Wednesday, 11 July 2012

Spicy Chinese Chicken Salad...It Will Melt Your Butter!

Can I just say first that our family loves this Chinese Chicken Salad?!
Crunchy greens, a bold spicy dressing, tender chicken and topped with crunchy's all so good and especially tasty on a hot day.
I have been making this salad for about 4-5 years when the weather gets hot.
My daughter loves it so much that she requested this for her birthday dinner last year.
This dish takes a little time to prepare, but the effort is so worth it.
The steps involve preparing the greens, shredding chicken, mixing the dressing and making the crunchy wontons.
{This recipe was adapted from a Fine Cooking recipe}
{It's a great team work project if you have a few to help you in the kitchen.Give each person a job.}

Step 1. Prepare 3-4 cups of shredded chicken.
There are several options here.You can roast chicken breasts in the oven and then shred them with 2 forks. Or you can boil them and shred them. {I boiled 4 chicken breasts yesterday to make this because it was so dang scorching outside and I didn't want to use the hot oven!} Or if you are short on time, you can buy a cooked chicken at the grocery store and shred it. You can also make the chicken the day before you make the salad if that works.

Step 2. Prepare the greens.
You will need:
1 napa {chinese} cabbage, trimmed and cut into strips like shown. 
1 package of snow peas, trimmed and cut on the diagonal into thirds. Boil the snow peas in hot water for 20 seconds until bright green. Then place in ice water to stop cooking. This makes them crunchy.
1 bunch green onions, diced.
 Wash & place all the greens in a big bowl. {Save a handful of the sliced green onions for the chicken.}

 Step 3. Mix the Dressing.
You will need:
3/4 cup rice wine vinegar
4 1/2 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons sweet Asian chili sauce
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 tsp. fresh ginger
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
1 tsp. hot Asian chili sauce
3/4 cup oil {I used canola}
3 tsp. sesame oil
Mix the dressing ingredients. I like to mix them in a mason jar with this cool new mason jar lid that Greenmuch sent me to try out. I love it! You can find it here. It can turn any mason jar into a container to shake, pour and store...brilliant!

Step 4. Season the chicken.
To the shredded chicken, add about 1/2 cup of dressing and a handful of the sliced green onions. Mix well. This flavours the chicken to go into the salad.

Step 5. Make the wonton crunchies.
Take a stack of wonton wrappers and cut them into 1/2 inch strips. Place on a lightly sprayed baking sheet. Lightly spray wonton wrappers with oil {or brush with oil}, give'em a pinch to give some fun shape,  and sprinkle lightly with coarse salt. Bake in 375 degree oven for 8-10 minutes. Make more than what you think you will need for the salad because they tend to disappear quickly.
 Remove from oven when golden and crispy. Watch the wontons very carefully and set the timer because I have burned these more than once while I was drinking wine or chatting with someone!

Step 6. Assemble the salad.
This is where I tell you the method to my madness, and I learned this from my mother.You could mix all the salad together in a big bowl. But if you leave the ingredients like this, you can assemble the salad on an as needed basis for 2-3 days without it going soggy.
You can mix enough for a family dinner. Sometimes I mix just enough for lunch for myself, or if my daughter gets home late, I mix enough for her. Add the greens, some salad dressing and then add to a bowl or plate. Top with chicken and wonton wrappers and you are good to go!
Everything about this salad is great...the flavours and textures go together so well.
I have made this for a crowd. I have made it for a girlfriends' luncheon.
But most often I make it for my family.
I hope you enjoy this salad if you take the time to make it...and stay cool!

This post is linked to these terrific parties:


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