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Vietnamese Chicken Noodle Salad

Lots of crunchy fresh vegetables, juicy shredded chicken and rice noodles tossed together with a lime and chilli dressing make a megahealthy, refreshing lunch. The tangy dressing is fat-free and the veggies certainly give you a generous boost towards your five-a-day. Pack up the salad in a box and tuck into it with chopsticks if you want to be really authentic (or use pencils if you’re eating at your desk!).

serves two

takes about 20 to 25 minutes to make

for the salad

500ml water or chicken stock

2 skinless chicken breasts

125g thin rice noodles

1?4 Chinese leaf/cabbage, finely shredded

1 carrot, peeled and cut into matchsticks

1?4 cucumber, cut into matchsticks

4 spring onions, sliced into thin strips

a small handful of coriander leaves, roughly chopped

a small handful of mint leaves, roughly chopped

50–100g roasted unsalted peanuts, chopped

for the dressing

2 tablespoons lime juice

1 teaspoon caster sugar

1 tablespoon fish sauce

1 long red chilli (about the size

of your index finger),

deseeded and finely sliced

Bring the water or chicken stock to the boil. Add the chicken, cover with a lid and simmer for 5 minutes. Lift out the chicken with a slotted spoon and leave

to cool. Return the liquid to the boil, turn off the heat and add the noodles. Leave to soak for about 4 minutes or until tender, and then drain. Cool under the cold tap and place in a mixing bowl.

Shred the chicken and add to the noodles with the Chinese cabbage, carrot, cucumber, spring onion and herbs. Mix together all the dressing ingredients until the sugar has dissolved and pour over the salad. Toss the salad and scatter over the peanuts.

PS . . . If you can’t get hold of roasted unsalted peanuts, buy raw

shelled peanuts with reddish brown skins on. Roast in a hot, dry frying

pan for 2 to 3 minutes until they start to colour. Reduce the heat and

continue to roast for a further 5 minutes, tossing them in the pan.

Tip on to kitchen paper and rub away their skins.

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