Iced somen noodles with chicken and vegetables with spicy ginger sesame sauce

Iced somen noodles with chicken and vegetables with spicy ginger sesame sauce (Ricardo DeAratanha / Los Angeles Times / May 13, 2013)

Total time: 1 hour, 45 minutes, plus chilling time for the chicken

Servings: 6

Note: The degree of heat in the sauce is determined by the amount of tobanjan (hot Chinese miso paste) or la yu (hot Chinese chile oil) you use. You can also omit these seasonings and simply make a ginger sesame sauce. Alternatively, the soy-mirin dipping sauce used for the iced somen noodles with eggplant can also be served with this recipe as a second sauce, in which case you will need deeper serving bowls. Tobanjan and shiso leaves can be found at Japanese markets. Japanese tahini (sesame paste) is called atari goma or neri goma. You can find it at the Japanese market but tahini will work too. Stir the atari goma with a spoon before spooning out of the can as it will separate (the oil will rise to the surface).

Steamed chicken

2 small (or 1 large) chicken breasts, about 1 pound total

2 tablespoons sake

1 green onion, white part cut crosswise into 1/8 -inch slices (green and root tip discarded)

1 tablespoon peeled and thinly sliced ginger (from a 1-inch piece)

1 teaspoon sesame oil

1. Toss the chicken with the sake, onion and ginger in a shallow, heat-proof bowl large enough to hold the chicken.

2. Prepare a stove-top steamer and place the chicken, still in the bowl, on the rack in the steamer. Steam the chicken until the meat is cooked through; it will be firm and opaque and the juices will run clear, 20 to 25 minutes.

3. Remove from heat and cool the chicken in the bowl with the flavorings, then refrigerate the chicken, still in the bowl, until completely chilled. The chicken can be cooked up to 1 day ahead and refrigerated before shredding.

4. Shred the chicken into matchstick pieces about 3 inches long. Place the chicken in a medium bowl and toss with the sesame oil. Refrigerate the chicken, covered, until ready to use.

Spicy ginger sesame sauce

2 teaspoons fresh ginger juice (juiced from the grating of 1 small knob ginger)

2 tablespoons sesame paste (atari goma or neri goma) or tahini

2 teaspoons sugar

1 1/2 tablespoons sake

1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil