Udon Noodle Salad w/ Chicken, Bok Choy & Veggies

Sometimes cooking is
a mystery to me. I just don't know what to make. There are days even online recipe searches or exploring my blog's recipes don't bring me any inspiration. Then there are other moments when the creative cooking muse whispers in my ear. This recipe is from a moment like that. 

It was so hot a week ago, and I had a bunch of family coming for late afternoon hang out. I promised them a cold spread and delivered. Cooked sliced meat, veggie tray, fruit tray, sandwich buns, Olive Parmesan focaccia, mixed olives, macaroni salad, a fancy dessert and cookies.  The nine of us chatted and noshed over several hours until most of it was gone. 

Of what I had left, the only thing that would make a meal for four adults and a toddler the next day was several cups of cooked chicken. I just couldn't think of anything I wanted to make as it was such a hot day.  For no reason I can think of, the idea bubbled up for a cold Udon noodle salad. Had anyone ever made such a thing before? In a web search I found the answer was yes. 

Where this idea
came from, I don't know. I had begun to stock frozen Udon noodles that are in individual cakes, but usually I pair them with a stir fry or use them in a soup. I couldn't resist giving a salad a try. With company, being able to make something earlier in the day and then just pull it out at supper time was perfect. And a cold full meal salad on a hot day was a blessing.

I looked at recipes on several websites, and then mixed and matched ingredients and amounts to come up with something that appealed to me. To the best of my recollection, the recipe below is what I did. Just know that you can add more or less veggies, and switch out those I used for what you have in your fridge.  The noodle amount is correct - and I would use the 4C of baby bok choy - but outside of that, just have fun. 


= = = =

Udon Noodle Salad w/ Chicken, Bok Choy & Veggies
4 larger servings 

Salad -

3            250 gram Cakes Frozen Udon Noodles (750 grams total)
1 T         Oil
3            Cloves Garlic
3 C        Raw Veggies (shredded carrots, diced red or Yellow peppers, diced snap peas, etc.)
4 C        Baby Bok Choy, cleaned and cut crosswise in 1/2" pieces
1/2 C     Cilantro, finely chopped
3-4        Green Onions, sliced
2-3 C     Leftover cooked chicken (or ham or beef), diced

Dressing -

2 T         Peanut butter
1 T         Honey
2 T         Sesame oil
4 T         Soy Sauce
1 T         Sweet Thai Chili Sauce
Optional - if you want some spice you could add crushed red pepper flakes

Instructions -

Heat a pot of water to boiling and cook the Udon noodles for 1-3 minutes, whatever is recommended on the package.  Drain, rinse well with cold water, and drain again.  Let sit in the strainer while you prepare everything else. 

Heat 1 T oil in a large non-stick frying pan.  Add the garlic, veggies, and baby bok choy.  Saute until crisp tender. Set aside to cool slightly. 

Add all dressing ingredients to a large salad bowl and mix until well combined.  Taste and adjust if needed.  Add the drained Udon noodles, the chicken, the sauteed veggies, the green onion and the cilantro.  Toss gently until ingredients are well combined.  

Cover and put in the refrigerator for 30-60 minutes depending how chilled you want it.  Give a good stir before serving.