Weekly Winner: Deconstructing and Dolling Up Dan Dan

I adore Dan Dan Noodles and I make a mighty fine version if I do say so myself.  (See: Dan Dan Noodles )But I’ve been making them quite a lot lately, both for myself and for others so I decided it was time to switch it up a bit.  Add to that fact that there has been one or two days when we could actually open up the grill and not freeze to death while using it and the choice for dinner was easy.

Asian chickenWe were going to try the deconstructed variation on the Dan Dan theme that I found in Cuisine at Home magazine: Grilled Asian Chicken. This is definitely a fancier take on the Dan Dan Noodles Recipe I have and would be much more “company friendly”.  It was easy, very tasty and a nice diversion.  But was it better?  No…. just different.  But sometimes different is good.

Grilled Asian Chicken with Peanut Noodles

Serves 4

Ingredients:

  • 3 Tbsp brown sugar, divided
  • 3 Tbsp soy sauce, divided
  • 1 tsp peanut oil
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 8 oz dry spaghetti
  • ½ cup chicken broth
  • ¼ cup creamy peanut butter
  • 2 Tbsp rice wine vinegar
  • 2 Tbsp fresh lime juice
  • 1 Tbsp minced fresh ginger
  • 1 Tbsp chili garlic sauce
  • ¼ cup chopped dry-roasted peanuts

Instructions:

Preheat grill to medium-high. Brush grill grate with oil.

Combine 1 Tbsp brown sugar, 1 Tbsp soy sauce, 1 tsp oil and ½ tsp salt in a bowl; toss with chicken. Grill chicken, covered, until cooked through, 5-6 minutes per side. Remove chicken from grill; tent with foil.

Cook pasta in a pot of boiling salted water according to package directions; drain and return to the pot. Meanwhile, heat broth, peanut butter, remaining 2 Tbsp brown sugar, vinegar, lime juice, remaining 1 Tbsp soy sauce, ginger, and chili garlic sauce in a saucepan over medium, whisking to combine; simmer 1-2 minutes. Off heat, season with salt, then pour sauce over pasta and toss to coat.

Top each chicken breast with pasta and Cucumber Sambal; garnish with peanuts.

Cucumber Sambal

Ingredients:

1 cup seeded and diced cucumber

½ cup thinly sliced scallions

¼ cup diced red bell pepper

3 Tbsp rice wine vinegar

1 Tbsp sugar

1 tsp red pepper flakes

½ teaspoon salt

Toss all ingredients in a bowl until combined. Chill until ready to serve.

Weekly Winner: Noodles so nice, they named them twice

It seems simply impossible to me that this dish has not yet been featured in my Weekly Winner posts.  I have been making this dish for six years and it is one of my all-time favorite dinners. How is it possible that this has not made the cut before now?  I literally sat down and went through each Weekly Winner post just to make sure, and nope…not there. So, without further adieu, I give you Dan Dan Noodles with Pickled Cucumbers.

DanDan noodlesI am a sucker for a good peanut sauce, and this one is spectacular.  Just the right amount of heat, tang, and sweetness.  My husband adores anything pickled — jalepenos, onions, giardiniera you name it.  Generally neither one of us is a fan of ground turkey.  It just always seems incredibly bland and insipid.  But it works here.  I think the greatest testament to this recipe is that, in the six years I’ve been making it, I haven’t changed a thing!  The recipe is from Cuisine at Home Magazine.  Make room in your regular recipe rotation…you’re gonna need it!

Dan Dan Noodles with Pickled Cucumbers

Serves 4

For the Cucumbers:
2 cups cucumbers, julienned
1/2 cup red onion, thinly sliced
1/2 cup rice vinegar
1 Tbs sugar
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
salt to taste
For the Noodles and Sauce:
1/2 pound long-life noodles or dry spaghetti
1/4 cup dry sherry
1/4 cup chicken broth
3 Tbs chunky peanut butter
2 Tbs soy sauce
1 Tbs brown sugar
2 tsp chili garlic sauce
1 tsp toasted sesame oil
2 teaspoons peanut oil
1/4 cup red bell pepper, minced
3 Tbs fresh ginger, minced
2 Tbs garlic, minced
12 ounces ground turkey breast

Garnish and serve with:
Chopped fresh cilantro
Thinly sliced scallions
Pickled cucumbers

1. Combine all ingredients for the cucumbers in a bowl; cover and chill
until ready to serve.

2. Cook noodles in a large pot of boiling water until al dente. Drain; keep warm.

3. Whisk sherry, broth, peanut butter, soy sauce, sugar, chili garlic sauce,
and sesame oil together in a bowl; set aside.

4. Stir-fry bell pepper, ginger, and garlic in peanut oil in a large skillet
over medium-high heat, 30 seconds. Add turkey in large chunks and reduce
heat to medium. cook until it begins to brown, 3 minutes. Turn meat over and
brown on other side.

5. Stir in prepared peanut sauce and break up the turkey. Simmer until
turkey is cooked through and sauce thickens, 4-5 minutes. Serve meat sauce
over the cooked noodles.

6. Garnish with cilantro and scallions; serve with cucumbers.