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Jul 17, 2009 01:52 PM

HELP!! Chinese Chicken Salad Recipe - NOT the norm

Does ANYBODY have, have access to, know where to gain access, or know how to find the recipe for the Chinese Chicken Salad made exclusively in the South Bay Area of San Francisco (by South Bay, I mean anywhere between San Carlos to San Jose)?

The salad does not have a "dressing" on it; there is no sweet, peanut sauce; I know it has hot mustard, cilantro, chopped peanuts (Tao-Tao's menu says almonds & cashews but I don't remember that!), plus the chicken, lettuce, and crispy vermicelli, but I'm not sure how it all "goes together" to get that special taste.

Any one who has had it, knows what I'm talking about. Tao-Tao in Santa Clara, Su-Hong in Redwood City, Mings in Palo Alto, China Stix in Santa Clara ... all used to make it. I am living in Texas now and would love to be able to make this salad! Outside of the South Bay, though, I have never seen it on a menu nor have I found a recipe.

Any ideas?

Thanks, ya'all!

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  1. Perhaps the first recipe here, with cilantro and no peanut sauce:

    1 Reply
    1. re: scoopG

      Thanks for the link, Scoop, but that's not it. Melanie found it (see below).

    2. Sure, here's the recipe from the venerable Chef Chu's in Los Altos, CA.

      3 Replies
      1. re: Melanie Wong

        Except for the soy dressing added at the end (there was nothing "sweet"), that's it! And I am so glad you said Chef Chu's ... for the life of me I could NOT remember that name (and I started going there in 1975!).

        Thank you, Melanie!

        1. re: Cascokat

          You're welcome, pls post your results here.

          If you have the patience to deal with the site's buggy search engine, you can look for several posts over the years about this Peninsula style of salad and itshistory.

          1. re: Cascokat

            Found the original Kikkoman one on a cache site. Biggest difference (besides ginormous volume) is lack of five spice (which I suspect was added for cookbook) and very different proportion of vinegar on dipping sauce. This version gives Chef Chu's chicken preparation method, as well:

            Ingredients (Yield: 24 servings)

            2 chickens (about 3 to 3 1/2 pounds each), rinsed and cut in half
            cornstarch, for dusting, as needed
            vegetable oil, for deep-frying, asneeded
            4 ounces rice stick noodles, broken into small pieces
            1/2 cup dry mustard
            1/2 cup water
            1/4 cup Asian sesame oil
            3 1/2 cups Soy Dressing (recipe follows)
            4 heads iceberg lettuce, shredded
            1 cup carrots, julienned
            1 bunch cilantro, coarsely chopped
            8 green onions, white part only, slivered
            1 cup roasted peanuts, chopped
            1/2 cup sesame seed, toasted

            Bring 1 gallon water to boil in large pot. Add chicken and return to boil. Simmer chicken over medium heat 10 minutes (steam chicken over boiling water 10 minutes). Remove chicken and drain. Dust chicken with cornstarch; set aside. Heat oil in deep-fryer to 350°F. Add rice sticks in small batches. Deep-fry for only a few seconds until puffed but not browned. Drain on paper towels. Add chicken; deep-fry 7 minutes until golden brown and crisp. Drain well; cool slightly.
            To make Mustard Paste: Mix mustard and water until smooth. Stir in sesame oil to make a smooth, shiny paste.
            To assemble: Remove bones and skin from warm chicken and shred meat by hand or with cleaver. Place chicken on one side of large shallow mixing bowl. Place lettuce, carrots, cilantro, and green onions on other side of bowl. Drizzle Mustard Paste down sides of bowl around ingredients. Just before serving, toss chicken and lettuce mixture together, mixing in Mustard Paste to distribute it evenly. Add rice sticks, peanuts, and sesame seed; toss lightly. Divide salad equally among 24 plates. Spoon generous 2 tablespoons Soy Dressing over each serving.
            To make Soy Dressing: In bowl, combine 2 cups hot chicken broth, 1 1/2 cups soy sauce, 1/2 cup sugar, 1/4 cup distilled white vinegar, 1 tablespoon minced ginger and 1 tablespoon minced garlic. Mix until sugar is dissolved. Cover and refrigerate. (This can be done a few hours ahead to allow the flavors to develop.) Makes about 4 cups.

        2. Years ago I worked with a Chinese-American woman (a fantastic cook) who made her Chef Chu-type Chinese Chicken Salad using Banquet Fried Chicken (frozen) that she baked and cut into pieces. We gave her a hard time about it, but I remember it being great!

          1. Jeff Smith, the late Frugal Gourmet, had a recipe that was as close as I have found to Ming's Chinese Chicken Salad, but I can't remember which cookbook it was in. I fell in love with Ming's salad in 1985 and make this when I have a craving for my favorite Sunday afternoon meal in Palo Alto. If you send me a personal message I can type the recipe out and email it to you. I'm new to Chowhound, and don't really understand how it all works. Sorry to make this difficult.

            1 Reply
            1. re: ddemoney

              Hi there, do you still have this recipe available?

            2. I think the recipe is in Jeff Smith's book The Frugal Gourmet Cooks Three Ancient Cuisines