This noodle dish is undeniably Asian but I balk at giving it a singular regional label because it is both Thai and Japanese — the noodles are flavored Thai-style, topped with chicken teriyaki then finished off with fresh Thai basil and cilantro, herbs that are associated with Thai cooking, and peanut powder. To simplify, I call it spicy chicken teriyaki noodles.
So, it’s fusion? Yes. And if we’re really honest about it, there is no pure cuisine in Southeast Asia anyway. Everywhere it’s a fusion of local cuisine, Chinese influence and colonial legacies. Even the cuisine of Thailand, the only Asian country that was never colonized by a foreign power, is a blend of native culinary traditions and those of neighboring countries including Burma, Malaysia, Indonesia, Vietnam, Cambodia and, of course, China.
The peanut powder I used I bought at a Chinese store. If unavailable, you can just mix together ground roasted peanuts and sugar, or substitute sweetened peanut butter.
The chicken teriyaki is cooked separately. The best way to execute this dish is to prepare the noodles while the chicken teriyaki is cooking. Chicken and noodles finish cooking at the same time and, by the time the dish is ready for assembly, both components are still hot.
So, while the teriyaki is cooking, saute the spices until fragrant.
Add the noodles, pour in the seasonings and toss.
Now, all you need to do is plate the spicy chicken teriyaki noodles.
- rice noodles for two, cooked according to package directions
- 4 to 6 cloves of garlic
- 2 to 3 stalks of lemongrass
- 1 bird’s eye chili
- 10 stalks of scallion
- a knob of ginger
- 1 tbsp. of lime or lemon juice
- ½ tsp. of sugar
- 1 tbsp. of light soy sauce
- patis (fish sauce), to taste
- 2 tbsps. of cooking oil
- chicken teriyaki (get the recipe)
- Thai basil and cilantro
- peanut powder
- Finely mince the garlic.
- Finely slice the lemongrass (see instructions) then chop.
- Peel the ginger then chop.
- Thinly slice the chili and scallion stalks.
- Heat the cooking oil in a wok or frying pan.
- Keeping the heat at medium-low, gently cook the garlic, lemongrass, ginger, scallions and chili until a bit softened and lightly browned, about eight minutes.
- Add the cooked noodles.
- Season with soy sauce, fish sauce and lime or lemon juice. Sprinkle in the sugar. Cook, tossing often, until blended and the noodles are heated through.
- Divide the noodles between two bowls. Top with sliced chicken teriyaki. Sprinkle with torn Thai basil and cilantro, and peanut powder. Serve at once.