Sous Vide Ginger-Scallion Chicken with Udon Noodles

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Carolyn Jung is a James Beard Award-winning Bay Area food journalist, whose work has appeared in the San Francisco Chronicle, Every Day with Rachael Ray, Coastal Living, Via magazine, Food Arts, Edible Silicon Valley, Wine Spectator and other publications. She is the fo ...

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Think of this as the anti-noodle bowl. It’s not a mountain of noodles with a few slivers of meat. In fact, it’s the exact opposite: Heavy on the protein and light on the amount of noodles. In this day and age of low-carb diets and fads, this recipe is a way to have your noodles and eat them, too. Big bone-in, skin-on chicken breasts get cooked with garlic, ginger and green onion in a precision cooker. As a result, this often dry cut of meat emerges incredibly plump and juicy. The natural broth created in the cooking process gets tossed with chewy, springy udon noodles to form the bed of the dish. Use frozen packets of already-cooked noodles found in the freezer section of Japanese markets. Each frozen round of noodles is less than 5 ounces per person – just enough to satisfy that carb craving, but not so much to weigh you down. The chicken breast goes on top of the cooked noodles, then gets garnished with slivers of green onions, fresh cilantro leaves and batons of cucumber for a nice hit of crunch. The real star of the dish that brings it all together is the sauce. It’s my favorite garnish for traditional Hainan chicken. It couldn’t be simpler, either. It’s just a generous amount of grated fresh ginger warmed in vegetable oil with a little salt. It’s amazing how flavorful and lush the oil gets with the sweet-hot hit of ginger. It’s so utterly delicious, you just might want to make an extra batch to drizzle on grilled shrimp, steamed fish, Asian vegetables or anything else that piques your fancy.
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Ingredients for 4

  • 4 (12- to 16-ounce) bone-in, skin-on chicken breasts

  • Kosher salt

  • 4 scallions, divided

  • 2 cloves garlic, peeled and smashed

  • 2 (1-inch) segments of fresh ginger, peeled and smashed, plus 3 heaping tablespoons grated

  • 6 tablespoons vegetable oil

  • 4 (4 1/2 ounce) individual packets of frozen udon noodles

  • 2 Japanese cucumbers, cut into slender batons

  • Fresh cilantro leaves, for serving

Directions

  • Step 1

    Set the Anova Sous Vide Precision Cooker to 145ºF (63ºC).

  • Step 2

    Season chicken breasts with salt. Slice two scallions into 3 pieces each.

  • Step 3

    Divide the chicken breasts and scallions between two large zipper lock or vacuum seal bags. Divide the garlic and ginger segments between each bag. Seal the bags using the water immersion technique or a vacuum sealer on the dry setting.

  • Step 4

    Place the bags in the water bath and set the timer for 2 hours.

  • Step 5

    Meanwhile, prepare the ginger sauce: In a small saucepan, combine the vegetable oil, grated ginger and 3/4 teaspoon salt over low heat. Warm gently to infuse the ginger flavor into the oil, about 5 minutes. Reserve.

  • Step 6

    Bring a medium pot of water to a boil. Add the udon noodles, and stir to separate the strands. Cook until the noodles are warmed through and separated, 3 to 4 minutes. Drain and rinse the noodles.

    • Finishing Steps

    • Step 0

      When the timer goes off, remove the bags from the water bath. Remove the chicken breasts from the bags.

    • Step 1

      Transfer the cooking liquid from the bag to the pot in which the udon was cooked. Discard the scallions, ginger, and garlic from the bag.

    • Step 2

      Add the udon to the cooking liquid and cook gently over low heat until the noodles are warm.

    • Step 3

      Slice the remaining two scallions vertically into thin strands or shreds.

    • Step 4

      Divide noodles between 4 shallow bowls. Top each with a chicken breast. Arrange cucumber batons around the edge of the bowls. Spoon the ginger sauce over the top of the chicken. Garnish with the green onion strands and cilantro leaves. Serve.

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145.4 F / 63 C Recipe Temp
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