I somehow stumbled across the Paper Chef challenge yesterday and thought I'd give it a go. Apparently modeled after the Ironchef series of TV fame, the idea is each cook must prepare a recipe from four ingredients selected by the previous Paper Chef winner. The ingredients are revealed the first full weekend of the month and the challenge must be submitted by noon the following Tuesday. It turned out that I had the four ingredients required for this month's challenge, so I thought I'd see what I could do. This month's ingredients were corn, chicken, almonds, and fish sauce. This combination suggested to me a Thai or Vietnamese style salad although I also considered fried rice. Cellophane noodles are frequently used in Thai salads and have the wonderful quality of absorbing and distributing the dressing to each bite of the salad. This salad could be served as lettuce wraps or, as I have done, simply on top of several leaves of romaine lettuce.
Chicken and Corn Cellophane Noodle Salad
4 chicken thighs, skinned, boned, and cut into 1/2 inch dice
2 red peppers, roasted, peeled, and cut into 1/2 inch dice
2 ears of corn, shaved, about 2 cups of kernels
6 to 8 green onions, cut into 1/2 inch lengths
1/2 cup slivered dry roasted almonds
6 kaffir lime leaves, finely julienned
1 2 ounce bundle of cellophane noodles soaked in hot water until soft, drained, then cut in 2 inch lengths
3 TBS oil
1 TBS kecap manis (Indonesian sweet soy sauce)
1 TBS fish sauce (I prefer 3 Crabs, a Vietnamese brand)
2 cloves of garlic, minced
Marinate chicken in kecap manis, fish sauce and garlic for several hours or overnight.
Stir fry chicken in hot wok with 2 tablespoons of oil until just cooked. Remove chicken to a clean bowl. Add another tablespoon of oil to wok, then green onions. Fry about 20 seconds, then add red peppers and corn. Cook for two to three minutes over high flame, stirring constantly. Add chicken back to the vegetables and stir to mix thoroughly. Turn off heat and stir in almonds and lime leaf slivers. Fold in cellophane noodles, then pour dressing over and mix well. Serve several tablespoons full on individual iceberg lettuce leaves or on top of a plate lined with romaine lettuce.
2 TBS Thai sweet chili sauce
1 TBS fish sauce
juice of 1/2 a lime
1 1/2 tsp finely minced ginger
2 TBS water
sugar to taste
Mix ingredients together in a jar and shake well.
Thanks to Kristina of Former Chef for hosting this month's challenge.