Oh my gosh, is it HOT outside! We hit 104º today! Whew! It’s even too hot to expend the energy fanning yourself! I needed to prepare something cool and refreshing for dinner but I didn’t want to work hard making it. Something quick and easy was in order. Enter my “Quick and Easy Chinese Chicken Salad.” What I love best about this salad is there’s very little prep needed if you buy pre-shredded rotisserie chicken, pre-cut lettuce, shredded carrots, and bottled dressing like I did! Then you literally just need to stack the water chestnut slices to cut them in half, and chop up the cilantro. Easy, peasy!
The dressing recipe I have here is a pretty simple one to make but if you really want to save time and effort, there are a lot of excellent bottled Chinese Chicken Salad Dressings out on the market. Just buy yourself a bottle and skip making it from scratch. Trust me, it’ll turn out just fine.
QUICK AND EASY CHINESE CHICKEN SALAD
For the Salad:
1 rotisserie chicken, or 4 boneless, skinless chicken thighs or breasts
1 large head romaine lettuce, cut into bite sized pieces
¾ cup shredded carrots
1 small can (8 oz.) sliced water chestnuts, drained and cut in half
1 small can (11 oz.) mandarin oranges, drained
1 cup loosely packed cilantro leaves, roughly chopped
1 cup canned crunchy chow mein noodles (can substitute ⅔ cup slivered almonds)
2-3 tbsps. toasted sesame seeds for garnish (optional)
For the Dressing:
½ cup vegetable oil
¼ cup rice vinegar (plain or seasoned)
3 tbsps. soy sauce
1½ tbsps. sesame oil
1 tbsp. honey
1 clove garlic, minced
1 tsp. peeled, grated fresh ginger
½ tbsp. sesame seeds, toasted
¼ cup creamy peanut butter
1 tsp. kosher salt
½ tsp. freshly ground black pepper
If using rotisserie chicken: Remove chicken meat from the bones and shred into bite-sized pieces. (I buy it already pre-shredded at Costco.) If using boneless, skinless chicken breasts: Drizzle chicken with olive oil, sprinkle generously with salt and pepper, and bake at 350ºF until chicken is just cooked through, about 30-40 minutes. When chicken is cool enough to handle, shred into bite-sized pieces.
Make dressing by whisking together all of the dressing ingredients in a bowl.
Place chicken, lettuce, carrots, water chestnuts, mandarin oranges, cilantro and chow mein noodles in a large salad bowl.
Pour dressing over everything and toss together gently.
Serve in individual salad bowls and sprinkle with sesame seeds if desired.
Salad can be served cold or at room temperature.
Note: For those of you who’ve asked me, one of my favorite bottled chinese chicken salad dressings is “Joey D’s Chinese Chicken Salad Dressing & Marinade.” It’s really good, but I’m sure there are others just as good out there. Use your favorite one.
I originally saw this recipe on the Martha Stewart website and thought it would be fun to try making it. My family loves the Chinese sausage known as “lap cheong” and I love anything made with puff pastry. Lap Cheong wrapped in puff pastry sounded like a match made in heaven. These little bites were so easy to prepare, besides being tasty and addictive. Don’t forget to serve them with spicy Chinese mustard. It pairs perfectly with the sweet sausage bites.
CHINESE SAUSAGE BITES
1 large egg
1 tbsp. water
1 sheet puff pastry, thawed
flour, for dusting
4 Chinese sausages (lap cheong)
1 scallion, thinly sliced on the bias
1/4 cup Chinese mustard
Preheat oven to 375ºF.
Whisk egg and water together in a small bowl.
On a lightly floured surface, roll puff pastry to about 10 x 12 inches.
Cut into four 5 x 6-inch rectangles.
Brush egg wash along one long edge of a puff pastry rectangle.
Lay one sausage along opposite edge and roll up, pressing seam to seal.
Place on parchment-lined baking sheet, seam side down, and brush with egg wash.
Repeat with remaining puff pastry and sausages.
Freeze until firm, about 15 minutes.
Bake until puff pastry has cooked through and is golden brown, 25 to 30 minutes.
Let cool slightly, then slice into rounds using a serrated knife.
Transfer to a platter and sprinkle with sliced scallions for garnish.
Beef and Broccoli is a Chinese-American creation. I don’t actually know if they serve this dish in China, but you can certainly find it in every Chinese restaurant in America. It’s one of the more popular dishes. My kids absolutely love it. We never go to a Chinese restaurant without getting at least one order of Beef and Broccoli.
I took a Chinese cooking class many years ago before I was even married. This recipe is an adaptation of the recipe we learned in class. I’ve tweaked it over the years and made some changes to the original (no offense to my cooking teacher). I still don’t think it tastes quite like what you get in a Chinese restaurant, but it’s yummy and hits the spot when you can’t get down the hill to Debbie Wong’s.
BEEF AND BROCCOLI STIR FRY
1 lb. beef, like flank steak, boneless ribs, top sirloin, or tri-tip
1½ lbs. broccoli florets
⅓ cup oyster sauce
¼ cup soy sauce
⅓ cup rice wine
2 tbsp. sugar
2 tsp. sesame oil
1 tsp. grated ginger
2 tsp. cornstarch
1 clove garlic, minced
Slice beef into strips.
In a bowl, whisk together oyster sauce, soy sauce, rice wine, sugar, sesame oil, ginger, and cornstarch.
Place sliced beef into marinade and allow to marinate for 15 minutes to an hour.
Heat a little oil in a wok and stir fry garlic quickly.
Add broccoli and stir fry until broccoli turns bright green.
Remove from pan and set aside.
Add a little more oil to wok.
When hot, remove beef from marinade, put into wok, and stir fry until just cooked.
Add broccoli back into wok and toss with beef to combine.
Serve with cooked white rice.
NOTE: If you want a little sauce, pour some of the marinade into the wok together with the beef and cook together. If sauce is too watery, you can thicken it with cornstarch.