Friday, April 24, 2015

Flashback Friday: Spicy Buckwheat Noodles With Leftover Fried Chicken

This post was originally published on May 10, 2013.
Spicy Buckwheat Noodles With Leftover Fried Chicken

For weeks, the Minx has been strongly suggesting that I make some recipes from Fuchsia Dunlop's recent cookbook, Every Grain of Rice: Simple Chinese Home Cooking. A quick scan of the book made me realize why she was so insistent. The recipes not only look delicious, but they are relatively simple and use ingredients we normally keep around the kitchen. Trouble was, we'd been eating out quite a bit lately and, on the few nights when I would cook at home, there was little time to prepare anything but a fast meal.

Then our schedule settled down and I actually had a day when I could truly ponder a proper dinner. However, we didn't have a whole lot to work with in the fridge. There were three pieces of leftover fried chicken that we picked up at the supermarket a couple days earlier, a random jalapeño pepper, and the usual assortment of vegetables. I decided to flip through the book to see if there was anything I could adapt to cold leftover chicken. When I saw the recipe for spicy buckwheat noodles, I knew I was on the right track. Since I'm a hardcore noodle guy, we always have a wide array of pasta and noodles in the pantry.

Aside from the chicken and buckwheat noodles, the rest of the recipe included seasoning elements which we always keep around. I still had to make some adjustments, though. It turned out I didn't have as much of the buckwheat noodles as I had thought, so I tossed in some leftover linguine (it made a nice black-and-tan effect in the bowl). Also, we were out of chili oil, so I replaced it with sriracha. The recipe calls for shredding the chicken and tossing it in with the noodles, but since I had fried chicken, I couldn't just throw away the crispy skin. I chopped up the now slightly flabby skin into pieces and fried them in a frying pan for about 5 minutes until they were super crispy bits. It made for a pleasant crunchy contrast to the slippery noodles.

Spicy Buckwheat Noodles With Leftover Fried Chicken (adapted from Every Grain of Rice)

3-4 leftover fried chicken legs and/or thighs
5½ ounces dried buckwheat soba noodles
1 tablespoon cooking oil
1 tablespoon light soy sauce
2 tablespoon Chinkiang vinegar
½ teaspoon sugar
salt, to taste
1 tablespoon sriracha
1 clove finely chopped garlic
1 finely chopped jalapeño
1 tablespoon sliced spring onion

Put a pot of water on the stove for boiling the noodles. While you are waiting for the water to boil, break down your fried chicken. Remove the skin (with crispy coating intact), chop it into smallish pieces and put it into a hot pan with about half the cooking oil and fry for about five minutes, stirring occasionally. When the skin is nicely crispy, move to a plate with a paper towel on it. Also while you are waiting, mix together the soy sauce, Chinkiang vinegar, sugar, sriracha, and garlic in a bowl. Then chop your spring onion and jalapeño and set aside.

When the water is boiling, add a tablespoon or so of salt to the water and put in your buckwheat noodles. The noodles should cook in about two minutes. Drain the water, but leave the noodles in the pot. Put the pot over a medium high heat and add the rest of the cooking oil. Toss in the sauce mixture and the jalapeño. Combine thoroughly, and then add the shredded chicken. When everything is warmed through, place in serving bowls. Sprinkle the spring onion and fried chicken skin on top for garnish.

Serves 2 to 4 people, depending on how hungry everyone is.

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