Easy Chinese Chopped Chicken Salad & Want it Wednesday #2
Crisp Savoy cabbage, broccoli crowns, shredded carrots, bean sprouts, red cabbage, green onion, lo mein noodles and coconut grilled chicken paired with a sweet and savory dressing make this Easy Chinese Chopped Chicken Salad a win at any party or lunch!
This post is inspired by my sister. The lover of Chinese chicken salad. I’m probably a bit off in this statement but I feel that it is in part mostly true…my sister orders this salad EVERYtime we go out for lunch. It’s a given. I too am a lover of Chinese chicken salad however given an obscure allergy, I tend to be weary in ordering one because, well, I don’t want to die. I say that lightheartedly but the salad is really all about the dressing, for me. Dressing and really well-cooked chicken.
So, what do you do when you love a dish but the preparation and ingredients vary from place to place? You make your own! Preparing my own food and knowing what ingredients are in my dishes have to be up there for the reasons I like to cook. Aside from the passion of just flat out adoring food, the history, sourcing, etc… knowledge of ingredients is key for me.
Now, just because I love cooking and I appreciate and really enjoy cooking an elaborate dish, pure simplicity does not escape me. Let me tell you, this dish is probably the easiest meal that you could make. Not only is it easy, it delivers in the “fill me up” factor. The only caveat to that is the dressing is so darn good, you may want to keep eating it.
Traditionally, I usually see this salad made with Napa cabbage. I love Napa cabbage. It has a very mild flavor and a bit of a kick, somewhat the same as pepper, however, the Napa cabbage at my local market was looking less than lovely. I decided to use Savoy cabbage instead. I just think it’s absolutely beautiful. Wrinkly, crinkly yet very soft and the leaves are pliable. Savoy cabbage is not packed as tightly as your green or red cabbage but there is still quite a bit of deliciousness in there.
This little head of Savoy cabbage delivered almost 7 cups once it was shredded and chopped. That’s a whole-lotta-cabbage man.
I started by removing the top two leaves of this baby in order to set the base for my easy Chinese chopped chicken salad, shredding it with my knife, roughly chopping and running it through the wash. Once the cabbage was washed and drained I set it in the bottom of a large glass bowl.
Here comes the “easy” part of my easy Chinese chopped chicken salad, are you ready?
Buy what you can already shredded. You guys, I appreciate freshly shredded carrots but oh my stars do I find this task not only boring but very time-consuming. Not to mention the risk of catching a finger on the grater as you’re trying to shred that last little nub of carrot…you know what I’m talking about, right? Right. Ugh, the agony lol
The red cabbage, or purple cabbage, however, your market labels it. Am I the only one who has bought a head of this baby and came home to find out that I have more cabbage than I know what to do with? No? Guess what….you can buy this cabbage already shredded in a bag as well. Food brands are genius, aren’t they? Well, most the time anyway. 🙂
Bean sprouts? That’s really a no-brainer. They are usually located by the tofu and egg roll wrappers in the produce refrigerated section. I mention this because my son has spent countless minutes looking for these on occasion.
Broccoli....yep, you guessed it! You can purchase this powerhouse cruciferous vegetable already chopped as well. I, however, forgot and bought a crown of broccoli and chop-chopped myself, but the work was quick.
Green onions? Your knife will make quick work of these. I have seen them being sold already chopped but quite frankly, I don’t think it is worth the money for the 30 seconds it will take you to slice.
Chicken. I had two leftover chicken breasts that I had cooked the night before and diced them into about 1/2″ pieces. Can’t get any easier than that. So, the next time you are cooking or grilling chicken, think about making a few extra so you can whip up this baby on a Thursday. The day no one wants to cook lol
Making the dressing…
5 ingredients, y’all. That’s it. Rice wine vinegar, sesame oil (or canola), Mirin, Hoisin, and Tamarind. Try not to eat it all as you “taste test” before it gets on the salad.
A quick note about the oil. Typically, as I used to think, you would go for olive oil in a salad dressing, right? The standard olive oil and balsamic vinegar….but please don’t use olive oil in Asian cooking. It just does not play a role and tends to be a bit heavy on the palate. I love sesame oil and if you do not have any use standard canola oil. You may also use vegetable oil as well however I am not a fan and wouldn’t recommend it for a dressing.
If you are serving this salad individually and want to preserve the crispness of the veggies, sauce as you plate. If you make this easy Chinese chicken chopped salad for a party, go ahead and sauce and toss the entire salad. It won’t sit around long, trust me.
Top with crispy lo mein noodles and devour.
Really only takes about 15 minutes to put together if you are using leftover chicken and that is simply EASY!
Easy Chinese Chopped Chicken Salad!
So, what do you think you guys? Ready to dive in?
- 1 head Savoy Cabbage
- 1½ cups shredded carrots
- 1½ cups shredded purple cabbage
- 1 crown broccoli- chopped, about 3 cups
- 2 cups bean sprouts
- 1 bunch green onions - sliced
- 2 leftover chicken breast - diced into ½" cubes
- ⅔ cup Rice Wine Vinegar
- 2 Tablespoons Sesame Oil (or canola oil)
- 2 Teaspoons Mirin (sweet cooking rice seasoning)
- 4 Tablespoons Hoisin Sauce
- 2 Tablespoons Tamarind Sauce
- Shred the Savoy cabbage and roughly chop. Wash, drain, and place in a large bowl.
- Add the carrots, purple cabbage, chopped broccoli, bean sprouts and chopped chicken to the top of your Savoy cabbage base. Add green onion to the center for presentation.
- Make the sauce. Combine rice wine vinegar, sesame oil, mirin, hoisin sauce and tamarind sauce to a glass or high-sided bowl. Whisk vigorously to make an emulsion.
- If serving for a party: Add the dressing and toss the entire salad. Top with crispy lo mein noodles after the salad has been tossed so they don't become soggy. You could also set them aside in a dish for individual topping.
- If serving individually: Portion out all ingredients onto a plate and top with lo mein noodles, sauce and toss.
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