Chicken Salad with Crispy Rice Noodles
Gluten-free, lactose-free, FODMAP friendly
Not a standard comfort food in my part of the US, but a refreshing break from the ordinary. My grandmother’s caregiver from the Philippines made this salad with shredded raw cabbage and raw, pulverized ramen noodles. Grandma loved it, and so did we. Here’s a new version.
- 2 cooked chicken breast halves, chilled
- 1 cup cooked sliced carrots and/or thinly sliced cabbage, chilled (If you can digest raw vegetables, you may substitute shredded raw carrots and/or cabbage*)
- 4 green onions, tops only, sliced thin (or 2 Tbsp snipped chives)
- 3 or 4 sprigs minced fresh parsley
- 3 Tbsp coarsely chopped almonds
- 1/8-1/4 package thin dried rice noodles (also called “Rice Sticks” or “Py Mai Fun,” usually available in the grocery store’s Asian section, near the sesame oil)
- ¾ to 1 cup oil for frying (grapeseed is excellent; just make sure your oil of choice will take high heat without smoking)
- Dressing: 1/8 tsp black pepper, 1/8 tsp salt, 1/2 Tbsp extra-light olive oil, 1 Tbsp sesame oil, 1 1/2 Tbsp vinegar, 1/2 Tbsp sugar or sugar-dextrose blend. Optional: 1 or 2 drops garlic-infused olive oil.
- Assemble all ingredients. If you don’t have cooked chicken breasts on hand, broil and chill them.
- Combine chilled cooked carrots and/or cabbage, green onions or chives, parsley, and almonds in your serving bowl. Shred the chilled chicken breasts, toss them with the vegetables, and slip the serving bowl into the refrigerator while you fry the noodles.
- Mix dressing with a wire whisk in a small bowl.
- Now for the fun: Pull out 1/8 to ¼ of the package of thin rice noodles, and snip them into 2- to 3-inch lengths. Pour about ¼” of cooking oil into a wok or a small to medium frying pan (smaller pan = less oil is required). Heat the oil over medium-high heat for at least a minute.
- The oil needs to be extremely hot for crisping the noodles, so take a longish noodle and dip one end into the oil for about ten seconds. If it simply turns clear, the oil isn’t hot enough. Snip off the end you tested and let the oil heat some more. Spread one or two paper towels on a plate to receive the crisped noodles.
- You’ll know the oil is hot enough when the test noodle startles you by bubbling and then expanding, puffing, and twisting. Turn down the heat to medium.
- Have long-handled tongs and a slotted spoon ready. Gently—and I recommend wearing an apron!—drop small handfuls of snipped noodles into the hot oil, let them puff up (it takes just a few seconds), turn with the tongs or slotted spoon so the rest of them can contact the hot oil, and then remove to the paper towel-lined plate. Drop in a few more noodles. Repeat until everything is puffed and crispy.
- Let the noodles drain briefly on the paper towels, then sprinkle over the chicken and vegetables, add dressing, and serve.