Use leftover chicken instead of the boneless chicken breasts, if you happen to have some around, and save yourself a step. Very adaptable and totally addictive.
375 g skinless, boneless chicken breasts, (about 2 medium)
1/2 cup chicken broth
120 g uncooked angel hair pasta, or rice vermicelli noodes
2 green onions, cut into 1/4-in. slivers
1 medium carrot, shredded
1 medium cucumber, peeled, seeded and julienned
1/2 red sweet pepper, cut into 1/4-in. slivers
1/4 cup fresh cilantro, chopped (if you like it)
1/4 cup peanuts, chopped
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup water
1/4 cup vinegar, (white or cider)
1 garlic clove, squished
1 tbsp Thai fish sauce, (or soy sauce)
1/2 tsp Asian chili paste, (if desired)
2 tbsp vegetable oil
In a small covered saucepan over medium heat, cook the chicken breasts in the chicken broth until just cooked through – the meat should be opaque in the middle. Remove from heat, let cool and pull the meat by hand into shreds. Discard cooking liquid and transfer chicken to a large bowl.
If you’re using angel hair pasta, cook it in a large pot of boiling salted water in the usual way, until just tender but not mushy. If you’re using rice vermicelli, drop the uncooked noodles into boiling water and cook for no more than a minute after the water returns to a boil. Either way, dump noodles in a colander and rinse under cold running water until they are cold. Let drain completely and add to the shredded chicken along with the green onions, carrot, cucumber, red pepper and cilantro.
In a small saucepan, stir together the sugar, water and vinegar, and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Cook for 2 minutes, then add the garlic, fish sauce and chili paste. Cook, stirring for 1 minute. Remove from heat and add the vegetable oil. Let cool for a few minutes, then add about 3/4 of the dressing to the salad in the bowl. Toss to combine, then chill for at least 1 hour before serving.
Just before serving the salad, toss again to mix everything evenly and add the reserved dressing if necessary to moisten. Sprinkle the peanuts over the top and serve.