Friday, February 25, 2011

Chicken rice noodles from Asian-inspired surrounds

While traipsing around my neighbourhood (the suburb of Balmain in Sydney, to be precise), I noticed yet again the number of Asian restaurants along the main street.  Thai, Vietnamese, Chinese, Japanese, Indian, mix of other south-east Asian - they are all well represented, along with a pub on every corner. I'd say that Balmain's heyday (trendiness-wise) was more than 10 years ago, and the suburb is waiting for a gourmet revival, like Surry Hills or Neutral Bay, so we are yet to encounter trendoid tapas, churrasco, whole lamb on a spit, and the like.

Then I got to thinking: what cuisines are popular in other countries, and does a country's proximity to a particular area (like south-east Asia) have a bearing on the restaurants that do well? Of course, serving good food is also a pre-requisite to doing well, something that our local restaurants have not heeded... If you live in the UK, or USA, or Germany, or Brazil or anywhere else, what food is most popular for takeaway/takeout? Please don't say fast food!

Which brings me to tonight's dinner - it's another Asian-inspired dish, sort of like pad thai. It's just something thrown together with random ingredients and a semblance of a recipe. Actually, there is no recipe as such, but I've written one out anyway.

Chicken with Rice Noodles
serves 2

120g dried flat rice noodles
3 chicken thigh fillets
2 tblsp sweet chilli sauce
1 tblsp lemon juice
1 clove garlic, crushed
1 tsp vegetable oil
1 tsp soy sauce
50g cashews or peanuts, lightly crushed
2 spring onions, chopped

1. Marinate the chicken: Mix together the sweet chilli sauce, lemon juice and garlic, then place the chicken into the marinade and leave for 15 minutes.
2.  Place the rice noodles in a large bowl and cover with boiling water. Leave for 5 minutes, or until the noodles have softened.  Rinse with cold water, then drain well.
3.  Heat the vegetable oil in a frypan over high heat and cook the chicken for about 5 minutes, until cooked through. Remove the chicken from the pan and slice into strips.
4.  Reduce the heat and place the noodles in the frypan, mix in the soy sauce and quickly stirfry for 30 seconds.
5.  To serve, place the rice noodles in a bowl, mix through the spring onions, top with the chicken and cashews. 

Ingredients, including sweet chilli sauce, cashews, rice noodles and spring onions

There's a little bit of heat in the chicken from the sweet chilli sauce, but feel free to add more sauce before serving

The cashews add a crunchy finishing touch to this tasty dish.


  1. looks like an awesome easy summer dinner dish, perfect for whipping up after a long day at work!

  2. Beautiful photos! I'd like to be living in the USA where amazing Mexican food seems to be available everywhere (well, in the states close to Mexico that is). Our Asian food offerings are 1000 times better than the USA though...lucky for us.

  3. Hey Bel! I missed seeing awesome things like this on your blog (smile but seriously). I'm a sucker for rice noodles, so this looks incredibly scrumptious to me. Oh, and I try not to get too caught up with food trends.
    Ooh, and most popular food to takeout here in Florida? I'd say Chinese or Thai. It's Americanized Chinese though, and I'd have to chime in with you when it comes to restaurants not heeding the idea of wholesome, well executed food!

  4. I've made something similar to this before with leftover roast duck. Actually, tossing everything together with noodles whether stir-fried or in soup seems to be my answer to using up leftovers!

  5. This is definitely super pad thai-esque. I love anything rice noodle-y. Especially when its infused with some sweet chili sauce. you just made my day.

  6. thats a very summer and yummy dish. I love the how you add some chrnchy nuts on top

  7. haha def looks like pad thai! yum!~
    i find it hard to write out recipes for things that i throw together for dinner too! esp if measurements are rough estimates! haha
    great pics as always!

  8. Looks so tasty! Kebabs and fish and chips in the UK!

  9. I know what you mean by not a recipe. I try stuff together all the time. Just as long as it tastes good right?

  10. When I first saw your picture on Tastespotting, I thought "Yum, pad thai, but its so complicated!" Your recipe sounds delicious and completely uncomplicated! Thank you, thank you, thank you!

  11. Of course there is a recipe my dear. It is YOUR recipe. This looks very delicious. I admire your photography skill.

  12. I love rice noodles. I can eat it any time. Your picture makes me want to go and cook now :D

  13. Rice noodle, interesting. Will try it.