Chinese Chicken Salad, what to use, what to avoid?
Making salad for a dozen for dinner later this week. What indgredients do you use? Lettuce or cabbage? Celery, peppers, bean sprouts? Snow peas, edamame? Fried noodle or Fried won ton pi? Peanuts, cashews? Cilantro or do too many people dislke it?
Ginger chicken? Teriyaki chicken? I'm leaning towards ginger chicken.
Dressing: Vinegar base, peanut sauce base, plum sauce base? I'm thinking of using a combination of mirim and plum sauce with a touch of sesame oil and sesame seeds.
Just figuring dinner rolls on the side, but open to suggestions.
You've got some wild ingredients there. For a more classic Chinese Chicken Salad try this link:
As it happens I made this salad for 6 people yesterday. I've made it a number of times and it always gets raves.
The dressing is particularly important. I usually make & use about 25% more than the recipe calls for.
For a dozen that's a lot of chopping.
A tip; I use chicken thighs instead of breast. I prefer the dark meat to the white meat.
I would use plain chicken. Let your dressing be the flavor agent. Yesterday I used the method of bringing water to a boil, then shutting off the stove to let the chicken gently cook. The recipe is in China Moon cookbook by Barbara Tropp but I have also seen it elsewhere. The water was flavored with scallion, Schezchuan peppers and ginger but I didn't think it flavored the chicken very much.
I would offer a bowl of cilantro on the side. My husband hates the taste. I love it. The link posted looks like a good recipe. Must have sesame oil!
Definitely cabbage, napa or savoy work best IMO. Shredded carrots sometimes. A slivered jalapeno or thai chile. No bean sprouts (they get soggy too easily). Toasted almonds. I concur with dfrost about sesame oil being critical.
I like just about everything in a salad, but I think crunch is important in a Chinese chicken salad. I would include sliced celery, a little shredded cabbage, bean sprouts, and dried garlic to sprinkle over the top with scallions for crunch.
...snow peas and colorful sliced peppers....mmmmm....ginger and sesame dressing...mmmm......what time is dinner? ;)
I agree for me it's the crunch and the sesame oil. I usually prefer to use shredded cabbage for the crunch but scallions would be a nice addition as well. I might stay away from peanuts unless you know there aren't any allergic at the table and also I find they overwhelm what I love about most Chinese chicken salads.