cold-rice-noodles-with-peanut-lime-chicken Recipes

cold rice noodles with peanut-lime chicken

If you told me a week ago that I would willingly adding cold chicken to cold noodles and call it a meal, a meal I’d eat enthusiastically, I’d think you had lost your mind. The various intersections of cold chicken and cold pasta are littered with foods I’d rather forget, such as those macaroni salads with shredded, overcooked chicken, suspiciously squicked together with mayo in a clear plastic take-out container of dubious expiration at the nearest corner deli. Hey, who’s hungry? Probably not you anymore!

lots and lots of limes
lime garlic sauce, sauce 1

But in David Tanis able kitchen (and I hope you’re following his City Kitchen column each week as eagerly as I do) chicken is marinated with a potent mix of ginger, garlic, lime juice and fish sauce before being flash-grilled or broiled and then cooled and roughly chopped. It is then added to rice noodles as long and twisty as skeins of yarn, topped with lots of crunchy vegetables, a medley of two sauces (one loud with chiles, lime and fish sauce and the other nutty and perfect with ginger, peanut butter and toasted sesame), salted roasted peanuts, slivers of cooling herbs (mint, basil and cilantro) into something that’s about as close to a dream of a summery one-bowl meal as we can get, and just in time for our first inferno of a New York City heatwave this year.

peanut sauce, sauce 2

chicken thighs in marinade, sauce 3

The thing is, the dish as written is fantastic. It’s complex and nuanced; it’s the grown-up, seasoned version of my old staple peanut-sesame noodles in a format that just begs you to pile everything on one central platter at dinnertime and let everyone assemble their own mix. But it also used, by my estimate, about 92 dishes. Fine, I exaggerate: 84. Okay, maybe I didn’t exactly count but I know that it took me two hours to make and required the preparation of three separate sauces and the dishwasher had to be loaded twice before we got the little guy to bed. And that Tanis called it not particularly labor intensive, which made my dishpan hands weep.

dried rice noodles look like a mouf
vegetables, slivered and stuff
rice noodles, draining
marinated, broiled thighs

But there was too much good in the bowl not to share it you, so I trimmed and trimmed. What remains is all you will need to survive the remainder of this heat wave all and all of the ones July and August have in store for us — a bare minimum of cooking times and lots of loud flavor, all tangled in a pretty, colorful bowl. Because that totally counts, too.

peanut lime rice noodles with chicken

About page: I recently realized that the photos on my About page were from 2008. A year later, we moved to an apartment with an even smaller kitchen (because I’m cuckoo), added another person to our family, mostly ceased sleeping through the night, and then, because I guess I had too much free time on my hands, I wrote a cookbook. Needless to say, keeping the back pages of the site current kind of fell by the wayside. Four years later, with my sweet toddler off to summer camp for a couple hours a day and my sweet cookbook at last off to the printer any day now, I found a window of true and utterly free time and used it to update you on the the current state of my underye circles refresh the photos. Want to see?

One year ago: Linguine with Pea Pesto
Two years ago: Bread and Butter Pickles and Blue Cheese and Red Potato Tart
Three years ago: Strawberries and Dumplings and Horseradish Potato Salad
Four years ago: Pizza with Red and Yellow Peppers and Sweet Cherry Pie
Five years ago: Strawberry Tart and Dilled Potato and Pickled Cucumber Salad

Cold Rice Noodles with Peanut-Lime Chicken
Adapted from David Tanis, via The New York Times

To detail my changes, the original recipe had three sauces/dressings/marinades, a pungent-sweet sauces called a dipping sauce with chiles, lime, garlic, brown sugar and fish sauce, a nuttier dressing with peanut butter, soy, lime juice, rice vinegar and ginger and a marinade for the chicken with garlic, ginger, fish sauce, soy and brown sugar. Because there was so much ingredient overlap and in the interest of trimming down your prep time, I nixed the chicken marinade as a separate sauce in favor of using a combination of the other two (each increased in volume) for a similar effect. I confess that although they are widely available in the great Metropolis of NYC, I made this without the suggested lemongrass and mung bean sprouts because I wanted to see if this could be a totally delicious dish with just ingredients you can find at major grocery stores (it could!). For the chiles, 6 to 8 Thai or 1 to 2 serrano were suggested; I used far less to decrease toddler intimidation. Use what you like according to your heat preferance. We wouldn’t have minded if there were more vegetables than recommended. Next time I might add more of each (cucumbers, carrots and scallions) plus juliennes of sweet red pepper and a handful of lightly cooked green beans, thinly cut on the bias. Finally, although the original recipe suggests three different herbs to finish — mint, basil and cilantro — unless you already have all three around, I think you can get away with just picking your favorite. We used mint fresh from the market that almost melted into the noodles with piercing deliciousness. To see the recipe before I hacked it to pieces, go to the NYT link above.

Serves 4 generously, 6 moderately

Dipping sauce
6 tablespoons Asian fish sauce
6 tablespoons brown sugar
12 tablespoons lime juice
2 garlic cloves, finely grated or minced
Small Thai or Serrano chiles, thinly sliced, to taste

Peanut dressing
3 tablespoons Asian fish sauce
3 tablespoons rice vinegar
9 tablespoons lime juice
3 tablespoons soy sauce
1 one-and-a-half inch chunk ginger, peeled and sliced
6 tablespoons natural unsalted peanut butter
1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil
Pinch of cayenne

Chicken and noodle salad
1 1/4 pounds boneless skinless chicken thighs (about 6)
8 ounces dried rice vermicelli or other rice noodles
2 small cucumbers, cut in 1/4-inch half moons
2 medium carrots, cut in thin julienne
Additional vegetables, as suggested above
Small handful basil or mint or cilantro sprigs, or your favorite of the three (torn or roughly chopped)
4 or more scallions, slivered
1/4 cup crushed or chopped roasted peanuts
Lime wedges (to serve)

Make the dipping sauce: Whisk ingredients in a small serving bowl, making sure to dissolve the sugar. Leave to ripen for 15 minutes. Refrigerate any extra and use within a few days.

Make the peanut dressing: In a blender or small food processor, puree all ingredients to a smooth sauce, about the thickness of heavy cream. Pour into a serving bowl.

Marinate the chicken: Stir together 1/2 the dipping sauce and 1/3 the peanut dressing (you can eyeball this) in the bottom of a low-sided bowl or dish. Add the chicken to the mixture and toss to coat. Let marinate at least 15 minutes.

Cook the noodles: Bring a large pot of water to the boil, then turn off the heat. Add the rice vermicelli and soak for 7 to 8 minutes. (Package directions may vary; check for doneness by tasting.) Drain when noodles are al dente, and cool under running water. Fluff and leave in strainer to drain well.

Cook the chicken: Grill the chicken on an outdoor grill, a stove-top grill pan, or run under the broiler until nicely browned, about 3 to 4 minutes a side. Let cool slightly, then chop roughly into 3/4-inch pieces.

To serve: At this point, you can place everything on a large serving platter, with piles or small bowls for noodles, vegetables, chicken, the dressing and marinade and toppings (peanuts, herbs) and let your family and friends put it together in their own bowls as they wish. Or, you can assemble it for everyone as suggested:

Toss vegetables with 1 tablespoon dipping sauce in a small bowl. Divide the cooked noodles among 4 to 6 bowls. Top each bowl equally with vegetable mixture and chopped chicken. Toss each bowl with 2 teaspoons of each the dipping sauce and dressing, or more to taste (we wanted more). Add the herbs, peanuts and scallions to each bowl and serve with additional dressing and dipping sauce on the side.

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250 comments on cold rice noodles with peanut-lime chicken

  1. Wow, this looks wonderful, even if it did require 84 dishes. I am thinking shrimp might be a nice sub for the chicken,

  2. You can rest assured that I’m making this tomorrow! After a failed attempt at cold sesame noodles a few weeks ago, I’m ready to try again. Love the addition of all the veggies.

  3. This looks delicious! I never make things like this, but I definitely want to try it out. It looks too good not too, and thank you thank you thank you for making it easier! I’m sure everyone (me included!) appreciates it greatly.

  4. I think this is where the leftover ginger in my fridge is going. The length of the ingredient list is a little scary, but the recipe itself doesn’t sound complicated at all – tanks for simplifying for us!

  5. It’s been really hot here too for the past week or so and this dish looks like the perfect summer lunch or dinner:) Yum, the flavours must be amazing. Oh…totally need to try it. Have a great weekend Deb:) xo

  6. This looks so good – I really feel like I need to expand my areas of expertise away from French and Italian and towards Asian cuisine. It’s so healthy and light and fresh. I wish my boyfriend wasn’t allergic to peanuts so I could make this recipe!

  7. Now I know what I’m doing with the leftover ginger in my fridge. The ingredient list looks a little scary, but the recipe itself looks pretty easy – thanks for simplifying for us!
    (Sorry if this posts twice, but I think my first one didn’t go through)

  8. Sounds like my favorite Vietnamese dish but with the addition of peanut sauce. I’d probably switch the proportions on the noodles and vegetables. Maybe do 1/2 the noodles and double the vegetables? And I think some thinly sliced napa cabbage would be amazing in here.

  9. I really can’t stand City Kitchen – he’s the opposite of Smitten Kitchen in every way! He’s smug, condescending, always makes things unnecessarily complicated, and he’s appallingly vegetarian un-friendly… a weird transition from Mark Bittman, who was also smug but at least cared about the political implications of his chosen profession. Cheers for your perfect redesign of this recipe.

  10. Sounds like my favorite Vietnamese dish to order out but with peanut sauce which could only make it better. I love the idea of adding more vegetables so much that I think I would 1/2 the amount of noodles, and double the vegetables. I think some thinly sliced Napa cabbage would be amazing in here too.

  11. fortuitous posting!i just had a similar dish last night at a fav Vietnamese restaurant and LOVED it! and its only a bag of limes away for dinner again tonight. many thanks for yet another recipe that hits the spot!

  12. CURSE YOU! I was all set to make a simple pot of pasta sauce to use for meals next week and now I have to make this instead. WHY DEB WHYYYYYY???

    PS I made just about all of my meals last week from your recipes. I think I can officially say I’m smitten with your blog! :-) Looking forward to the cookbook.

  13. This is very similar to a Vietnamese dish (bun thit nuong). I like my meat in these salads warm…a juxtaposition to everything else that’s cold…makes the dish all the more interesting.

    1. Lan — I wanted to tag this as either Thai or Vietnamese for the archives on this site, but didn’t feel comfortable saying with any assertion that it was either because my knowledge of both are moderate, but limited. Would you go with Vietnamese? Thanks!

  14. I just went to the grocery store last night, and now I *have* to go back to the grocery store to buy ingredients for this. This looks delicious and I have to make it tonight! :)

  15. This is fate. I actually have every single ingredient except the serrano chilies. Could I substitute Sri Racha? My husband would absolutely flip over this recipe. Thank you for sharing!

  16. There are times when I love making things that take two dishwasher loads to finish — but only when I’m really in the mood. In this case, I’m def not in the mood, so I’ll-just-gawk-at-your-pics-thanks-bye!

    Also – great new pic – thanks for the update!!! :D (and your little man is sure growing into a ridiculously cute slightly bigger little man)

    xoxo
    Cheri

  17. First, I always devour your writing like a fine novel, then I make the recipe. I’m never sure which I like better. Keep ’em coming! :)

  18. Deb, those of us who cook without peanut products usually just see a title like this an move on. However, I’m always jealous of these recipes which look so appealing to me. How can I make this a safe dish for someone with a peanut allergy?

  19. I saw this recipe and immediately went into the kitchen to make my improvised version with the ingredients I had, minus chicken for my visiting vegetarian friend. Thinly sliced baby bok choy was an excellent substitution for cucumber, and I tossed everything with the dressing and sprinkled a little handful of sesame seeds on top. Completely delicious and a perfect lunch during the heatwave that currently has a stranglehold on Boston. I can’t wait to try the full version with the chicken and dipping sauce! Thank you for the inspiration, as always!

  20. i know limes vary in juiciness, but i can’t imagine measuring this – from ur experience was this 3 limes or 6 limes, or…?

    1. Cheri — I think you missed my point, which was that I trimmed and trimmed the recipe so that it should no longer require even close to dishwashers full of dishes!

      ads — I get 2 to 3 tablespoons of juice from most grocery store limes, however, I always buy more than I need just in case I get a bum lot. (Also, we love putting wedges in seltzer.) Leaving them out a room temperature so they soften up a bit and rolling them around on the counter to loosen the juice before cutting and juicing them seems to help get the most out of them. I realize this recipe uses a ton of limes! 8, most likely, maybe less.

  21. You must have put fresh batteries in your crystal ball. I saw the Tanis recipe and impulsively printed it out, but when I got to reading it more carefully, began to think it was a little too complicated for the tastes in our house (present company excepted). Thank you for your version of it — we’ll get much more mileage out of yours!

  22. I’m thrilled to see a chicken recipe. I eat chicken all the time and I’m always trying to find new ways to serve it. Asian flavors are the best. I think I’m gonna add a whole lot of chillies in it—I enjoy their heat.

    Also, I love your new About page, Deb. You look so pretty in the first photograph and in the second one with your husband and your little boy you all look so happy. :)

  23. Folks who are peanut-allergic but not nut-allergic– I’m sure almond butter would be great. Folks who are all-nut-allergic– try sunflower butter. I find it’s a great sub!

  24. Yes! As Lan commented, this is very much like the Vietnamese dish, bun thit nuong. It is made with grilled pork which is served hot over the cold noodles and vegetables. (One of those Vietanmese words probably means pork.) I think the chicken thighs sound fantastic in it! Thanks for streamlining the original recipe.

  25. Wow, does this look delicious! And I chuckled while reading the comments, because while reading the recipe, I thought “this sounds like a de-constructed ban mi sandwich!” – which I love so much from the nearby Vietnamese restaurant that I can’t make myself order anything else there. But they do have things with rice noodles, so perhaps I should go out on a limb. Or just make this. YUM.

  26. This sounds absolutely perfect for the hot weather. I must get better at cooking Asian food at home–I’d be eating things like this all summer!

  27. Mmmm, bun sounds so yummy right now. That and sushi; essentially something light and cool.

    If you add tags, I’d go with Vietnamese.

  28. I cannot do fish sauce (whole vegetarian thing), but I have an alternative somewhere in my kitchen. Tofu and veggies and fun sauces will make this a perfect meal this summer!

  29. Like a dope, I made the original David Tanis version last week, while my four month old looked at me like I was crazy for using all those dishes (without a dishwasher) and ingredients. He was right, but it was definitely worth it! Thanks for simplifying.

  30. This looks so mouthwatering! A recipe I have to try on one of these hot summer days when you just can’t bear anything hot but still want something real between your teeth. And all of my favourite herbs!

  31. I’ve seen bun thit nuong with beef as well, which is how my favorite Viet restaurant in Minneapolis serves it – cold noodle salad with grilled beef, plus an egg roll. It’s amazing.

    I am picky about labels, so I wouldn’t tag this recipe as authentically Vietnamese, but it’s definitely Viet-inspired.

  32. If you are one of those people who plan ahead, even a day ahead, this doesn’t have to dirty all 84 dishes at one time! It appears that the marinade and sauces can be made ahead and refridgerated, brought to room temp and rewhisked when you need to use them. I wouldn’t marinate the chicken overnight as it often makes the texture mealy if there is too much acid in the marinade..but at least it will be ready to use when you are. I love recipes like this for hot weather. Can’t have enough chicken salad recipes as far as I’m concerned. So handy!

  33. I made this tonight and it was awesome. For the peanut allergy folks- I just subbed in tahini for the peanut butter (equal amounts) and it was fantastic. Perfect for the heat.

  34. This looks do effing good!!!________!!!!!!!! I think Ill make it with shrimp instead. Im just a little confused about the two sauces, do u add them both? what exactly are you supposed to dip in the first sauce?

  35. Deb, as I have discovered, not all fish sauces are made equal. I recently tried to make a Thai Coconut soup which turned out awfully due to the brand of fish sauce that I used. Might you share the name of the brand that you used please (with any further, necessary particular details)?

    1. Neil — Sadly, I just have one brand, the only one I’ve bought (the Thai Kitchen one pictured in this post). It’s definitely on the salty side for fish sauces, I understand. Anyway, if other people have a favorite, I’d love to know so I could seek it out. I’m newish to fish sauce; not a big fish eater so resisted it for years. Then I smacked myself in the forehead for what I was missing because it’s intensely, complexly delicious and not fishy, and nobody is more sensitive to fishiness than me. (Not that you requested convincing!)

      Anna — Thank you. I was completely blown away by it. (Here‘s a funny little outtake from Wednesday’s photo shoot.)

      karen — I agree; it’s totally confusing. I wanted to call them Sauce 1 and Sauce 2 but that probably wouldn’t help, either. One is called dipping sauce even though you do no dipping here. Basically, one is thin is pungent (it’s the third photo in this post) and the other is like a brighter nutty peanut-sesame sauce (the blender photo). They’re very complementary to each other but I didn’t want to just mix them into one. With one, you thin out and brighten up the dish. With the other, you have more of a thick, coating, nutty dressing. So, it’s fun to have both out and let everyone make their dream noodle dish as they like. Fortunately, they don’t take that long to make.

      uyen — Thanks. I actually already tagged it after the first few people gave it a thumbs-up but I totally understand where you’re coming from. I really, really try not to, say, call something Tex-Mex just because it has salsa in it or Italian because there’s ricotta, etc. My goal is to not overly simplify food cultures. And yet! It would be great if people hunting for these Vietmanese flavors could find them on the site easily.

      Susan — Great point. This is a total do-aheader. Also good for leftovers. One container with vegetables, another with noodles, two more for the sauces… we didn’t make a big dent in it on Monday and it was my lunch for a couple days after that. Cubed tofu would also be great here.

  36. Deb! I have been reading your blog for ages, and loving it the whole time. Sometimes when I get bored at work, I just click Surprise Me! for a while and read delicious recipes. I finally had to stop lurking because I saw you featured on Jezebel.com today and I’m so excited! Two of my favorite websites coming together! Congratulations!

  37. Yum. This sounds delish, and perfect for this stinkin’ hot weather we’ve been suffering through. Love your updated About page, too — great shoutout to Posh Nosh!

  38. What you need is a “6 months ago” link, so people on the opposite hemisphere stuck in the cold don’t stare at the impossible summery dishes and weep. Cause it’s going to be at least 4 months before I’m able to make this :(

  39. Enduring the same heatwave down here in Philly, this was the perfect dish for this evening! I was able to use the cukes and carrots I picked from our garden this morning and the dish was even a winner with our 1.5 year-old! (Spicy peppers aren’t needed; we used 1 poblano ’cause that’s what the coop had, and it was anything but bland and didn’t burn our throats or make our eyes water.) Thanks for the adaptation, Deb!

  40. Living in Shanghai for the time being this sounds like something I need to master. Sound delicious, and all the preparation isn’t too bad, I’ll definitely be giving it a go, and soon.

  41. Another easy way to cook the chicken would be to slice it thinly before cooking and then stir fry – it takes a little over 3 min. if you have your wok at a hot enough temp and you let the chicken rest in the wok for the first minute and then stir fry it for the remaining 2-ish minutes.

    This might also be good with sweet potato noodles (those used for the Korean dish Jap Chae).

  42. Re: fish sauce

    Like soy sauce, different cultures/countries produce different fish sauces. Thai and Filipino fish sauce brands are generally saltier and have a heavier flavor than Vietnamese. Figuring out where a brand was made is sometimes difficult of course.

    For Vietnamese food, my first stop is usually Andrea Nguyen’s blog. She’s got 3 cookbooks out, and a blog filled with recipes on Vietnamese and other Asian food. Here’s her post on what to look for when buying fish sauce, including recommended brands.

    For Thai, Kasma Loha-unchit and Leela Punyaratabandhu are both great, and have great recommendations for which brands to buy on their blogs: here and here

    Andrea Nguyen also has an Asian Market Shopper app for iOS.

    Deb, you’ve GOT to try more Vietnamese & Thai! Both are fantastic, especially during summer!

  43. It’s lovely to see you post a trimmed-down version of that recipe, because I made the mistake last week of making the original (while it was already late and I was exhausted, so some of the resulting frustration was my fault), and holy mother of god, SO MUCH UNNECESSARY MULTIPLE SAUCING. And when I was on my second batch of lime juicing, the juicer slid off the counter and spewed six limes’ worth of juice all over the floor. On the plus side, I was forced to scrub my kitchen, which I don’t do nearly often enough. The salad is totally delicious and perfect for the foul sweltering weather we’ve been having in New York, but I also saved a pared-down copy in my recipe file, because Tanis’ version is nuts. Dude needs a hobby or something.

  44. Love the new About page. Hope this isn’t completely out of left field, but you mention loving things that taste of burnt sugar. I recently started using Bed Head shampoo and conditioner for brunettes (or people who used to be brunettes and dye their hair to keep pretending). It smells like burnt sugar! Everyday I start out with desert! My first thought was “I want to smell like this all day long!” At 40 I finally found a signature scent – Laura Mercier’s Creme Brûlée. You should try it – who needs roses when there is burnt sugar perfume!

    Can’t wait for the cookbook!

  45. Great dish for summer!

    Agree with you on minimizing the recipe down to only 1 sauce. Having more than 3 sauces, hell sometimes more than 2, is what makes me avoid a recipe like the plague. Simplicity is always best. Thanks for sharing!

  46. I love David Tanis for his fabulous recipes, but I have to admit that his version of the recipe was a bit scary. So I thank you for cutting it down to a more reasonable size so I didn’t have to do it myself. I plan to try it this coming week. And some time when I am really bored I will try the original.

  47. This is a take on Pho Bun, a classic Vietnamese dish, that uses vinegar in the “dressing ” instead of lime. It also has pickled daikon, carrots, bean sprouts, cucumbers and romain slivered thinly, and cilantro(which I always request to have extra!) The veg is served in the bottom of a large bowl with the noodles on top, and the grilled meat(chicken,pork or shrmp), cilantro,carrot, daikon and a little pile of chopped peanut adorns the top. The dressing-salty sweet tangy and spicy, is served on the side. I actually had this last night! Yum! Light fresh and crunchy, perfect for summer!

  48. Deb, this looks perfect to bring to a summer picnic or just enjoy at home. Your marinade sounds awesome and peanutty sauces are always welcome in my household! I gotta say, even though I love and trust your sweet baked recipes with all my heart, I just ADORE your savory recipes too! Hope you’re enjoying summer so far!!

  49. Deb, I made this for dinner last night. It was fantastic! I had some lemongrass in the garden and added it to the peanut dressing. It was perfect for the hot, steamy, stormy Raleigh evening. I could live on the recipes from Smitten Kitchen. Thank you and I can’t wait for your book!

  50. Thank you so much! I had plans to make this after reading the Times recipe last week, and never got around to it due to all the steps and herb chopping required. Your trimmed down version is exactly what I needed and will make soon!

  51. this looks delish! i immediately started a grocery list of the ingredients but i balked as soon as i read the words “fish sauce”….for some reason, i have never been able to get over my apprehension to use this ingredient. i picture some yucky fishy smelling broth that is completely unappealing. clearly, this isn’t rational because deb would never have something less than tasty in her fabulous recipes! can someone please talk me down off the fish sauce ledge so i can get over it & trust using it in my cooking? what does it actually taste like? what type of flavor does it lend to the sauces?

  52. Aha! I too was lured by David Tanis’ delicious looking recipe except as a Mom to a 2 month old who forgot to get a father ‘s day gift set the recipe and all it’s ingredients in front of sweet husband at 6pm last Saturday evening (while I ran out “for a few things”). Husband diligently followed the recipe and called me mid errands for rice vinegar replenishment and 2.5 hours and yes lots of dirty dishes later we had a great summer meal. Husband complained of “too many sauces” so he would agree with your streamlining but I did end up repurposing the leftover peanut sauce in some brown rice with sautéed CSA greens and toasted almond slivers. Next time we’ll try your version!

  53. This was delicious. While I love the idea of two sauces (the dipping sauce looks summery and interesting) and a make-your-own platter, the next time I make it I think I’ll make just the peanut sauce with extra lime, garlic, and the chilies. If I’m cooking just for myself I’d reduce the bowls even further!

  54. I made the original with a friend a few nights ago, and I agree! Too many dishes. Also, I can’t stand the smell of fish sauce! What to do, what to do?

  55. Made the peanut sauce and it was very, very, very runny with no peanut taste. Kept adding peanut butter until it got to the consistency of cream. Love your site, but this isn’t my favorite peanut sauce.

  56. We do a chicken with a chicken marinaded in lime juice, freshly grated ginger root, pineapple juice and oyster cause. Cut the chicken into strip and grill. If there is chicken left over it makes a terrific curry chicken salad….this time I plane to turn it into peanut noodles. Thank you.

  57. One silly little question about this recipe, but also recipes that call for unsalted things in general, like unsalted butter. Unsalted peanut butter is listed here, but that is nothing I keep on hand nor would ever use again. How big of a deal is it to use it? Soy sauce is so packed with sodium that it seems salted peanut butter wouldn’t really affect the sauce. I’m looking forward to putting this on the week’s dinner menu, by the way.

    1. Laura — Actually, I went out of my way to buy unsweetened peanut butter and personally felt that I wouldn’t have hated the pinch of sugar my usual peanut butter has it in it, in the final sauce. The salt factor is probably not worth going to buy a new jar of peanut butter over, either, but the final saltiness will be more the result of the fish and soy sauces you use — be they low-sodium or not, as well as where the fish sauce is from (I’ve learned from links people dropped in this section — thank you! — that Cambodian and Thai fish sauces tend to be saltier than Vietnamese varieties). Best to go easy on the saltier ingredients if you’re using salted peanut butter; you can always add a dash more of either later.

  58. This was a delicious cool dinner on a hot, hot night; I didn’t find the two sauces too time consuming–I made my usual Vietnamese dipping sauce with fish sauce, vinegar, sugar, and lime juice for both the marinade and the “salad dressing” sauce and the peanut sauce for dressing the top. I put noodles on the bottom, chicken on top of that (I used chicken breast grilled on the grill pan), and topped with cucumber, carrot, radish, green onion, peapods, and the last bit of a red pepper. I used my Joyce Chen spiral slicer which produced various colors of vegetables (whch looked like the rice noodles) which I put on the top, along with the mint, cilantro, and basil and dollops of the peanut sauce. I found the peanut sauce quite salty and toned it down a little with some sweet chili sauce. I will certainly make this again! It was really good.

  59. Oh my. I innocently followed a link to your Flickr… and got stuck. Parsnip latkes! I finished college for the summer this weekend, and the next 10 weeks will be filled with a more than is decent amount of banana bread crepe cake. Thank you so much :)

  60. I made this dish last night 6/23/12 for dinner and it was absolutely incredible! My husband loved it and could not stop raving about it.

    I did not find the prep too odIus and I would make this again in a heartbeat. I am thinking about a beat the heat summer party with this dish, cold spring rolls and a Pinot Grigio.

  61. When I saw this in the NYTimes, I actually consciously wished that you would tackle it and offer a slightly pared-down version…and here it is! Please let me worship at your goddess feet. I can’t wait to make this!

  62. Wow Deb. Food blogging at its greatest – I wouldn’t have given this a second look in a list or even cookbook, but I was intrigued, and by halfway throu I’d decided to vegetarianize for dinner.

  63. Eating this as I type my comment – awesome dish! I read the original version in the Times and thought it looked good, but rolled my eyes at the “fast food” descriptor. Nothing with three sauces counts as fast food. You really nailed what needed to stay and what could go. I’ll definitely make this again – thank you!

  64. Okay, I just picked up a summer addiction, cold rice noodles! This was an amazing dinner and had so much flavor going on. I ended up baking my thighs and putting a fresh layer of peanut dressing for the last ten minutes of baking. Lucky me, I also happened to have Thai Basil, cilantro and mint in the fridge.

  65. I bookmarked your recipe and the NYT recipe a couple of days apart and hadn’t gotten around to reading yours before I made the NYT version for dinner tonight. While I found the extra steps for making the marinade to be extra work, the chicken turned out fantastic. (Not sure I’d go the extra mile every time… but damn it was tasty.)

  66. I had some leftover mango coleslaw (thanks for that recipe!) from a party yesterday afternoon. I put some slaw in the bottom of the bowl, topped it with the noodles, chicken, and veggies and dressed it with the peanut dipping sauce (since the slaw was acidic enough for our taste). It was delicious!

  67. Made this tonight to rave reviews from the fiancee – so THANK YOU! My adjustments: replaced the rice noodles with spaghetti squash and the swap was FANTASTIC – would totally recommend. Also added julienned mango and post-marination, I just mixed the sauces together to drizzle over the bowls – I much preferred the sauces mixed than them separate.

  68. Deb, I’ve been following your site for some time now and I love reading the stories you put before each recipe. That’s really what draws me in. I’d cook more of the recipes but all these great ingredients you talk about (which make me salivate) are hard to come by in Ukraine. Still, when I see one that I can make, I usually give it a shot.
    Keep up the great work!

  69. made this last night and it was DELICIOUS.Our A/C is broken so we needed a refreshing meal and this was the perfect choice. Cold, crisp, flavorful and best of all — no oven!

  70. FYI: To get more juice from a lime, try rolling it on the counter and then put it into the microwave for 15 seconds. Be careful, depending on your power level, it may get a bit warm. Heating seems to breakdown the cell structure and make it easier to juice.

  71. If you are watching your carbs, try this with yam noodles. My regular grocery carries them as “no-oodles” also available online from miracle noodle. I think Whole Foods as well. 100% fiber, 0 carbs and very similar to rice noodles. Also, which is great, they come packaged in water so no cooking pot required. Just rinse over and over and over to remove the fishy smell. (No fishy taste don’t worry.)

  72. I’m a big fan of this salad. I love when a sackful of delicious ingredients gets tossed into one bowl. And dipping sauces, too! Color me in chopstick heaven. I’ve made a similar version using leftover bbq’d pork tenderloin. Versatility. It’s a good thing! Thanks for another winning recipe.

  73. I am in the market for a lime squeezer- do you like the one you have? Mine for margaritas, but it seems like there are so many options! Thanks!

  74. Hi Deb:
    I’m a regular visitor but not a commenter. I made this Saturday night (supper) and then again today. Very Yum and 2 thumbs up from my husband and teenage son. As I’m a teacher and the teenager a student, we’re suffering from school lunch tiredness. This was a great change up to our usual. Perfect for warm weather and leftovers as someone said.
    I did find the peanut sauce a bit tart (both times I made it). I added in a little maple syrup until it was a little less mouth puckering. Overall great – we liked very much at our house.

  75. Made this for dinner for multiple generations – all from age 2 to 70 loved it! We made it with pork instead of chicken, and it worked perfectly with everything else as is. I used fish sauce, but also hated the smell and needed a few hours to recover from ot before i could taste and enjoy the finished product (which was great!). Really awful smelling…so I wonder…Fish sauce is basically anchovies, sugar, salt and oil – no? Do you think one could make their own and it would be comparable?

  76. Just made this tonight. Very good! I have leftover sauce, which I am saving a cookout marinade in a few days. Next time, I’ll marinade the chicken overnight.

  77. This was terrific. My husband didn’t care for the lime-iness of the sauces so maybe next time I will try the Maple Syrup suggestion above. I loved it as is, though. Delicious, in fact. (And I ended up using Adams salted peanut butter…it was fine.)

  78. Made this tonight, and we loved it! The chicken was excellent, and julienned cucumbers, carrots, red bell pepper, bean sprouts, green onions, chopped peanuts, and a variety of herbs was spectacular. I did feel that the peanut sauce was a little too sour, -I had expectations of it being a little sweeter. I used regular ole skippy creamy peanut butter and low sodium soy sauce. Someone brought up the idea of fried shallots, which is brilliant! Or caramelized onion.

    1. For folks finding the peanut sauce too sour and salty — I actually agree, not that it was “too” for me, we loved it because it felt somehow more summery, but that it was definitely kickier than your average mellow peanut-sesame sauce (hence my using the “peanut-lime” title) — the way to go about it is to reduce the fish sauce and to reduce the lime juice. You can also add another spoon of brown sugar. Hope that helps.

  79. Hi Deb- I’ve been reading this blog for ages but this is my first comment! I made this recipe last night and had alot of fun. Something went wrong with the sauces however as they are SALLLLLTY!!! Any advice for fixing them after the fact? I read through the comments and will definitely get a different kind of fish sauce and low-sodium soy sauce next time.

  80. I made this last night. It was good but i couldn’t get the smell of the fish sauce out of my head so next time I think I’ll sub soy sauce or something. That stuff stinks! Besides that, the bowls looked so pretty I had to take a picture. One kid and my dh really liked it so I’ll probably do it again, either with nose plugs or without fish sauce!

  81. I had the same comment as Shari, somehow wanted less acidity and more peanuttyness – but upping the veg and herbs was a great idea and this certainly is refreshing! Thanks.

  82. Yum, yum, and more yum. I love Vietnamese (and Thai) food, but it intimidates me to cook. This looked just simple enough, and a great way to use CSA veggies! It was absolutely delish. I used boneless chicken breasts, and it was incredible – such a diverse and full flavor! I’ll be making this all summer for dinners and lunch leftovers. Your recipes never fail to delight me and my husband! Thank you!!!!

  83. Hi all. I don’t know if anyone addressed this in the comments (I just skimmed), but for fish sauce my vegetarian friends substitute regular soy sauce.

  84. For the non-fish-sauce people, I bought a bottle of Golden Mountain Seasoning Sauce (following a rec. from the Washington Post) and just substitute that. I use it in addition to whatever soy sauce is called for. I believe that there are a few other vegetarian fish sauce substitutes, but I don’t remember the names of the others. (A quick check on Amazon revealed Fortuna Vegetarian Fish Sauce (Nuoc Mam Chay) – 22fl oz. although that one has MSG)

  85. Any ideas in regards to what I could use to substitute for sesame oil — can’t stand the strong flavor. I’d love to hear anyone’s suggestions.

  86. OMG, this is my new favorite summer Lunch/Supper/Dinner!! I had everything on hand, made it Sunday and will make it again as soon as the last pieces of chicken are gone. LOVE that fact that it’s ALL cold; here in Tucson that’s a big plus this time of year….and the flavors! Just divine!!Thanks Deb; keep the great ideas and recipes coming….btw, yours in my new favorite blog!

  87. I so appreciate this kind of post: Stream lined yet delicious. I’m saving it for the next heat wave. Also, just as idea, explore the world of cold soup this summer?

  88. I LOVE bun thit nuong so I was very excited to try this recipe. I added peppers, snow peas and pea sprouts to up the veggie level as suggested. It was wonderful! I worried it would disappoint being chicken instead of pork but it didn’t. My only criticism is that I thought both sauces were extremely salty. I think the brand of fish sauce I bought this time was more salty that normal. Next time (and believe me, there WILL be a next time) I will either forego the peanut sauce completely or just add peanut butter, ginger and sesame oil to the dipping sauce. Thanks for the wonderful recipe Deb!!

  89. I made this Sunday night and it was delish, had peanut butter with flex seeds and it worked just fine. The only thing I will do next time is to cut the sauces in half. It was so refreshing and perfect for this Texas weather.. 5 stars.

  90. Made this last night–a nice change from the typical cold sesame noodles (especially since I love the tartness of it). The leftovers were delicious in a wrap.

  91. I made the original recipe a few days after it appeared online. Super delicious and everyone enjoyed. But way too much fussing for dinner on a hot night. I’m looking forward to making this simplified version.

  92. Hi Deb,
    I LOVE your website and have been a frequent reader for some time now. A quick request, however…I’d love to be able to click on the links in your posts (to one of your adorable son’s pictures or your new favorite restaurant/bakery, etc.) without having to leave the recipe page or homepage of yours that I’m on. What are your thoughts?
    Your faithful reader,
    Tess

  93. I made this for dinner tonight and it was so tasty! I didn’t have any scallions or herbs so I can’t wait to make it again with those extra flavors! I will definitely make the sauces ahead of time next time and make it a quicker meal to put together. Another great recipe to put in my rotation from SK! (I also just made your carrot cake which is my go to recipe!)

  94. It was finally warm here in Seattle, and I made this with my boyfriend who I constantly force to try “new things”. He loved it, which I feel is always the sign of a winning recipe. As a bonus, I had a ton of odds and ends veggies that found a home in our bowls. Thanks so much for the flavorful recipe!

  95. Lovely recipe as always Deb!
    If anyone with peanut allergy is wondering, I made this with soy butter so that the kids could take it to day camp and it turned our really good ( I did skip the fish sauce). Also made it with soba noodles instead because of the kids preference (and leftover pork tenderloin because I had it on hand). Will see tonight how much of it comes back….or none at all.

  96. LOVE it! My husband and I made this tonight and it is absolutely scrumptious. And so nice to do the hot part of the cooking outside on the grill. We didn’t have to heat up the house.
    What a delight it is to discover a new favorite. Thanks!

  97. You may have icky remembrances of cold chicken and cold pasta, but I can literally not think of anything dreamier than a salad like this. And, from a small kitchen dweller: thank you for simplifying!

  98. I was feeling ambitious and made the NYT recipe. You’re right about the overlap – next time I’ll opt for your time/ingredient savers. The adjustments would go unnoticed. I have a 2 year old who refuses all meat – so I marinaded tofu then sautéed, while the grown-ups also had hibachi grilled marinated chicken.

    Light and healthy, allowing us to dig into some Cherry Garcia for dessert!

  99. This is so delicious that I have made it twice in the last few days. I wanted to capture the essence of a wonderful salad that is offered at a local Merced Restaurant, Thai Star, and they make their cold noodle salad with chopped romaine lettuce, which I also used. It makes it very fresh and summery, and I like it so much I may even eat some this morning, albeit soggy, for breakfast!

  100. Holy cow, this was yummy. We used regular (maranatha organic) crunchy pb and didn’t mind the sugar in the least. And, most amazingly, I made everything but the noodles ahead (during naptime), the toddler devoured it at dinner, and it went for 2 more lunches today. Incredible.

  101. I’ve made this twice this week already…so refreshing considering how hot my attic apartment is. I halved it (single girl) and substituted buckwheat soba noodles. I’ll be eating this all summer for sure.

  102. I seriously cannot believe I’ve been enjoying your blog for 4 years! I can totally remember when you moved into the apartment! I have thoroughly enjoyed your recipes throughout the years and can’t wait to get your cookbook! You are my inspiration to be a better cook and try new things. You’re the best!
    Hope you’re having a great weekend, Julie @ Color Chic

  103. Happened to have some leftover grilled chicken in the fridge, so I mixed up the two sauces and tossed with sliced chicken and let it soak for a little bit. Worked great! Thanks for the tip about extra veggies. I did some green beans and orange bell pepper and they were wonderful additions. YUM!

    Second Smitten Kitchen recipe this week. Thanks for being such a kitchen inspiration Deb!

  104. Im thinking this is our new favorite summer recipe! So delicious..and we turned it into a salad by chopping up a head of napa cabbage in leiu of the cold noodles.
    Loved both dressings but I am thinking we will try to combine them into one next time. Thanks for sharing the goodness!

  105. Oh my goodness gracious. This was out of this world. Deb, we made your changes as you suggested (see Deb’s comments #136 above), added bean sprouts and red bell pepper and cooked the chicken on an outdoor grill which added a charry goodness to the succulent chicken thighs. We used a combination of fresh mint and cilantro which took this dish over the top. Thanks for sharing…we will be making this again and again this summer!

  106. This is EXACTLY what I was craving for summer! I had this with mugwort soba noodles, added julienned sugar snap peas and a handful of herbs from the garden – so perfect. also, i added a little bit of sake to the peanut sauce, and cut back on the sugar in the thinner sauce (i like sour, less sweet). I work from home, so it’s great to have these yummy sauces ready to go for pretty much whatever I might have on hand…it’s going to be in heavy rotation…

    marinade would work great with salmon(or any fish) on the grill and flaked into a bowl of noodles- or it would be great with grilled beef too. it’s similar to miso marinade japanese style, but I like this lighter peanut version for summer. so effin’ good. thank you!!!!

  107. I made this last night and it was amazing! Here were my adjustments:
    I used a third of the fish sauce (trying to watch salt), meaning 2T for the dipping sauce and 1T for the peanut sauce. It wasn’t lacking flavor at all.
    I added some honey and sriracha to the peanut sauce, as well as chopped peanuts for more texture.
    Yum yum. Thanks, Deb! It was the perfect meal for this intolerable NYC heat wave.

  108. Deb, the blender pic reminded me that I’m in the market for a new one. What type do you use, or would you recommend any others?

    1. Megan — I only know the blender I have (and that I’ve hated all the ones I had before it), but I love it. It’s this one. I love that it’s dead simple, two speeds, dishwasher safe, no loose parts, no places for stuff to get jammed up so you have to dismantle it to get it clean, etc.

  109. I made this yesterday and it is absolutely delicious! It’s even better the next day. I prepped all of the components and stored them separately in the fridge – then just tossed it all together when I was ready. In this 100+ degree heat, this was a welcome and refreshing meal. Thanks!

  110. Made this yesterday, it was delicious! Thank you! Like others have said, it’s not something I would have ever been interested in trying on my own, but your blog post was inspiring.

    In case you are interested, my recipe notes — I also ended up adding another Tbsp of peanut butter to the sauce to make it peanut-ier, but I love peanut sauces so maybe that’s a personal preference. Also, in addition to the carrots and cucumbers, I added sliced radishes and chopped endives to the dish, and they were perfect additions. The endives in particular tasted like they were born for a dish like this. And just a random tip, I picked all the vegetables up from the grocery store salad bar, so they were pre-shredded, diced, and sliced. Easy peasy.

    Thanks for the great recipe! I am looking forward to my leftovers for lunch today.

  111. Made this last night & it was fantastic! The leftovers were great too. I used angel hair pasta as my grocery store did not have vermicelli but will try another store for that the next time I make this. There is some dipping sauce left over but the peanut sauce is all gone. Can’t wait for your cookbook to come out!

  112. Made this delicious dish yesterday lunchtime – really brightened up the grey, rainy day we were having here in the UK! Top marks from both me and the other half :)

    PS: used carrots, spring onion, green beans and baby sw corn as the veg – lovely and colourful.

  113. I have a few questions about possible substitutions. I have a hard time finding fish sauce, so what purpose does it serve here? It is a pretty major contributor to the volume of the dipping sauce. I know a lot of people say to substitute soy, but I have a minor soy allergy, so I don’t want to use close to a half cup of soy sauce between the two sauces, that would be too much. Could I use some combination of soy, lime juice, and chicken broth or water to sub for the fish sauce? I know it would have a different flavor, but I want to hit the same salty/sour notes. Any ideas would be great!

  114. I loved this recipe! We had quite a heat wave, and so when I was having some people over, this seemed like the perfect dish for hot weather, picky eaters (me, actually), and a vegetarian, and it was. I didn’t have enough limes, so I substituted some bottled lemon juice, but didn’t have enough of that either, and ended adding soy sauce to the dipping sauce with the sugar added as an afterthought, but it still turned out great! And everyone commented on how pretty it looked, and went back for seconds. Thanks for a great recipe!

  115. This looks fantastic! Thanks for the “About Page” note in this post too – you reminded me that I wanted to pre-order your cookbook for my mom’s birthday! She and I constantly find recipes from your blog to make together (or separately, to talk about later), and by the time the book is ready to ship it’ll actually be closer to my birthday, so it’ll be like a dual present! I can’t wait to make many of the recipes in your book with my mom! (My dad sure will enjoy it too!) Thanks for the hard work and the endless entertainment and food comas your blog brings :)

  116. I had my doubts – fish sauce is always a hard sell (and smell!) but it was SO GOOD! Delicious. Didn’t disappoint!

  117. This looks amazing, but I have to ask if there is a substitute for the fish sauce? There are severe fish allergies in our house.

  118. I just made this, it was excellent. Very summery-tasting. However, I live in London and it is cold and rainy out which made it slightly less enjoyable…I hope you are appreciating the hot weather there!!

  119. Thank you thank you THANK YOU! I always drool over David Tanis’ food writing and styling and I’m sure that his recipes are excellent, but reading his column always leaves me with the distinct impression that his “city kitchen” and my “city kitchen” are on completely different scales. (Mine: 25 sq feet, with 3 doorways taking up valuable wall space, and no dishwasher.) I will try out your simplified version ASAP!

  120. Can’t wait for dinner tonight. Have everything ready except for the cold noodles and veggies. I think I have found a great new recipe and reading site. Thank you to my friend Lindy for recommending it.

    Neil-a great fish sauce is Three Crabs Brand. I use this excusively. Very important when making Nuoc Cham
    .

  121. Deb,

    What is the longest you would recommend marinating the chicken? I don’t want it to get mushy but I want it to get the most flavor. Thanks

  122. This looks delicious.! I never make things like this, but I definitely want to try it out.The leftovers were great also to prepare something new recipe.I am glad that I discover this new recipe.

  123. BHW — I am not sure about mushiness, but I’d say you can marinate most chicken dishes for up to a day (if you’re trying to get a lead on the dish for later). However, 15 minutes also sufficed.

  124. I don’t know what happened, but mine did not turn out very well. I think the proportion of the flavours in the sauces was not for me. Perhaps it was the fish sauce. I don’t mind it, but there was a lot more than I’ve seen in any other Thai-type recipe I’ve tried and I’ve done a fair bit of Thai cooking. I seem to be the only one that found this but maybe the fish sauce in the UK is different to the kinds in the US? I may revisit it with less, though it was hard enough to convince my husband the peanut butter wouldn’t kill hit the first time around!

  125. Just finished this up and it was delicious, though i couldn’t quite believe the sheer volume of ingredients in the sauces! I halved this as I’m a single girl, and it was only the fact I’d just put 3 tablespoons of PB in the dressing that stopped me from eating the entire bowl.

    I used normal peanut butter by the way, as here in Hong Kong anything ‘natural’ is a bit hard to find, it was fine… and i didn’t blend, just shook it up in an old tupperware shaker (that my GRANDMA used to own!). Also I def recommend grilling the chicken … again i don’t have a bbq so have to use the broiler … and the chicken came out a little grey (though still tasty).

  126. Loved this recipe! Made a few changes for our tastes and I must say it is completely delicious! Just working on a blog about it and will post soon. Thanks for this!

  127. Made this for supper tonight and LOVED it!!! I made the dipping sauce and used it to marinade the chicken, and reserved the rest for serving. In my opinion, the peanut sauce alone was fabulous enough for the noodles and vegetables.

    I made the dipping sauce and peanut sauce, using bottle lime juice and without the perishable garlic and ginger, and keep bottles of each in my fridge so I can make this recipe anytime I want without measuring 1000 tablespoons of ingredients!

    Next time, it’ll be just be marinade, BBQ, chop veggies, and soak noodles, and dinner will be served! Easy pleasy for a keeper recipe! Thanks SK!

  128. I’ve used the sauces’ recipes as inspiration and turned this into a nice chicken appetizer. Marinated the chicken thighs, then cooked on the grill pan. Cut up int bite sized chuncks, and drizzled some more of the unused marinade on top. Sprinkled chopped up mint, inserted toothpicks, and voila! Something delicious and different. Folks INHALED it!!!, thank you Deb.

  129. I was a noob to fish sauce, and added it excitedly to my shopping list, expecting … okay, I don’t know exactly what I was expecting, but surely it was going to be delicious, right?, like hoisin sauce, or mirin, or sriracha!

    Well … it was probably the second-most foul food aroma I have ever experienced (after a block of Limburger purchased in my rash youth.) I literally could not stand to have the bottle open in my kitchen. Maybe I will try again with fish sauce labeled in a language I can read?

    Anyway, I subbed some miso and extra liquid in both sauces, and they were great! (plus: vegetarian!)

    Oh also, I am broiling chicken thighs FOREVER. Those little almost-burt bits, omgggggggg.

  130. I have been dreaming about this recipe since you posted it.

    I used the fish sauce dipping sauce tonight — loved it. I didn’t have enough lime on hand, so I did 3 TBS lime and 3 TBS lemon. It was still delicious.

    I also already had a peanut sauce – super easy.
    chopped ginger,
    1/4 cup + 1 TBS creamy peanut butter,
    1/2 cup rice vinegar (unseasoned),
    3 TBS soy
    3 TBS packed brown sugar
    1/4 cup canola oil

    We grilled shrimp with a little sesame oil on the barbecue and then tossed it with a bit of Mae Ploy sweet chile sauce. It was perfect. THANK YOU and can’t wait for Amazon to ship my cookbook.

  131. I totally went for Tanis’ version. Mistake. I really disliked the peanut sauce it was sooo fishy and overly acrid almost. I ended up combining both sauces and it was much much better. Even still, I felt like something was not balanced in the flavors. It wasn’t the herbs, I had all three on hand anyway so I used the full trio but the peanut sauce really just didn’t do it for me. It was a good try though. Next time I’ll just take your word for it.

  132. Made this for my family last week as a preview for my book club at the beach tonight. Both got great reviews – even from the little guys! Thank you for an easy recipe which helped used a ton of my CSA produce. Added all the recommended veggies (green beans, red peppers, extra carrots and cukes). I had only mint and basil in my garden, and went heavier on the mint. The dish transported well and held up great — a winner!!

    I wonder if you couldn’t combine the dipping and dressing sauces entirely to make it even easier? The chicken marinates in a combination of the two, so why not combine the steps of the brief marination of the veggies in the dipping sauce and the tossing of the rest of the ingredients with the dressing and the veggies? For me, summer is all about easy. I love this combination of ingredients and flavors, but simpler would be even better.

  133. I made this with extra-firm tofu and it held up very well. I used the dry cook-marinate method (drain, cut, brown in pan) and then let it marinate for the same amount of time as the recipe says (apparently cooked tofu takes the sauce better than raw). I left out a few tablespoons of lime juice from both sauces (for fear of that pucker reaction) and that worked well. Sliced mango on top was great, too. Delicious!

  134. I have now made this twice and LOVE it as an easy lunch that I can prep all at once at the beginning of the week. However, I think the lime in the dipping sauce added a funky flavor and I decided to take out the dipping sauce altogether and add a store-bought peanut sauce and tossed in a little soy sauce for some oomph. I much prefer this version! I also have taken the opportunity to add some more veggies: chopped red peppers and broccoli slaw.

  135. I added shelled edamame to the salad and it was fantastic. Also, added cilantro to chicken marinade….yum! I was so glad to see you had posted an easier version of David’s recipe…i had it on my to make list!

  136. I made this last week as our pre-Vegas “let’s get in one healthy meal before Vegas” meal and it was devoured. My chef husband declared it to be the best peanut sauce ever and licked the bowl when it was all gone. He now insists that he needs more.

  137. I’m making this tomorrow, can’t wait – love fresh herbs in meals like this! I just wrote everything down – pen to paper, doesn’t feel so daunting now :) Thanks for the recipe.

  138. I made this for dinner and it was amazing! Although, we agreed that we needed more sauce. My boyfriend and I both over-ate because it tasted so good! It was even better for lunch the next day after it had sat in the fridge over night!

  139. I made this for dinner tonight and served it hot. Delicious! I flash cooked the scallions and carrots in broth (then drained); and, instead of making dipping sauce I added the brown sugar and garlic to half the peanut sauce to pour over the top. Such an easy recipe.

  140. hey deb, just wanted to check on the noodle quantities. my package of rice noodles says 4oz/serving, so one package of 16oz feeds 4. that’s what my guess would have been too. but you said 8oz can serve 4-6? tell me more, please!

    1. Hi Alex — The dish has a lot more stuff in it than plain pasta (over a pound of eggplant, etc.); we felt it served 4 as a main or 6 with something else.

  141. 9 bowls, 2 cutting boards, a stock pot, a pan, a colander and the blender…and it was totally worth it. I will totally make this again! I added the green beans as suggested, they went wonderfully with the rest of the veggies. This recipe was fantastic!

  142. I never write comments or reviews but I am compelled to send a quick note about this recipe. I am absolutely obsessed with this recipe, and specifically, the peanut sauce is incredible. This will become a regular in my house, great for weeknights, leftovers, and entertaining. I’m “smitten.”. Thanks for another great recipe.

  143. Amazing! Thought the flavours were excellent…we love lime in our house! I’m sure this will be a staple in the summer. (Though it was fine in winter too!). Spread the prep out throughout my afternoon and it didn’t feel like much at all. i also cleaned the kitchen as I went and I feel like I got to enjoy dinner so much more! Thanks for the recipe!

  144. Deb, I have been using another ‘sesame chicken and cold noodles’ recipe for the past year in an attempt to make ‘asian’ food for my fiance who is half Chinese. He liked that dish, but he LOVED this dish! He actually asked that I add it to the regular rotation of meals. Aside from the julienning the vegetables, it’s a very easy recipe. Is there a way I could throw all the veggies into a food processor or us a mandelin to chop the veggies faster?
    Also, I have recently become obsessed with your blog so he bought me your book for my kindle and he said “My quality of eating has basically tripled since you got hooked on Smit Kit. That cookbook was the best investment I’ve ever made!” (he nicknamed you SmitKit, btw). We absolutely love your recipes and I am so much happier to make him dinners when I know he’s going to love them. Keep them coming!!
    PS. Can we get a recipe for tres leche cake?

  145. Thank you SO MUCH for blogging this recipe. I made this dish half a dozen times last year and now that the weather is warming up I want to put it back into rotation. I’d bookmarked the recipe in the NYT but, when I went to look for it this morning, HORRORS it was gone! A quick search and I found that you, my dear, have unbroken my heart. Many, many thanks.

  146. I know I am late to the comments party here but may I just add my many, many thanks for this post. Like the previous commenter this became a staple for us last summer and so cool because we could throw at/in it whatever was ready in the garden or came in our farm share (within reason)… This is already my 3rd time making it since the weather has improved and it just always tastes fresh and delicious, never boring.

  147. Hey, all you inattentive cooks! You can forget to review the procedure on this recipe and dump all the dipping sauce on the raw chicken with excellent results! I added just a bit of the peanut sauce to this marinade. This really good any time of year.

  148. FISH SAUCE UPDATE:

    I just nerved up to try another kind of fish sauce. This one was transparent, beige, and slightly viscous where the other had been murky, think, and prone to sediment. Good news: this one is delicious and not horrifying!

    Now to make this dish grain-free, soy-free, and vegan! NO BIG DEAL

  149. Made this tonight and my family LOVED it! As usual I cheated a bit…I simply put both sauce ingredients into a blender and then poured the entire batch onto the salad…delicious and much less work on my part and fewer dishes. Will be a regular dish this summer per request do son and DIL! Thank you for a terrific meal!

  150. Hi! Congrats on the NY Observer Very Short List plug (which is what led me here). This recipe reminds me of one of my favorite culinary experiences — Noodle Bar in Seaside, California (Monterey Bay). (I know this sounds like self-promotion, but I assure it’s not.) This recipe just reminded me of sitting cheek to jowl with my coworkers, eating noodles. Can’t wait to give it a try.

  151. I finally made this tonight. Usually, labor plus newness means my family will hate it. So glad this was the exception! We all loved it!

  152. Made this last night–hubby loved it WAYYYY beyond our usual noodle recipe. I adjusted the peanut sauce as it was just “limier” than I preferred (added several T. more peanut butter, 2-3 T. water and extra cayenne.) A little more effort than I prefer to spend after wrangling children all day but sooooo worth it! Awesome recipe, Deb!

  153. I loved this! Sort of accidentally and because I didn’t have enough of any ingredients, I made both the marinade and the sauce in one bowl. I poured half over TJ’s boneless organic chicken thighs and grilled them outside, and used the other half as the sauce. Even the 5 year old and the 9 month old ate it! It’s going right into the quick summer dinner rotation.

  154. I just made the peanut dressing. Marinated the chicken in some fish sauce/sesame oil salad dressing that was left over, then grilled it. Served it family style with julienned veggies from the garden and the peanut dressing, plus noodles. It was a lot of fun. I didnt have peanuts and I really wish I did. I’ll make it again. Thanks!

  155. I have made this several times but find that the dressing just has too much lime juice ….. I always make a recipe exact the first time around and then play it up to my tastes after that which meant cutting the lime juice by half and a teaspoon of sambal olek for heat.

  156. I’ve been meaning to make this since it was first posted but never got round to it until last night, and all I can say is why didn’t I make this sooner! Loved it! I had to substitute lemon juice for some of the lime juice as I ran out of lime and it was fine. This will definitely be a regular in our summer rotation, thanks!

  157. I love this kind of food – so beautifully fresh. The weather in the UK is atrocious but I know how boiling it is in Italy because my parents are at their house in Tuscany at the moment and keep reporting back (and making me jealous!). You may be drowning in the heat but I’d prefer that to torrential rain :-)

  158. Hi again! I made this tonight, with a couple of changes. I stole the marinade from your roast pork with cellophane noodles and used it on my chicken. I skipped the dipping sauce, but doubled the dressing recipe, and used diced red onion in place of scallions. I broiled the chicken as you suggested. I tossed the noodles, carrots, cucumbers, and red onions in the dressing, topped it off with chicken warm from the oven, and then garnished with torn cilantro and crushed peanuts. It was amazing! Your blog is my current go-to when I want a recipe that will cheer me up.

  159. DELICIOUS! My 6 yo asked for it again already! Used tofu instead of chicken, put in snap peas, carrots, and zucchini. Also used the dipping sauce reduced on top of bok choy after braising it–fantastic! Also, it is winter now, so we left items hot, and stirfried vegetables. Last, we used tahini to make it nut-free, and roasted sesame seeds for crunch. Thanks so much for this great combination at core!

  160. We have made this a few times. As written, we tried it on a group of thirteen people, and only my partner liked it (everyone else hated the fish sauce, and thought it had too much lime). Now, I just make the sauce out of whatever I like, and marinate the chicken in a bit of that, in the pan. This recipe now uses up three bowls (one each for noodles, vegetables, and meat/sauce), a pan, measuring and serving items, and a knife + chopping board. The actual chopping still takes well over an hour, but this is one of the best things I’ve ever tasted.
    Best with extra ginger.

  161. I was pleasantly surprised at how quickly and easily this came together, especially given the number of steps and bowls involved. It definitely helped that I had a second person to handle the grilling though! Thinking of doubling the recipe for our next dinner party…

  162. Wow – L O V E this! What a great recipe! Incredibly delicious and satisfying. I love heat so I used 3 thai chilies in dipping sauce. I also put more peanut butter in the peanut butter sauce. So awesome.

  163. This was SO good!!! It brought back many lovely memories of meals in Vietnam. The dipping sauce in particular was amazing! I may just have to turn it into a regular dressing for summer veggies! YUM!

  164. For anyone who’s wondering how many lines to get, you need just over 1.25 cups of lime juice total, which for me was six limes.

  165. I don’t know if I just *thought* there was lettuce in this or if I added it in one day spur of the moment, but I have made this a bunch of times and I always mix in finally chopped lettuce, ramping up the vege level and adding to the deliciousness.

  166. Found myself far too lazy to muster the energy that would have been required to get enough limes. So, I made only the dressing, and with just the two limes and one lemon I had. And powdered ginger, and a dollop of that chile garlic sauce, and the whole thing was still delicious.

  167. Made this and your Shakshuka recipe for a camping trip with my extended family – they were actually great for camp cooking, since I could make the sauces and chicken ahead of time, and then all I had to do was chop veggies and boil water for the noodles at the campsite. Did the same w/ the Shakshuka – made the sauce ahead, then reheated on a camp stove to cook with the eggs, toasted some pita in another skillet. Both were a big hit with all of the hippies I’m related to, even my sister’s super-picky fiance :) Thanks again for all of the wonderful recipes!

  168. Thank you Deb for once again saving my dinner! We’ve reached the dog days of summer in Maine and I am refusing to turn on the oven. It also just so happens that our fridge is full to bursting with fresh produce…which means this is EXACTLY what I will be making tonight. Hooray for cold and flavorful noodles! Thanks again!

  169. Gosh, this is delicious. The chicken marinade is SO good. It’s tasty when it marinates even for 15 or 20 minutes, but I let it go overnight once and ooh baby. I’ve made it without the toasted sesame oil and it was still great. Have also used almond butter instead of peanut, still great. My favorite veggies to have with it are pea tendrils!

  170. Another great recipe — thanks! I used the veggies you suggested plus shredded raddichio and some Asian micro greens. Great dish for company because everything can be made ahead and just tossed together at the last minute. Also pretty to look at!

  171. Ooooh this is even better than Martha Stewart’s Thai Chicken and Noodle Salad + Spicy Asian Dressing which I’ve been making for ages and love dearly! Bookmarked your version and making it very soon. One handy tip she mentions in hers, if you don’t mind me sharing, is to slice the carrots into ribbons with a vegetable peeler (without a mandolin, I personally find the julienne thing excruciating). Also, mung bean noodles are a nice alternative to rice noodles, I find they work better in cold dishes, must be the texture…

  172. I’m going to try this with WOW butter! My son has nut allergies, and apparently WOW Butter is peanut and nut free and tastes like peanut butter.

  173. Love it when you remind me of a great recipe. Have made this a few times in the past and then again tonight for supper. I like the flavour fish sauce gives to the sauce and think it would be quite different without it. I always have no salt, no sugar peanut butter around (in fact I find regular peanut butter far too sweet). I used a peeler to get strips of carrots rather then the process of julienning them. I also love the peanut sauce because it is different from other peanut sauces. I don’t like sauces to overwhelm the subtle flavours of the veggies and chicken but this sauce nicely enhances them.

  174. Back in 2000 or so I saw a recipe for Asian peanut sauce in a magazine called Women First. I lost the recipe at some point but have tried to re-create it over the years. I adore it. It includes: ~ Six Classic Asian Flavors (garlic, ginger, soy sauce, dark sesame oil, fish sauce, wine vinegar); and ~ Peanut Sauce Trio (peanut butter, lime juice, thick coconut milk), and Sweet & Heat (brown sugar or honey, and some chili sauce or chili paste). And only one bowl used–yay!

    I totally agree about more vegetables! I like to add shredded Napa cabbage or regular cabbage, water chestnuts, sugar snap peas or snow pea pods, and red bell pepper or orange or yellow bell peppers. It looks pretty served on a bed of dark ruffly kale, too (although most of us don’t gobble down the kale)!

    I serve it often without meat, but if I use chicken, I don’t marinate it before cooking–just place the warm cooked chicken pieces in the sauce to soak up the flavors. For me, it’s enough to coat the chicken in the fabulous sauce! (And so much simpler!)

  175. I have made this countless times since the recipe was first posted. Do you have any suggestions as to what might be a good hor d’oeuvre and a good appetizer to serve with it ? I am planning a dinner party this week and it will be hot so thought your recipe would be perfect in the heat. Thanks!

  176. Made this for dinner for my husband and I and college aged son. We all loved it! Instead of throwing out the marinade, I through it some new chicken breasts, marinated them overnight and put it in the freezer. Voila! Two meals. :)

  177. Made this tonight using cucumbers, green and red pepper, and scallions for the veggies, and cheated with a cooled rotisserie chicken from the supermarket that we cut up as it was still high 80’s at 8pm and didn’t have a grill… And it was still amazingly delicious!! It’s great because I had everything prepped in bowls in the fridge, and when guests arrived, just brought it out, let people assemble their own, and a spectacular meal’s ready in two minutes.