You'll only need about 15 minutes to cook the chicken and noodles for this Asian salad. If short on time, substitute rotisserie chicken or leftover cooked chicken, and purchase preshredded carrots from your supermarket's produce section.
2 cups water
2 (6-ounce) skinless, boneless chicken breast halves
4 black peppercorns
1 bay leaf
1 tablespoon rice vinegar
2 tablespoons roasted peanut oil
2 teaspoons low-sodium soy sauce
1 teaspoon honey
1 teaspoon chili garlic sauce (such as Lee Kum Kee)
Combine first 4 ingredients in a medium saucepan; bring to a boil. Cover, remove from heat, and let stand 15 minutes or until chicken is done. Remove chicken from pan, and discard peppercorns, bay leaf, and cooking liquid. Shred chicken; place in a large bowl.
Combine vinegar and next 5 ingredients (vinegar through salt), stirring with a whisk. Pour over chicken; let stand 5 minutes. Add soba noodles and the next 4 ingredients (noodles through chopped basil) to chicken mixture, and toss well. Sprinkle with peanuts. Garnish with lime wedges, if desired.