Love and Olive Oil

Thai Noodles with Ground Chicken and Crispy Shallots

Thai Noodles with Ground Chicken and Crispy Shallots

The other day I spent a good four hours flipping through our stacks of old food magazines. Mainly Bon Appetit and Cooking Light, with a few others mixed in. A solid 18 months of back issues. You see, when we get a new magazine, I’ll flip through it once. Dog-ear any recipes that catch my eye, and we’ll usually pick 2 or 3 of them to make that week. But after that? The magazine goes onto the shelf, never to be read again. It’s like the magazine has one chance to impress me and then it is banished to the back of the shelf.

As the shelf was quickly beginning to spilleth over, I figured most of those old magazines could be recycled. But I decided to give them one last shot. Flipped back through each and every one of them, and ripped out any recipe that sounded even remotely palatable. A lot were a bit to fancy-shcmancy for your everyday meal (probably why we didn’t pick out the recipe to begin with), but could be saved for a special occasion. Others were more complicated than we usually seek out for weekday meals, or used ingredients that were out of season (why magazines find the need to send out issues nearly two months early, I’ll never know… while yes, your April issue beautifully highlights the best of spring produce, but it’s still gosh darn winter here and I’m going to be hardpressed to find those fresh spring peas you’re using in that there recipe.)

So now we have a nice stack of torn out magazine pages. Whether we’ll actually ever look at them is a question left unanswered. But at least they take up less space than the huge stacks of magazines.

It’s like spring cleaning, foodie style.

Thai Noodles with Ground Chicken and Crispy Shallots

Anyway, this recipe was one of those overlooked-the-first-time-around recipes. It seems fairly unremarkable upon first look, but the final result is surprisingly good. This is one of those recipes that just tastes authentic. A bit Thai, a bit Vietnamese, with a surprising mix of ingredients and textures that make you stop and appreciate every bite. A recipe that makes me happy it wasn’t lost for good in the shuffle.

And now for your dose of Sunday cuteness, just a little something extra for you kitten-watchers out there…

Sgt. Pepper the kitten

I think we’ve adopted ourselves a pot head, no? He’s quite the little explorer, leaving no stone (or pot) left unturned.

Thai Noodles with Ground Chicken and Crispy Shallots

Makes 6 servings. Adapted from Bon Appetit.


Vegetable oil (for frying)
4 large shallots, cut crosswise into 1/4-inch-thick slices
5 garlic cloves; 3 sliced, 2 pressed
2 tablespoons Asian sesame oil
2-3 quarts low-salt chicken broth
1 lb skinless boneless chicken thighs (or breasts) cut into 1 inch cubes
4 tablespoons fish sauce, divided
1 (6.75 oz) package rice stick noodles (maifun), broken in half
8 ounces Chinese long beans, green beans, or asparagus, cut into 1-inch pieces
1/4 cup fresh lime juice
2 tablespoons raw sugar or brown sugar, divided
2 pinches cayenne pepper
1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro
1/2 cup chopped green onions
2 tablespoons chopped salted roasted peanuts
Hot chili sauce (such as sriracha)


In a small saucepan, add enough vegetable oil to fill the pan to about 1/2 – 3/4 inch deep (you can fill it more if you want to truly deep-fry.) Heat until oil is 350 degrees F. Add shallots to oil and fry until golden brown, stirring often to prevent clumping, about 6-8 minutes. Using a slotted spoon or a spider, transfer to paper towels to drain. Add sliced garlic to oil and fry until just barely golden brown, about a minute, being very careful not to burn it. Using a slotted spoon or a spider, transfer garlic to paper towels to drain.

Mix sesame oil and pressed garlic in a small bowl. Set aside.

Bring chicken broth to boil in a large saucepan. Place chicken in food processor. Pulse until chicken is coarsely ground. Add ground chicken to broth and simmer until cooked through, stirring to break up clumps into small pieces, about 5 minutes. Using a spider or slotted spoon, transfer chicken to a large bowl. Add 1 tablespoon fish sauce to chicken; toss to coat. Return broth to boil. Add rice noodles and cook until tender, 3-4 minutes. Using spider or slotted spoon, transfer noodles to bowl with chicken. Return broth to boil. Add beans and cook until crisp-tender, about 5 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer beans to bowl with chicken and noodles. Add sesame-garlic oil, lime juice, 1 tablespoon raw sugar, cayenne, and remaining 3 tablespoons fish sauce. Toss to coat.

Transfer noodle mixture to a large shallow serving bowl. Sprinkle cilantro, green onions, peanuts, fried shallots, and fried garlic and remaining raw sugar over noodles. Serve passing hot chili sauce over top.

All images and text © / Love & Olive Oil

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  1. Rating: 4

    I love this recipe and have been combing back issues of every cooking magazine I  ever got for it!Thank you!  What magazine did you find it in?I thought for sure Bon Appetit but no luck!We’re all happy to have it back!

  2. This is one of our absolute favorite recipes, however is a little time consuming. I always make double the sauce.

  3. It doesn’t taste the same, but whenever I run out of fish sauce, I use worchestershire sauce as a substitute. It has a stronger flavor than fish sauce, though, so cut down the amount.

  4. Got great compliments on the dish…even though I left off the cilantro and peanuts by mistake.

  5. Am getting ready to make this…will let you know how it turns out!

  6. OH, and meant to mention. You made my day… I thought I was the only one with stacks of cooking magazines! I feel so much better now. ;^}

  7. I’m looking forward to trying this recipe. We love Thai food and this looks like one I can make at home. Love your kitty, how cute!

  8. What a great looking dish. And the kitten is adorable. More kitten pics, please. :o)

  9. I soooo have that problem with our 7 year’s worth of Bon Apetites! I’ve recycled most but the November and December ones and rely on Epicurious for my recipe searches (and food blogs like yours).

    I’m going to try the noodle dish tonight – looks good and I’m starving right about now.

    Another commenter said you were a Nashvillian? Have I been reading you and didn’t know that? I am too! Yippee! :)



  10. I love the picture of the kitten! What an adorable moment to capture!

  11. Our kitten is almost a year old and she still seems to get into everything. Love the photo of yours getting into the pots! The Thai dish sounds simple to make, I’ll have to give it a try.

  12. I love quick, Asian-inspired meals, and I have everything listed here but the fish sauce! (And that kitty is TOO CUTE.)

  13. I love the cat photo, priceless!

  14. I need to do the same with all my magazines! I say that I am going to stay on top of it, but then by year’s end I have accumulated a huge pile of magazines that I have to go through again!
    These noodles look like they were worth it though!

  15. That looks so good! I have everything but the fish sauce, is there something else you could use in place of it?

  16. ahhhhh, new gravatar! Thanks to your blog, I figured it out!

  17. I did the same thing last month and got one of those stupid files from the stationary store that had alphabetized dividers. Now when I want to see what I cut out for “cauliflower”… I just go to the Cs. I’ll buy you one if you want.

  18. i am really pretty good at cooking in general, but kindof crap at cooking thai food. this recipe looks great, and i’m sure it would work with other meats or meat-substitutes.

  19. This looks SO good! Your pictures are amazing, love the blog!

  20. Sounds intriguing! And I was JUST thinking the other day my huge stack of magazines is getting out of hand. I need to do the same. I tried, for a total of 2 months, to use a mini post it to mark all the recipes I liked. I liked how the post-its stuck out at the top, so it was really easy to see which recipes I liked from that issue. Too bad I got lazy and stopped doing that!

  21. I was so excited to see your post. You see, I did the exact same thing not too long ago. My magazine stack was destined for the recycling center, and I decided to go through each one to check for any recipes I missed the first time around. This recipe was one of the ones I cut out! I haven’t gotten around to making it yet, so thanks for the feedback and the reminder that I need to pull it out of my stack of magazine recipes.

    P.S. As a fellow Nashvillian, I share your frustration over the profusion of spring ingredients featured in the middle of winter. It’s like stores that sell bathing suits when there is snow on the ground!

  22. I was just doing the same thing last night! Every couple months I go through my stack of magazines and flag pages to photocopy and file in my recipe binders. I hope to cook most of them one day, but that’s never a certainty!

  23. Lindsay – this looks fantastic! Thai food is one of my favorites. This is a must try! Have a wonderful rest of the weekend.

  24. I like the way you spring clean at your house! :-) (If only all spring cleaning could result in something so yummy.)

    Also, your kitten is so adorable.

  25. Lots of great flavors in this recipe. I have only one question:How did you get a picture of my cat (Looks just like mine!)

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