This Korean Inspired Gochujang Chicken Salad Is An Explosion of Mouth-Watering Flavours and Prickly Heat. It’s Almost Too Good to Share!
What is Gochujang Sauce?
Gochujang sauce is Korean red chilli paste. It is made of red chili powder, glutinous rice powder, powdered fermented soybeans, and salt.
It is spicy, savoury, and sweet and makes for an excellent marinade.
They are easily available in Asian supermarkets in the Japanese and Korean sections. Gochujang is now such a popular paste that I don’t even need to go to my Asian supermarket anymore. My local supermarket stocks them so you might like to check yours before you make a special trip to the Asian grocers.
What Are Sweet Potato Noodles?
If you love Korean cuisine, you would have no doubt eaten japchae. Japchae is a popular Korean noodle dish with meat and vegetables.
The best part of japchae for me is the noodle. The sweet potato noodle can be classified as a glass noodle with a slippery and chewy texture. It is made of sweet potato starch and water and thus giving it that starchy consistency.
This noodle is quite heavy both in weight and ability to fill you up quickly. They are also naturally fat free, low in calories and gluten free.
Is Firm Tofu Different to Other Tofu?
If tofu is not a regular pantry item in your household, shopping for some can be a bit of a daunting task. Not only do you have to decide what type of tofu you need, you then have to work out which brand is best.
When it comes to tofu, I’m not a brand snob. And as I don’t have it on a regular basis, I don’t place too much emphasis on it. You can’t really go wrong if you’re not a tofu connoisseur so don’t stress too much when you’re standing in front of that fridge and have no idea which one to get.
What type of tofu to get however is a vital piece of information you will need. You can buy soft, silken, firm, and extra firm tofu. The difference between them all is in how much water is pressed out of the tofu.
As we are making a salad, we want a tofu that will hold its shape when we mix it together. We also want a tofu that we can slice easily hence a firm tofu is our best bet. Don’t buy the extra firm or the super firm as it will be too dry.
So how do you tell the difference between the different types of tofu if it doesn’t say so on the packet? Look at the way its packaged.
Firm Tofu is normally vacuum packed. This is the one we want.
Silken tofu packaging usually states that its silken tofu. They are usually in a white plastic container that has a lid that needs to be peeled off.
Regular tofu is normally in a take away looking container with a normal lid and is submerged in a bit of water.
Why I Love Gochujang Chicken Salad with Noodles and Tofu
I wanted to create a salad that could also be a meal on its own, way too good to share on a table with another dish.
When I have family and friends over, it’s not always a well-orchestrated menu. Sometimes it is simply to share a quick meal together and we don’t need it to be over elaborate. This salad is great for a quick lunch.
But that doesn’t mean we compromise on taste. This is about being smart with the flavours we create yet keeping it simple. The strong Asian flavours of the noodles marries well with the Gochujang and cuts through the spiciness.
This is seriously yum peeps!
How to Make Gochujang Chicken Salad with Noodles and Tofu
How to Prepare the Chicken
My preferred choice of poultry cut for this salad is the thigh. I find that they are juicier, easier for portion control and cooks faster.
The first thing to do is to marinate the chicken overnight. It’s a super easy process. In a large mixing bowl, add the spicy Gochujang sauce, rice wine vinegar, sesame oil and oyster sauce to the chicken thighs. Coat it well and place it in the fridge.
The Gochujang sauce is nice and spicy. Reduce the amount for the marinade if you don’t want it to kill your taste buds!
When you’re ready to make the salad the next day, cook the chicken thighs in a fry pan on medium heat. Don’t put it on high heat as it will burn the outside without cooking the inside. Cook it for 7 minutes each side or until slightly charred and cooked through. Don’t keep flipping the chicken as it will dry it out.
Beware that the Gochujang sauce splatters everywhere.
Once cooked, slice it evenly and set aside. Do your best not to pick at it whilst you’re getting the noodles ready at the same time. I’m hopeless and can’t help myself!
What Do I Do with The Firm Tofu?
Remove the firm tofu from the packet.
Slice them into thin slices.
And that’s it! No cooking required.
How to Make the Sweet Potato Noodles
One of the things about noodles is that there are sooooo many types!
Every Asian country has their own set of staple noodles. I remember when I first wanted to give these sweet potato noodles a try, I had no idea they were DRY noodles. No matter how long I stared in that fridge in the Asian supermarket, I couldn’t find them *face palm*!
So yes, if you’re ever looking for noodles and can’t find a specific one, it could very well be that they are dry noodles in the shelves or even fresh noodles in the fridge. Helps to know which one before you look for them.
Anyway, in the massive aisle of dry noodles, it was almost overwhelming trying to look for them. It took me 3 goes of going up and down the aisle until I found them. And you know what made me laugh? The Korean sweet potato noodles are so different to any other noodles with its squiggly, slight grey translucent consistency. Now that I know what they look like, they are one of the easiest ones to find.
In a large pot, boil the noodles for 10 minutes until cooked through. To ensure they maintain their chewy texture, drain the noodles, and run under cold water to stop the cooking process.
The sweet potato noodles are notoriously long. Cut them in half so it’s easier to eat.
In a large mixing bowl, add the sliced firm tofu, soy sauce, remaining sesame oil and oyster sauce, chopped spring onion and coriander to the cooked noodles. Season with salt and pepper and mix it thoroughly. You want the noodles well coated.
How to Assemble the Salad
Place the noodles on your serving plate or bowl. If this is all you’re having for your meal, divide them into 4 separate servings.
On top of the noodles, place the sliced Gochujang chicken nicely so it presents well.
I love a good noodle salad recipe, particularly if its a spicy chicken salad to awaken the taste buds. These sweet potato noodles are great for salads as they don’t absorb the juices and has such a bouncy texture. If you love a kick of spiciness, look no further than this chicken noodle salad!
More Asian Inspired Salad Recipes:
Gochujang Chicken Salad with Noodles and Tofu
- 600 g chicken thigh
- 4 tbsp gochujang sauce
- 2 tbsp rice wine vinegar
- 6 tsp oyster sauce
- 1 tsp sesame oil
- 400 g sweet potato noodles
- 180 g tofu, firm
- 4 tsp soy sauce
- 4 tsp sesame oil
- 1 tsp oyster sauce
- ½ cup spring onion
- ½ cup coriander
- salt, to taste
- pepper, to taste
- In a large mixing bowl, add the Gochujang sauce, rice wine vinegar, 6 tsp of oyster sauce and 1 tsp of sesame oil to the chicken thighs. Mix thoroughly.
- Marinate overnight in the fridge.
- In a fry pan on medium heat, cook the chicken thighs 7 minutes each side. Longer, if the chicken thighs are particularly big. Avoid constantly turning the chicken to keep it juicy.
- When cooked, remove from the pan, and slice the chicken thighs.
- Bring water to the boil in a large pot.
- Place the sweet potato noodles into the pot and boil for 10 minutes.
- When done, drain the sweet potato noodles in a colander and run under cold water to stop the cooking process. We want the noodles to be al dente and still chewy.
- The noodles are notoriously long and difficult to eat. Cut them in half.
- In a large mixing bowl, add the sliced firm tofu, 4 tsp soy sauce, 4 tsp of sesame oil, 1 tsp oyster sauce, chopped spring onion and coriander to the noodles. Season with salt and pepper. Mix until the noodles are evenly coated.
- Put the dressed sweet potato noodles on the serving plate or bowl.
- Place the sliced Gochujang chicken thighs on the top of the noodles.
- This is a wonderful salad to have on its own. It’s good enough as meal.
- There is no real substitute of Gochujang in my book. If you’re not a fan of the spiciness, marinate the chicken without it. You can add 4 tbsp soy sauce if you wish.
- This is a salad eaten at room temperature. If you’d like it hot, serve the noodles immediately without running them under cold water. Time the cooking of the chicken with the noodles so both components are hot.