OK, so it’s hot. Summer has finally arrived in upstate New York, and while I LOVE hot summer weather, I do NOT love to heat up the house cooking an elaborate meal. We’ve used the grill a few times already so tonight was a quick stove top meal that came together in about 20 minutes and was full of flavor and great textures!
I made these with my chef friend Laura Whalen on our foodie weekend for a little snack. They became dinner for us tonight! This is a very quick and easy “concept” kind of recipe, no measurements, just a few techniques and away you go! It was based on a recipe from a great cookbook author Donna Hay from Australia. She is a kitchen goddess!
Part of the fun in making this meal is shopping for it. All the ingredients except for the chicken come from the Asian food market. If you’ve never been to one, be prepared for lots of brightly colored packages with names of things that you have never seen! It’s a great adventure to look things over and try to guess what they are and how to use them! I had stopped a few days ago in anticipation of making this recipe so I had all the ingredients on hand.
For this recipe,you don’t need anything too funky. First you need some rice noodles.
The noodles are dry and brittle when they come out of the package and you need to soften them for this recipe by soaking them in cold water for a few minutes.
Once the noodles are soft and pliable, you just grab some strands and wind them around a few fingers to make nests, and then drop each nest into a hot saute pan filmed with a neutral oil like safflower or canola. Pan sear each nest until the noodles become crispy on the bottom, flip them over and complete the process. Remove to a paper towel lined sheet to cool.
Tonight I seared boneless skinless chicken breasts that were seasoned with salt and pepper and then finished them in the oven while I completed all the nests and got everything assembled. You could grill the chicken or just use a rotisserie chicken if it’s too hot!
The remaining ingredients are sweet and spicy chile sauce. and Thai basil which is really peppery and pungent compared to Italian basil.
To assemble the nests, simply place a slice of chicken breast on the noodle nest, add some chile sauce and top with a few leaves of basil. Couldn’t be simpler. These taste great served at room temperature so you can make all the components and eat when you are ready.
This quick dinner got three double thumbs up from the kids tonight! There are some great tastes and textures going on between the crispy, chewy noodles, the moist, tender chicken, the sweet and spicy sauce and the peppery bite of the basil. It’s like a party in your mouth!
Give it a try!