Grilled Lemongrass Chicken with Rice Noodle Salad
The level of diet restrictions among today’s consumers can be a bit intimidating when hosting a dinner party these days. I have found that sticking to a ‘soy-less’ Asian menu typically allows just about everyone who has a restricted diet something to enjoy. There are so many Asian ingredients that are flavorful and healthy.
Rice noodles are naturally gluten free and low in calories. They can be served hot or cold. These noodles cook in just one minute so if you are serving these noodles in a soup, add them right before you serve the soup. We like them cold so after boiling them for the one minute, they must be rinsed in cold water immediately to stop the cooking process. To keep them from sticking together add the salad dressing once they are rinsed and squeezed dried.
Lemongrass is an interesting ingredient. Only the tender pale inner core is used. It has a very light lemony flavor and adds great dimension to a marinade. Since lemongrass is relatively hard, it must be minced very finely. I cut off the top third of the stalk and the bottom inch of the end. I then peel off the next two layers and slice thinly the remaining core. At this point, I mince the slices as finely as I can.
Although this dish has sesame seeds in it (nut allergies beware), this noodle dish appealed to everyone at the table, even the vegetarians who ate just the noodles. It was flavorful as well as light and refreshing. The dressing and the noodle salad can be made ahead and chilled. With the chicken breasts needing only need 30 minutes to marinate, this dish is a snap to put together.
6 chicken breast halves, butterflied or pounded to an even thickness
2 stalks of lemongrass, finely minced
1/3 cup of canola oil
Salt & Pepper to taste
In a Pyrex dish, mix the lemongrass, oil and salt & pepper. Toss the chicken breasts until fully coated in the marinade. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes. Over a charcoal grill, grill the chicken breasts for about 3 minutes per sides or until done over indirect heat.
Ginger Carrot Salad Dressing
3 Tablespoon of white miso (Shiro)
3 Tablespoons of canola oil
¼ cup of grated carrot- I used a Microplane
1 Tablespoon of grated ginger, I used a Microplane
1 Tablespoon of seasoned rice vinegar
1Tablespoon of toasted sesame seeds
1 teaspoon of honey
1 teaspoon of sesame seed oil
3 Tablespoons of water
Put all the ingredients in a jar with a tight fitting lid and shake vigorously. Refrigerate until ready to use.
Rice Noodle Salad
6 oz. bag of Rice Sticks (rice vermicelli noodles)
1 large cucumber, peeled, seeded and thinly sliced
2 green onions, sliced thinly
½ cup of cilantro, minced
1 jalapeno, seeded, ribs removed and chopped
I like to cut the rice noodles into 3 inch pieces with a pair of kitchen scissors. Add the 3 inch pieces to boiling water for one minute. Drain and rinse. Squeeze out excess water and add to the bowl. Add the next 4 ingredients with the salad dressing and toss well. Refrigerate until ready to serve.
Garnish – optional
Seedless Watermelon, diced
Toasted sesame seeds
To assemble – place a portion of the noodle salad on a plate. Top with grilled chicken breast, add the watermelon and the toasted sesame seeds and serve.