Thursday, April 9, 2009

Chinese Chicken Salad

Unlike many Barefoot Blogger picks of dishes I've neither seen nor heard of, this week's Chinese Chicken Salad had me on very familiar territory. The honey/soy/sesame oil flavour trio makes regular, well-appreciated appearances around here in salads, marinades and stir fries. We also tend to eat at Chinese restaurants a lot, where my daughters love a northern chinese salad called kai see fan pei (forgive me the English approximation of the Chinese name - you won't be surprised to hear I don't read or speak Chinese), which tosses cold shredded chicken, cucumber and rice noodles with a peanut based sauce. So I was very interested to try Ina's version of this dish. And the verdict? Enthusiastic from all the family.

I tweaked the recipe slightly. It is not easy to get breasts on the bone with skin here (breasts tend to come only as fillets), so instead I opted for an already-cooked rotisserie chicken from the supermarket which I then skinned and shredded. Since it is the night before school holidays start, I was glad to have taken this short-cut. Then I added some celery and some cucumber to increase the vegetable content. I also reduced the amount of salt in the dressing after reading the comments earlier in the week. And the kids had crisped chinese noodles sprinkled over the tops of theirs for a bit of fun and texture. The next time I make this, I will increase the amount of ginger as I would like a bit more of a zing in the dressing, and maybe even chop in some raw chilli for a tiny bit of heat. I also suspect that the salad will be even better tomorrow after it has sat for a while. Lucky me - lunch is sorted.

Thank you to Mckenzie of Kenzie's Kitchen for the great choice. You can have a look at how all the other Barefoot Bloggers enjoyed the recipe here. See you all after Easter - apologies in advance for the late comments.

from "Barefoot Contessa Parties" by Ina Garten

4 split chicken breasts (bone-in, skin-on) - I used one pre-cooked chicken, skinned and shredded 250g asparagus, ends removed, and cut in thirds diagonally
1 red bell pepper, cored and seeded
2 scallions or green onions (white and green parts), sliced diagonally
1 tablespoon white sesame seeds, toasted
For the dressing
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/4 cup good apple cider vinegar
3 tablespoons soy sauce
1 1/2 tablespoons dark sesame oil
1/2 tablespoon honey
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon peeled, grated fresh ginger
1/2 tablespoon sesame seeds, toasted
1/4 cup smooth peanut butter
2 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Preheat the oven to 175C.
Place the chicken breasts on a sheet pan and rub with the skin with olive oil. Sprinkle liberally with salt and pepper. Roast for 35 to 40 minutes, until the chicken is just cooked. Set aside until cool enough to handle. Remove the meat from the bones, discard the skin, and shred the chicken in large bite-sized pieces.

Blanch the asparagus in a pot of boiling salted water for 3 to 5 minutes until crisp-tender. Plunge into ice water to stop the cooking. Drain. Cut the peppers in strips about the size of the asparagus pieces. Combine the cut chicken, asparagus, and peppers in a large bowl.
Whisk together all of the ingredients for the dressing and pour over the chicken and vegetables. Add the scallions and sesame seeds and season to taste. Serve cold or at room temperature.


Kim said...

Your dish is so much prettier than mine! Did you use all the dressing? My ingredients were drenched.

Debinhawaii said...

This was a good one! I cut a lot of the salt/sodium out too. I love that you added the cucumbers and celery too--I thought about adding some other veggies but didn't.

spike. said...

This was a great lunch, eh? your salas looks beautiful

chocolatechic said...

Gorgeous looking chicken salad.

Cathy said...

So glad that your family enjoyed this salad. We thought it was full of flavor. Yours looks beautiful!

Jamie said...

I cut back on the salt too! Glad you liked it, it loks delicious!

Anonymous said...

Your picture is so pretty! I love the chopsticks (although, I couldn't use them if I tried!). Glad this was a raving success for the entire family. Great way to start of vacation!


Anonymous said...

Your salad looks lovely!

;) amy

Rene said...


Andrea said...

Your salad looks wonderful, I love that you added celery and cucumbers, sounds great. Wishing you and your family a wonderful Easter :)

Foodie with Little Thyme! said...

Looks good. I almost want to give it another try.

Summer said...

Looks beautiful! I love the addition of cucumbers and celery.

Anonymous said...