Chinese New Year is a huge holiday in Asia — people get a whole week off and eat tons of food (basically like Thanksgiving!) But, here in Texas in school, I still had to go to work anyway.
According to the Chinese zodiac, this is the year of the horse (my year!). As a horse, I’m popular, intelligent, pretty, and free spirited…just like every person in my class. Although I follow chinese superstitions like wearing red and eating noodles, I just never got into astrology, Asian or Western. Still, it’s interesting to check it out.
In Chinese astrology there twelve zodiac animals, and most people are aware they’re assigned by year. But, apparently you’re also assigned an animal by month (inner animals), by day (true animals) and hours (secret animals). There’s also different elements (wood, fire, water, metal) depending on the year. It gets even more complicated but you can read here for way more detail.
As it was Chinese New Year, I had to make noodles for long life of course. This is a nice easy dish adapted from Once Upon a Chef and you can scale it up easily. Cooked pasta is freezable, so I saved half for another day.
I personally prefer my food hot, but you can eat this Asian chicken noodle salad cold. Which is great because our apartment microwave just broke, and we have to wait two weeks for a new one.
Asian Chicken Noodle Salad
6 chicken breasts (or any cooked shredded meat)
1 tablespoon olive oil
salt and black pepper
10 oz soba noodles (or spaghetti)
2 red bell peppers, thinly sliced
4 scallions, sliced
1/2 cup chopped peanuts
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
2 tablespoons sesame seeds
6 tablespoons soy sauce
4 tablespoons seasoned rice wine vinegar
2 tablespoons sesame oil
2 tablespoons creamy peanut butter
4 small garlic cloves, minced
2 tablespoons minced fresh ginger
2 tablespoon sugar
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
Place the chicken breasts on a foil lined sheet pan. Rub the skin with oil and sprinkle liberally with salt, pepper, and ginger. Roast for 20-30 minutes, until the chicken is just cooked. Slice or shred, then set aside.
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Cook noodles according to package instructions. Drain and rinse well under cold water.
Make the dressing by combining all ingredients in a small bowl.
In a large bowl, toss shredded chicken with noodles, dressing, bell peppers, peanuts, scallions, cilantro and sesame seeds. Taste and adjust seasoning if necessary. Serve immediately.