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chinese new year recipe

Recipe for chicken noodle salad with spicy tahini dressing

Karoline Boehm Goodnick for The Boston Globe

Serves 8

Noodles symbolize longevity, so they are often served on auspicious occasions like birthdays and Chinese New Year, which is celebrated on Jan. 31, and often begins with family parties the night before. It is believed that eating the long noodles will bring a long, healthy life. The dish can be prepared in advance and served at room temperature or chilled. The sauce is made with a base of untoasted or light tahini paste, a Middle Eastern staple sold at most supermarkets. Instead of using Chinese noodles, use healthier whole-wheat spaghetti. The sauce will keep in the refrigerator for several weeks.

CHICKEN

3cups low-sodium chicken stock
2cups water
3tablespoons rice wine, sake, or dry white wine
1piece (2 inches) fresh ginger, sliced and smashed with the flat side of a cleaver
4skinless, boneless chicken halves (about 1½ pounds total)

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1. In a large saucepan, combine the stock, water, rice wine, sake, or white wine, and ginger. Bring to a boil. Add the chicken and return to a boil. Skim the surface, lower the heat, and simmer for 15 minutes, skimming occasionally, or until the chicken is firm to the touch and cooked through.

2. Remove the pan from the heat and let chicken sit in liquid for 10 minutes. Transfer the chicken to a bowl to cool completely. Cut the chicken against the grain into thin strips. Reserve the stock for the dressing.

NOODLES

Salt, to taste
8ounces whole-wheat spaghetti
1teaspoon toasted sesame oil
2carrots, grated
2cups shredded broccoli slaw (available in produce section)
2cups bean sprouts, rinsed and drained
1large red bell pepper, cored, seeded, and cut into thin slices

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1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the spaghetti and cook, stirring occasionally, for 9 to 11 minutes, or until the spaghetti is tender but still has some bite. Drain into a colander and transfer to a large bowl. Add the sesame oil and toss well. Arrange the cooked noodles in a large serving bowl.

2. Arrange the carrots, broccoli slaw, and bean sprouts on the noodles, leaving a space in the middle for the chicken. Arrange the chicken in the center. Set the red pepper slices on top.

DRESSING

¾cup untoasted or light sesame tahini paste
3tablespoons dark sesame oil
3tablespoons soy sauce
2tablespoons rice wine or sake
2tablespoons Chinese black vinegar or Worcestershire sauce
3tablespoons sugar
1piece (2 inches) fresh ginger, finely chopped
2cloves garlic, finely chopped
Generous ½ teaspoon chile paste, or more to taste
½cup chicken stock

1. In a food processor, pulse the tahini paste. With the processor running, slowly pour the sesame oil, soy sauce, rice wine or sake, black vinegar or Worcestershire, and sugar into the work bowl. Blend thoroughly. Add ginger, garlic, and chile paste. Pulse the mixture to blend it. Slowly add the stock through the feed tube until smooth. Taste for seasoning and add salt, if you like.

2. Pour a little of the dressing on the salad, and serve the rest on the side. Serve the salad at room temperature or chilled.

 Nina Simonds

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