Thai Chicken and Shrimp Noodle Salad

I hate goodbyes. Kim and Todd, and their 9-week-old baby, Zane, are moving to Minneapolis in a few weeks. Jeff and Kim have worked at three newspapers together, and he and Todd went to same high school in Houston. I met the two of them 10 years ago in Little Rock. Needless to say, we go way back.

We had them over for dinner last night. It was another brutally hot day in St. Louis, so I made this cold noodle salad as the main course. The last thing we needed in our house was a hot stove. The salad comes from one of my favorite issues of Bon Appetit, the one with the Sydney Opera House on the cover (see Linguini with Shrimp, Asparagus and Basil). There are still about a half dozen recipes that grab me each time I flip through its pages.

Prepping this salad takes a bit of time, more than it appears. However, you can do a lot ahead of time. I typically put the shredded chicken, sliced cucumber, basil, cilantro and mint leaves in a container and store in the fridge. About 20 minutes before Kim and Todd got here, I prepared the noodles, thawed the precooked shrimp, and tossed the rest of the salad ingredients in a large bowl. The dressing is quick and easy. I always add it before serving. I snapped the photo before adding the dressing.

The salad is awesome. It has all the key components of terrific Asian food — sweet, sour, spicy and salty.It’s light, but hearty. The cherry tomatoes and slivers of jalapeno make it even more beautiful. My favorite part — the fresh combination of mint, basil and cilantro leaves.

It won’t be the last time we’ll see Kim, Todd and Zane before they move. Jeff and I have decided that next summer we’ll be driving north for cooler weather and dinner at their house.

Thai Chicken and Shrimp Noodle Salad
Bon Appetit, May 2007

2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
2 tablespoons fish sauce* (such as nam pla or nuoc nam)
2 tablespoons Asian sweet chili sauce*
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 tablespoon sugar

9 ounces (250 grams) bean thread noodles**

12 cherry tomatoes, halved
12 cooked peeled deveined medium shrimp
1 1/2 cups shredded cooked chicken
1 1/2 cups bean sprouts (about 3 1/2 ounces), rinsed
1/2 English hothouse cucumber, very thinly sliced (about 1 cup)
1/2 cup lightly packed fresh mint leaves
1/2 cup lightly packed fresh basil leaves, torn if large
1/2 cup lightly packed fresh cilantro leaves
1/3 cup thinly sliced shallots
1 red jalapeño chile with seeds, sliced into thin rings

2 tablespoons chopped toasted peanuts
1 lime, cut into 6 wedges

*Available in the Asian foods section of most supermarkets and at Asian markets.
**Clear dried noodles (also known as cellophane or transparent noodles); available in the Asian foods section of some supermarkets and at Asian markets.

Dressing: Whisk first 5 ingredients in large bowl to blend.  Let stand up to two hours at room temperature.

Salad: Place noodles in another large bowl. Cover with boiling water. Let stand until softened, about 4 minutes. Drain and rinse under cold water to cool; drain well. Insert scissors into noodles; cut several times. Transfer to bowl with dressing.

Add tomatoes and all remaining ingredients, except peanuts and lime wedges, to noodles; toss to coat.

Divide among 6 plates. Sprinkle with peanuts; garnish with lime wedges.


1 Response to “Thai Chicken and Shrimp Noodle Salad”

  1. August 23, 2010 at 8:01 am

    Thanks for the recipe! We made it over the weekend, it was great! So many noodles, though. It was kind of crazy. I converted some of the noodles into a Singapore noodle dish!

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