SPICY GOCHUJANG CHICKEN & NOODLES WITH CUCUMBER SALAD
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Have you tried those Thai Wheat Noodles from Trader Joe's yet? I seriously can not get enough of them. You could use any pre-cooked noodle here if you don't have access to a TJ's or even an uncooked noodle that you prepare. You just need some noods! Also this is the first chicken recipe I have ever shared to my blog. You can listen to this episode on my podcast, Love Your Bod Pod to hear more about coming out as no longer being vegan.
Moving on to the food. Gochujang is a Korean chili paste made from chili peppers, glutinous rice, fermented soybeans, and salt. It is a popular condiment in Korean cuisine and is often used to add depth and complexity to dishes. Gochujang has a sweet and spicy flavor with a slightly tangy and savory undertone. It can be used in a variety of ways, such as a marinade, dipping sauce, or as a flavoring in stews, soups, and stir-fries. Gochujang is also a key ingredient in many Korean dishes, including bibimbap, tteokbokki, and bulgogi. Due to its complex flavor and versatility, gochujang has gained popularity outside of Korea and is now widely available in many grocery stores and specialty food shops around the world.
Trader Joe's started selling Gochujang and since then I have been using it a lot. You can buy it online or hopefully find it in the Asian section of your grocery store.
This dish takes about 5 minutes to prep and 12 minutes to cook, not including the passive 30 minutes to marinate the chicken. It's a super quick, easy weeknight meal. It might look like a lot of ingredients but it's mostly just the sauce and dressing so don't let it intimidate you.
I used chicken thighs because dark meat is just more forgiving then white meat and since I am not very experienced in cooking chicken, thighs make sure the chicken is moist and not dry. Feel free to use whatever cut of chicken you want though.
And the cucumber salad make it a balanced meal and add some necessary freshness, in my opinion to the dish.
Marinade and sauce
1/4 cup grape seed oil (or other neutral oil vegetable oil)
3 tbsp gochujang Korean red pepper paste
2 tsp chili powder or gochugaru
2 tbsp toasted sesame oil
1/4 cup soy sauce or tamari
3 tbsp coconut sugar (omit or decrease if you like a spicier sauce, but this tames the spice)
1-inch fresh ginger, peeled and minced
5 cloves garlic, minced or pressed
1 lbs boneless skinless chicken thighs, cut into 1 inch bite-sized pieces
2 tbsp coconut aminos
2 tbsp soy sauce or tamari
1/4 cup rice vinegar
2 tbsp grapeseed oil (or other neutral oil like vegetable oil)
2 tbsp toasted sesame oil
1 1/2 tbsp sesame seeds
3-4 Persian cucumbers, thinly sliced
2 green onions, thinly sliced
1 lbs cooked noodles (I used Trader Joe’s Thai Wheat Noodles)** SEE NOTE
1 tbsp coconut oil
Basil or cilantro
For the marinade, add all ingredients to a bowl, and mix well. Then add half of it to a gallon-sized freezer bag with the chicken pieces and let marinate in the fridge for 30 minutes. Reserve the other half for the noodles.
Meanwhile, add all the cucumber salad ingredients to a bowl, mix well, and let marinate.
Then in a large cast iron skillet, heat oil over medium-high heat. Add the chicken and the marinade, and sear on all sides for about 1-2 minutes a side. Low the heat to medium, and cook another 2-4 minutes until the chicken is cooked through or reached an internal temp of 165f. Add in the pre-cooked noodles and the remaining sauce that you reserved. Toss well to coat evenly.
Divide up amongst bowls, and serve up with the cucumber salad.
Garnish with green onion, sesame seeds, and fresh herbs. Enjoy!
***NOTE - to prep the pre-cooked noodles, I will add them to a separate skillet or cast iron pan with a tbsp oil and a splash or two of water. Then cook over medium-low heat until the noodles start to break apart and then I add them to the skillet with the chicken & sauce. If you cannot access the Trader Joes Thai Wheat Noodles, cook 1/2 lbs of whatever noodles you like or use any other pre-cooked noodles. Pad Thai, Rice noodles, ramen, or spaghetti would all work here.