Bang bang chicken with somen noodles
Steamed chicken breast, silky somen noodles and a rich sesame sauce make a sensational trio, ideal for a summer lunch. By Reiko Hashimoto, Cook Japan Stay Slim Live Longer, Bloomsbury Publishing
- Preparation Time30 mins
- Cooking Time30 mins
- 4 dried shiitake mushrooms
- 2 large skinless chicken breasts or 4 small skinless chicken breasts
- 2cm piece of ginger, peeled and thinly sliced
- 4 spring onions, roughly chopped
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 4 tablespoons sake
- handful of salad leaves
- 200g somen noodles
- ½ cucumber, cut into fine matchsticks
For the sesame sauce
- 2 tablespoons Kikkoman soy sauce
- 2 tablespoons mirin
- 3 tablespoons tahini paste
- 3 tablespoons black sesame seeds, ground
For the deep-fried onions
- 250ml oil, for deep-frying
- ¼ onion or 2 shallots, thinly sliced (alternatively, you can buy ready-fried shallots in Chinese supermarkets)
Soak the dried shiitake mushrooms in a bowl with 250ml boiling water for 20 minutes. Drain and reserve 4 tablespoons of the mushroom soaking water.
Preheat the oven to 250°C/480°F/Gas Mark 8. Line a roasting tray with a generous amount of foil and place the chicken breasts, ginger, shiitake mushrooms and spring onions on top. Sprinkle with the salt, then fold the foil up and around to make a parcel. Seal all but one of the edges tightly, then pour the sake and the mushroom-soaked water into the gap in the parcel. Seal the last edge tightly and cook in the oven for 20–30 minutes, depending on the size of the chicken breasts, until the chicken is cooked.
Take the parcel out of the tray and leave the chicken to cool inside the parcel.
Meanwhile, make the sesame sauce by mixing all the ingredients except for the ground sesame seeds in a small bowl until smooth and very thick.
Next prepare the deep-fried onions. Heat the oil in a large frying pan and deep fry the onion or shallots until beginning to turn golden and crispy. Remove with a slotted spoon and drain on kitchen paper.
Rinse the salad leaves in very cold water to refresh them and chop or tear them into bite-size pieces.
Bring plenty of water to the boil in a large pan and cook the somen noodles for about 2 minutes. Drain, rinse well in cold water and set aside to drain completely in a colander.
Once the chicken has cooled to room temperature, remove from the parcel and shred or thinly slice. Add 3–4 tablespoons of the chicken cooking juices from the parcel to the sesame sauce along with the ground black sesame seeds and stir together. If the consistency is too thick, add more of the chicken cooking juices.
Place the noodles on individual plates followed by the chicken. Pour over the sauce, garnish with the salad leaves and cucumber, and scatter with a few deep fried onions.