It’s a bit strange that I don’t make enough simple meals here on the blog. In fact I was quite surprised myself when I made this noodle dish. I managed to finish cooking it in less than 20 minutes, including prep time. At the end I literally went, ‘Wait a minute. That’s it?’ I guess I’m just too used to baking and dessert recipes– you know, those that always take at least 30 minutes especially if they have several components. There are the cakes that need time to bake up then cool before they can be meticulously frosted. There are the yeasted bread recipes I so love to make, usually requiring some 20-minute kneading time, 40 to 60-minute++ rising time, with some resting time and even cooling time… You get the drift. Suddenly here we are with a recipe that takes almost no time at all to put together. By my standards anyway.
Which is why I guess it amazed me even more than it probably would other people who cook regularly. That just tells me I really should cook a bit more to try to balance out all the baking that I do.
Truth be told this is a recipe that I am happy to now have in my arsenal. It’s something so quick and easy that I can prepare this in a pinch when I’m left at home alone with no food, starving. I am really terrible company when I’m hungry, I can tell you that much. My mood gets largely affected by an empty stomach!
Aside from the easiness of this recipe, the best part is that is soooo good. The flavours that hit your tastebuds when you take a bite of these noodles make it seem like the sauce is complex. There’s the dominant peanut, a little bit of the chilli, then there’s also that beautiful fresh and crunchy bell pepper taste that seems to complete this dish. Of course to elevate the freshness factor, adding basil or cilantro is a definite must! I usually just pluck basil from our garden here at home but I’m thinking that cilantro is a better fit since these flavours are a bit oriental in nature. The sauce is peanut-based with hints of sesame oil and chilli after all.
I tweaked the recipe just the tiniest bit from Pinch of Yum‘s. I love that blog. I’ve bookmarked so many of the recipes from there but this might be the first or second time I actually tried one in the kitchen. I simply couldn’t resist this particular one. I’m a sucker for Asian-inspired noodles. I don’t tend to go for dry Asian noodles (no soup, I mean) but just the idea of this made me crave for it though I’ve never tried it before. It’s every bit as good as I imagined!
Originally these noodles are labeled as a salad, meaning they can be served hot or cold. I prefer them hot though. I just didn’t enjoy them as much cold because the noodles got a bit clumpy and the sauce became a little bit dry. While the noodles were hot… Well that for me was a different story. Regardless of whether you serve these hot or cold, I can assure you they will be gobbled up in record time. Just ask my brothers.
This recipe requires soba noodles but I suppose regular spaghetti can be used. I took this opportunity to use this organic soba brand I found from Rustan’s Supermarket. The brand is Hakubaku and they have a selection of different kinds of Japanese noodles. It’s actually quite good and I recommend it! I love it enough that I’ve stocked my pantry up with other varieties. You’ll find them in the imported Asian aisle in Rustan’s.
Maybe the only thing I would watch out for in this recipe is not to overcook the chicken. I really hate it when chicken is dry. Also, when making the sauce, adjust the Sriracha according to taste. The sauce when tasted out of the blender or processor tends to be strong on the peanut flavour, but trust me, once it’s been mixed in with the noodles and the veggies, it will be perfect. I wouldn’t recommend omitting the spiciness altogether as it adds a great kick to this dish, so add just a little if you’re not such a big lover of spicy food. You can also use jalapenos just like the original recipe, but when it’s not available then hot sauce is your next best friend!
Spicy Peanut & Chicken Soba
For the Spicy Peanut Sauce
- 5 tablespoons peanut butter
- 5 tablespoons water
- 5 tablespoons low sodium soy sauce
- 2 tablespoons sesame oil
- 2 tablespoons honey
- 1 tablespoon white vinegar
- 1 teaspoon minced garlic
- 1 to 2 Tablespoons Sriracha
- 450 grams boneless skinless chicken breasts
- 1 each red, green, and yellow bell pepper
- 250 grams uncooked soba noodles
- fresh cilantro or basil, to taste
- ½ cup chopped peanuts, optional
- 1. Puree all the ingredients for the Spicy Peanut Sauce in a food processor or blender, until well-blended, smooth, and thick.
- 2. Bring a large pot of water to boil. Place the chicken in the water and reduce to a simmer. Cover and cook for 15 minutes or until chicken is no longer pink and cooked through. (Don't overcook so as not to dry out the chicken.) Once chicken is cool enough to handle, shred or slice into long thin slices. Set aside.
- 3. Cut the bell peppers into thin long strips, the size that will make it easy to eat with your fork.
- 4. Cook the soba noodles according to package directions. Drain and immediately toss with the chicken, veggies, fresh cilantro or basil, and Spicy Peanut Sauce. Sprinkle with some chopped peanuts, if desired. Serve hot or cold.