Asian Chicken Salad

While we miss the city, deeply, we are excited to have a real summer this year.  Scorching hot days, and balmy nights.  That is the one compliant we have about San Francisco there are no real seasons.  Even though, we are only 10 minutes from downtown, the temperature is consistently 10 – 20 degrees warmer. YEAH!

As we are anticipating many balmy nights of dining al fresco, I am searching out easy and light meals to make after a long day of working.  A favorite of mine for nights like these is this amazing Chinese Chicken Salad.  I have been making (and hiding) this recipe since moving to California some twenty years ago when I had my first taste at a restaurant by the name of the Good Earth.  I loved the tangy dressing with crunchy noodles.  Over time, my recipe has evolved, and finally, I have nailed it.

When I started playing with this old favorite last week, I knew one thing, I wanted the dressing to have more flavor beyond sesame oil.  A little kick and a lot of tang.  Morris Kitchen Ginger Syrup was exactly what my recipe needed to go from good to outrageous.  I added a generous helping of this gingery simple syrup, along side sesame oil, soy, rice vinegar, chilies and lime.  It was creamy, slightly spicy and just tangy enough.

Remember the poached chicken I introduced during a Back to the Basic’s post, well, it is perfect to use in Chinese Chicken Salad.  The silky chicken loved being bathed in this tangy dressing.  To add texture to the salad I used a mixture of baby greens, carrot ribbons and blanched baby bok choy.  Crunch came in the form of toasted sesame seeds and fried won ton chips.

Hot summer days and balmy evenings are a great excuse for a picnic, as well.  This Chinese Chicken Salad packs up perfectly.  Toss the shredded chicken meat with half of the dressing.  Pack the greens and carrot ribbons separately from the chicken.  Pour the toasted sesame seeds into a small container and pack the won tons chips in another.  Put everything into a cooler, with a bottle of lemonade or Rose, grab your picnic gear, pack a blanket, and head out with the one you love.

Happy Summer.

Recipe:  Asian Chicken Salad
  • 4 tablespoons sesame oil
  • 3 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons rice vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
  • zest from 1 lime
  • 3 tablespoons morris kitchen ginger syrup
  • 1/2 – 1 teaspoon hot chili oil
  • 1/8 cup sesame seeds
  • 1/2 lb baby boy choy, cut in half
  • 4 green onions, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 english cucumber, thinly slices
  • 1 large carrot, scrubbed clean
  • 5 cups mixed baby greens,washed and dried
  • 3 cups shredded poached chicken
  • 12 won ton wrappers, cut in half
  • 1/4 cup safflower oil

In a small jar combine the first 7 ingredients, put a lid on top, and shake like crazy.  Set aside.  In a medium frying pan, over medium heat, lightly toast the sesame seeds until golden;  about 2 minutes.  Pour into a small bowl and set aside.  In the same frying pan add the safflower oil and gently heat.  Adding a single layer of won ton wrappers, cook, turning once, until golden brown.  Approximately 30 seconds to 1 minute per side.  Transfer to a paper towel, and repeat the process.  Once finished frying the won tons, set them aside until later.

Bring a large pot of water to a boil.  Add a tablespoon of salt.  Have a large bowl of ice water near by.  Add the bok choy, and cook for 1 1/2 minutes.  Immediately drain into a colander and then plunge the bok choy into the icy water.  U

In a large salad bowl add the greens, onions, cucumber slices and poached chicken.  Using a vegetable peeler cut the carrot into ribbons.  Add to the salad bowl.  Sprinkle the toasted sesame seeds over the top.  Crunch half of the won ton chips over the salad.  Lightly drizzle with half of the dressing, and toss.  Drizzle the remaining dressing over the top.  Serve.  Eat.

Courtesy of: Chez Us