This one-bowl Asian meal is spicy, salty, sour, and sweet -- all at once. The secret's in the sauce, made from fragrant kitchen standbys. The salad has terrific texture, with crisp carrots and cucumber, tender noodles, and (if you like) crunchy peanuts.
Prep: 20 minutes
Total: 50 minutes
1 1/4 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts, thinly sliced crosswise
Spicy Asian Dressing
3 1/2 ounces Chinese rice noodles, broken in half if long
1 tablespoon vegetable oil, such as safflower
2 carrots, sliced into ribbons with a vegetable peeler
1 English cucumber, halved lengthwise and thinly sliced crosswise
1/4 cup fresh basil, torn
Bean sprouts, chopped peanuts, fresh mint leaves, red-pepper flakes, and sliced scallion greens, for garnish (optional)
Place chicken and half of dressing in a resealable plastic bag (reserve remaining dressing). Marinate at room temperature for 30 minutes (or refrigerate up to overnight).
In a large pot of boiling salted water, cook noodles until tender. Drain, and rinse under cold water to stop the cooking. Transfer to a platter.
In a large skillet, heat oil over medium-high. Working in batches, cook chicken (do not crowd skillet) until cooked through, 1 to 2 minutes; transfer to platter on top of noodles.
Top with carrots, cucumber, and basil. Drizzle with reserved dressing, and sprinkle with garnishes, if desired.