1 1/4 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs (to make this vegan use a 14-ounce package of firm or extra firm tofu. *See notes)
2 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons sake or Dry Sherry
1 tablespoon crushed garlic (2 large cloves)
a pinch or two of dried crushed red chili flakes
1 tablespoon unflavored oil such as rapeseed or light olive oil
For The Spicy Peanut Dressing:
1/2 cup natural (unsweetened) smooth peanut butter at room temperature (from a well-stirred jar of peanut butter)
3 tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce (use Tamari for gluten-free)
1–2 tablespoons maple syrup, honey or brown sugar (I use 1 tablespoon but you may like it sweeter)
2 tablespoons of fresh lime juice
1 tablespoon of grated ginger root
2 teaspoons toasted sesame oil
a pinch or two of crushed red pepper flakes
a few tablespoons of warm water to thin peanut sauce to desired consistency
For The Veggies and Noodles:
6 ounces dried vermicelli rice noodles or angel hair pasta or your favorite noodles – the thinner the better.
1/3 of a medium, cored red cabbage, shredded by hand or using a mandolin or food processor. (3 cups)
1 bunch of smooth kale (dinosaur kale), thick stems removed, leaves stacked and very thinly sliced crosswise. (3 cups)
1 bunch of scallions, trimmed and thinly sliced crosswise
1/2 cup of cilantro leaves and tender stems, roughly chopped
1/2 cup of roughly chopped roasted salted peanuts
Marinate The Chicken: Preheat the oven to 425ºF. Place the chicken thighs in a glass baking dish large enough to hold them in a single layer. In a small bowl or cup, whisk soy soy sauce, wine, garlic, chili flakes and oil. Pour over the chicken and toss to coat. Leave for 15-20 minutes (longer is fine too. Cover and put it in the fridge if you’re marinating longer than 20 min.)
Make The Peanut Dressing: In a small bowl whisk together all the ingredients except the water. Whisk in a tablespoon of water at a time until you get your desired consistency. I like it to be the consistency of thin honey. Peanut dressing will keep, covered in the fridge for 3 days. Thin with water if it gets too thick.
Cook The Chicken: Roast it in the middle of the oven for 20 minutes or until it’s cooked through. Remove from oven. When cool enough to handle, shred chicken by hand or by pulling it apart with two forks. Toss shredded chicken in the delicious juices at the bottom of the pan.
Prepare the Veggies: While the chicken is roasting in the oven, shred the cabbage as thinly as possible. Best to use a mandolin or a the shredding blade of a food processor. Sliver the kale leaves by stacking them and slicing them thinly, crosswise.
Cook the Noodles: Cook noodles according to the package directions. Rinse them to prevent sticking. Drain and toss with 3 or 4 tablespoons of peanut sauce. Add some salt, to taste.
Assemble The Bowls: Divide the noodles between bowls. Arrange veggies and chicken on top. Drizzle with peanut sauce. Sprinkle generously with cilantro and scallions. Top with peanuts. Serve at room temperature, with extra peanut dressing on the side.
*If using tofu, slice the block of tofu horizontally into three large steaks. Lay them out on a double layer of paper towels with a paper towel on top. Let them drain for ten minutes or so. Put them in a large shallow container and pour marinade in. Let them soak for ten minutes or so. Sauté them in a little oil until golden on both sides. Cut into cubes.