Recipe: Chinese Chicken Salad

7 Aug

Chinese Chicken Salad has undergone many iterations since it became a popular dish in the  United States early last century. One thing is certain: none of the versions appearing on US menus originated in China, where raw vegetable salads were (and are not) a prominent part of the Chinese diet. In fact, the sesame-ginger version may have come into being in California. But the ability of a dish to be adapted according to cultural preference, taste, and availability of ingredients is a key factor in its ultimate adoption, and each new dish added to a repertoire paves the way for ones that follow. So, even if this cross-cultural creation is not  “authentic,” the  combination of garlic, ginger, sesame, scallions, and soy sauce is unmistakably Asian.

This is a light dinner-time salad that somehow satisfies even the heartiest of teenage appetites. And, if that cilantro in your herb garden is nearing its peak, you can use some of it here.

Chinese Chicken Salad
Serves 8-10

4 chicken breast halves (1.5-2 lb.), sliced in half horizontally
2 tbsp. sesame seeds

Marinade
1/4 c. reduced-sodium soy sauce
1/4 c. mirin (or dry sherry + pinch of sugar)

Salad ingredients
6 c. thinly shredded green cabbage
1/2 c. sliced scallions (about 3 scallions)
1/2 c. chopped fresh cilantro
2 carrots, grated
1 English cucumber, washed but unpeeled, diced into small pieces
1.5 thinly sliced hearts of romaine (about 6 c.)
1/2 c. toasted sliced almonds
chow mein noodles (optional)

Dressing
6 tbsp. reduced-sodium soy sauce
6 tbsp. seasoned rice vinegar
1 large clove garlic, minced
1/8 tsp. dry ground ginger, or 1/2 tsp. fresh grated ginger
1.5 tbsp. sesame oil
6 tbsp. canola oil
sprinkle chilli flakes/crushed red pepper
freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Marinate chicken in marinade for about 15-30 minutes.

Toast sesame seeds in large frying pan; remove from pan and set aside.  Add about a tablespoon of canola oil to the pan and cook chicken over high heat. Remove from pan, place on a cutting board, and let cool.

Add salad ingredients (except chow mein noodles) to large salad bowl; sprinkle with toasted sesame seeds. When chicken is cool, cut across the grain into bite-sized strips and add to salad bowl.

Whisk dressing ingredients together and pour over salad. Toss to combine and serve immediately, with chow mein noodles on the side (if desired).

2 Responses to “Recipe: Chinese Chicken Salad”

  1. highschoolfoodie August 7, 2012 at 11:13 pm #

    This looks delicious. It sounds perfect for summer, light and refreshing. Thanks for sharing the recipe!

  2. perennialpastimes August 7, 2012 at 11:24 pm #

    Thanks. There is never any left when I make this!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: