Chicken and noodle salad with Sichuan pepper

Neil Perry
Chicken and Udon Noodle salad with Chilli and Sichuan Pepper.
Chicken and Udon Noodle salad with Chilli and Sichuan Pepper. Photo: William Meppem

This high-impact flavour bomb will spice up any chilly evening.

Ingredients

Chicken and noodle salad

2 free-range chicken breasts, about 500g total weight

200g udon noodles

½ cup coriander leaves

1 tbsp sesame seeds, toasted

Chilli pepper dressing

1 tbsp peanut oil

1 tsp Sichuan peppercorns, plus extra to serve

4 dried long red chillies

1 tsp finely chopped garlic

1 tsp finely chopped ginger

1 tbsp chilli bean paste

1 tbsp sweet bean paste

2 tsp Shaoxing wine

100ml chicken stock

1 tsp dark soy sauce

Method

The simple white cooked chicken for the noodles is great on rice with a little light soy and chillies. Add roast peanuts for crunch and it's a simple, delicious lunch. Serve with some steamed rice and stir-fried water spinach with garlic and this is a feast for a lazy Sunday afternoon. The master stock can be also reused – just strain and freeze, then boil for another use, adding a little water.

1. For the chilli pepper dressing, place a wok over high heat and add the oil. When the oil is hot, add the Sichuan peppercorns and chillies and stir-fry until fragrant. Add the garlic, ginger, chilli bean paste and sweet bean paste and stir-fry for 2 minutes. Pour in the rest of the ingredients, stirring to combine and deglaze the wok. Remove from the heat and allow to come to room temperature.

2. Bring 1 litre of salted water to the boil, place the chicken breasts in the boiling water, simmer for 1 minute and then cover and remove pot from the heat and allow the chicken to cool in the water. Remove the chicken once the water is cool and pat dry – it should be moist and cooked through. Shred chicken.

3. Bring another pot of salted water to the boil, cook the udon noodles until they are just al dente, around 5 minutes, and refresh in iced water.

4. In a bowl, toss the noodles in half the dressing and put in a large bowl. Place shredded chicken on top, pour the rest of the dressing over, sprinkle with coriander and sesame seeds.

Tip: Chilli and sweet bean pastes can be found in Chinese food stores (look for the Fu Chi brand for the latter), as can pickled chillies.