chicken onto a plate and leave to cool.
- While the chicken is cooling, halve the cucumber lengthways, scoop out the seeds in the middle and slice it into a crescent shape. Thickly slice cabbage and green onions. Put all the prepared veg in a large serving bowl along with the mint and cilantro leaves.
- Add the cooled noodles to the bowl. Whisk the dressing again and pour about two-thirds of it over the salad. Use your hands to mix and toss gently to distribute the noodles among the greenery.
- Scatter the chicken over the top, then strew with the cashew nut mixture. Pour over the rest of the dressing. Leave for a few minutes then check the seasoning and add more tingle if you like.