Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Lunch Week 41: Sesame Noodles with Chicken and Bok Choy

So every Sunday, I head over to the kitchen to whip up a big batch of food for lunch the next week. Yes, I brown bag. And I almost always do it every week unless I become too busy to even buy cold cuts from the deli. I do it for several reasons being health, finance, and laziness. Now, you may think that spending hours on a day off to prep and cook five meals at once is hardly lazy. But let me remind you, I hate it when the time comes to decide what to eat for lunch every day. I work in Midtown so the choices are endless. My problem, the more choices, the harder it is for me. So it's much easier for me to have my lunch ready and already decided.

So my lunch for the week: Sesame Noodles with Chicken and Bok Choy
Szechuan peppercorns are spicy with a lingering heat on your tongue. I prefer it over the smack in your face spice that a lot of other cuisines may have. I find it a bit more sophisticated. That's just a personal choice though. To start off the level of heat, I had to make a chili oil with the peppercorns.

Here, I have a mixture of dried szechuan peppercorns, red pepper flakes, white sesame seeds, and black sesame seeds. I heat up some oil on low and add the spice mixture.
To that, I added chopped scallions, both green and white parts. I slowly cook the oil on low heat for about 15 minutes until slightly sizzling. The oil draws the heat out slowly from the peppercorns. Remove from heat and let cool slightly.
Meanwhile, make your sesame dressing for the noodles which includes tahini sauce, soy sauce, rice vinegar, sesame oil, and sugar. Whisk together until homogenous.
I also steamed 4 chicken thighs that were seasoned with salt, pepper for about 30 minutes. Let cool completely.
Then carefully shred the chicken into piece removing excess skin, fat, and bones. Set aside.
And don't forget about the greens. These were long baby bok choy.
I lightly blanched the boy choy using the same water that was used to steam the chicken. But I seasoned the water with salt and oil first. Blanch until slightly softened then drain completely.
And finally, the noodles. I used Shanghai style noodles here that I boiled using the same vegetable water used for the bok choy. Once cooked through, drain completely. Add back to the pot then dress with tahini sauce. Toss thoroughly. Then add the chili oil and toss thoroughly again. Finally, add the chicken and bok choy.
Mix well until everything is homogenous. Serve warm.
The original recipe that I found said to add a little chili oil at a time to test the spice level. However, I just tossed the whole batch onto the noodles. A good heat on the chewy noodles with the sweetness of the chicken and slight crunchiness of the bok choy. That's some good stuff.

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