Caramelized Chicken Salad with Chile-Garlic Vinaigrette

Jalapenos are the most popular chile peppers in the US. This is probably due to the availability and versatility of the chile. Jalapenos have a balanced combination of flavor and heat.

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Ingredients:

Noodles:

4 oz. uncooked rice stick noodles

Sauce:

6 Tbsp. fresh lime juice
1/4 cup chopped seeded jalapeño pepper
3 Tbsp. sugar
1 Tbsp. fish sauce
8 garlic cloves, peeled

Chicken:

2 tsp. vegetable oil
1 pound skinless, boneless chicken thighs, cut into 1/2″ pieces
1/2 cup minced shallots
2 Tbsp. sugar
1 Tbsp. fish sauce
1/4 tsp. black pepper

Remaining ingredients:

1 cup (1/4″) julienne-cut red bell peppers
1 cup (1/4″) julienne-cut carrots
1/4 cup fresh bean sprouts
1/4 cup coarsely chopped fresh basil
1/4 cup cilantro sprigs
1/4 cup coarsely chopped fresh mint
1 small cucumber (about 6 oz.), peeled, halved lengthwise, seeded, and thinly sliced

Instructions:

To prepare noodles:

Cook the noodles in a pot of boiling water for 1-1/2 minutes and drain. Rinse the noodles under cold water and drain. Place in them in a large bowl.

To prepare the sauce:

Place the lime juice and the next 4 ingredients (lime juice through garlic) in a blender and process until smooth.

To prepare chicken:

Heat the oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add the chicken and sauté for 3 minutes. Stir in the shallots and cook 1 more minute, stirring constantly. Add the sugar and cook for 5 minutes, stirring frequently. Remove the chicken from the heat and stir in 1 Tbsp. of fish sauce and black pepper.

To prepare salad:

Combine the noodles, sauce, chicken mixture, bell pepper and the remaining ingredients in a large bowl, and toss well.

Serve this one-dish meal in large, shallow individual bowls.

Yields 6 servings.

Recipe from Cooking Light Magazine, May 2001.