Oh, hi there. Did you say you need a delicious dinner that you can get on the table in about 30 minutes?
Well, here it is.
In all seriousness, this week has been pure insanity. I just got back from vacation and I ended up with a three-day work week as a result.
Of course, this is something that many people would be grateful for. However, if you decided to postpone work before your trip because you “can totally get to it once you get back…”
It’s a whole different world to return to, and a three-day week slowly turns into one filled with stress and panic.
I’ve been pulling long days, and I’m feeling a little insane. Dinner has been the last thing on my mind…
That is, until my stomach starts rumbling around 6:30 p.m. as I sit at my desk, desperately trying to finish up the day.
This is the point when I reach for the quick meals. That’s every single night right now, and honestly, that’s generally the mood around here, even when I’m not stressed.
I simply want to get to the part where I am eating something delicious! Especially when it’s something as tasty as a homemade Shrimp Pad Thai, or (perhaps even better) this Thai noodle bowl with chicken.
The flavors in this noodle bowl dish are absolutely fabulous.
A long time ago, I used to think that Asian flavors simply came from a bottle of prepared sauce that I could pick up in the store.
I used to think that the sauces were all sweet and barely spicy, but boy was I wrong.
There’s a section of Denver that is heavily populated with all the Asian restaurants you could ever dream of. There’s Thai, Vietnamese, Chinese, Japanese, Cambodian, Korean, and many more options to choose from.
When I started to explore those eateries, my taste buds were blown away. I realized that not only was I being sold a bill of goods via the store-bought sauces, there are so many flavorful ingredients that, when layered together in the right way, can make something incredible.
This noodle recipe has all of my favorites, including soy sauce, fish sauce, lime juice, cilantro, and my personal top pick: tamarind paste.
If you’ve never used tamarind paste in your cooking before, this is something that you need to go out and purchase immediately.
It’s tangy and acidic, giving a nice punch to the savory elements you find in typical Thai dishes. The flavor gives added depth that you can’t get with lime juice alone.
It’s an exciting new ingredient to try, especially if you want a new recipe outside of the milder flavors of Chinese noodle dishes, like lo mein or chow mein.
I also like to add a big pinch of red pepper flakes to bring the heat level up, but you can skip that step if you are not one for spicy foods.
If you really like the spice, you can also up the amount listed in the recipe. I recommend starting with just the teaspoon as listed, then adjusting up a quarter teaspoon at a time, as desired.
Just be sure to taste in between each addition so you don’t make it too spicy. No one likes to have their taste buds completely blown out by too much heat, after all.Print
Getting dinner on the table in 30 minutes? It’s the ultimate goal. Thai noodle bowls with chicken make the goal a reality in a flavorful way.
- 8 oz rice noodles
- 1 tsp olive oil
- 1/2 large yellow onion, diced (about 1/2 cup)
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 lb ground chicken
- 1/4 cup soy sauce (or gluten-free tamari)
- 1 tsp fish sauce
- 1 tsp tamarind paste
- Juice of 2 limes
- 1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro, plus more for garnish
- 1 tsp red pepper flakes, or more to taste (optional)
- 1/4 cup chopped peanuts
- Cook rice noodles according to package directions. Drain in a colander and set aside.
- In a large skillet, heat olive oil over medium-high heat. Once hot, add onion and cook until translucent, about 3-4 minutes. Stir in garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds to 1 minute.
- Add chicken to the onion and garlic mixture, and cook until browned and cooked through. Be sure to break it up into small pieces as it cooks. This should take about 5-7 minutes.
- Stir in cooked noodles, soy sauce, fish sauce, tamarind paste, lime juice, and cilantro. Stir in red pepper flakes, to taste.
- Spoon into bowls and serve warm with chopped peanuts and additional chopped cilantro.
- Prep Time: 10 minutes
- Cook Time: 16 minutes
- Category: Noodle Bowls
- Method: Stovetop
- Cuisine: Thai
Keywords: noodle bowl, rice noodles, ground chicken, chicken, Thai
Cooking By the Numbers…
Step 1 – Dice Onion, Mince Garlic, Chop Cilantro, Chop Peanuts, And Measure Remaining Ingredients
Peel and dice half of a yellow onion. You should end up with about 1/2 cup in total.
Chop fresh cilantro leaves until you have about 1/2 cup in total. Chop a little extra to reserve for garnish when you serve the dish.
Chop peanuts until you have 1/4 cup in total.
Step 2 – Cook Rice Noodles
Cook the rice noodles according to the instructions on the packaging.
Drain and set aside until ready to use.
You can also use the electric pressure cooker to complete this step.
Step 3 – Cook Aromatics and Chicken
Heat olive oil in a large skillet or wok over medium-high heat. Once the oil is hot, add the onion. Cook until the onion is translucent, about 3-4 minutes total.
Stir in the garlic and cook for about 30 seconds to 1 minutes, until fragrant.
Stir in the ground chicken and cook until browned. The chicken should be cooked through. Make sure you use a spatula or spoon to break up the chicken into small pieces as it cooks.
Step 4 – Finish Noodle Mixture
Stir the noodles, soy sauce, fish sauce, tamarind paste, lime juice, and cilantro into the chicken and onion mixture.
Stir in red pepper flakes if desired.
Serve in bowls immediately, and garnish with chopped peanuts and cilantro as desired.
What Size Rice Noodles Should I Use?
If you’ve ever been in an Asian market, you know that rice noodles come in all shapes and sizes. From thick to stick thin, there are all sorts of choices to select from when making a dish like this one.
I personally like to use the medium-sized variety you see here. They are the most common size and they are easy to find in any market, not just specialty Asian markets.
However, you can easily use different varieties of rice noodles. Any size you select will work.
If you are more of a fan of angel hair texture, there are stick noodles that will accommodate that love. If you like fettuccine, you can find ones that are about that thick as well. You have options!
If you are crazy for noodles, check out some more inspiration for dinner this week below:
- Green Beans and Soba with Crispy Shallots
- Gluten-Free Ramen Style Black Eyed Pea Noodle Bowls
- Red Coconut Curry Chicken with Lemongrass and Toasted Sesame Noodles
- 15-Minute Sesame Noodles
What are some of your favorite ways of getting dinner on the table in 30 minutes or less? Tell us in the comments below, and rate the recipe as soon as you try it to let other readers know how much you enjoyed it!
Photos by Fanny Slater, © Ask the Experts, LLC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. See our TOS for more details. Originally published on May 12, 2013. Last updated: August 22, 2021 at 11:07 am.
Nutritional information derived from a database of known generic and branded foods and ingredients and was not compiled by a registered dietitian or submitted for lab testing. It should be viewed as an approximation.
About Meghan Yager
Meghan Yager is a food addict turned food and travel writer with a love for creating uncomplicated, gourmet recipes and devouring anything the world serves up. As the author of the food and travel blog Cake 'n Knife, Meghan focuses on unique foodie experiences from around the world to right at home in your own kitchen.