Chinese Chicken Salad Recipe with Ginger-Sesame Dressing | What’s Cooking
After being on the menu at our Marketplace Cafe and Cafe Nordstrom locations for years, this Chinese Chicken Salad has quite a following. Because it’s delicious. And, as we show in our Friends and Family Cookbook, it’s pretty easy to make at home too.
We toss together a fresh and tasty mix of julienned bell peppers, carrots, bok choy, oranges and chicken with our Ginger-Sesame Dressing. I was surprised by how flavor-packed that dressing is, considering the small number of ingredients and its easiness to throw together—it has just the right Asian-inspired balance of salty and sweet with a little heat from the dry mustard and ginger. To top it all, crispy fried wonton strips (don’t skip these!) followed by a sprinkling of toasted slivered almonds and sesame seeds.
I had plenty of ingredients left over after composing one of these salads to photograph, so I packed up all the components and took them to a party I had been invited to that night. I just layered the ingredients in a big bowl—which made for a beautiful presentation too—drizzling each layer with the dressing. Not surprisingly, it was very popular, and now I can send a link to this recipe to all the people who asked me for it afterward. Guaranteed you’ll be doing the same once you serve this light but satisfying salad; it’s a tried and tested winner.
Chinese Chicken Salad with Ginger-Sesame Dressing
From our Marketplace Cafe and Cafe Nordstrom, and our Friends and Family Cookbook.
1 cup canola oil
3 tablespoons Asian sesame oil
1/2 cup rice wine vinegar
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup soy sauce
1 1/2 teaspoons ground ginger
1 1/2 teaspoons dry mustard
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
To make the Ginger-Sesame Dressing, in a small bowl, whisk together the canola oil, sesame oil, vinegar, sugar, soy sauce, ginger, mustard and pepper until thoroughly blended. You’ll only need 1 cup of dressing for the salad. Store the rest in the refrigerator, up to 1 month, for another use.
Chinese Chicken Salad
About 4 cups canola oil for deep-frying
1 package (12 ounces) thin wonton wrappers, about 3 1/4 inches square
Freshly ground black pepper
1 large yellow bell pepper, seeded, deribbed and julienned
1 large red bell pepper, seeded, deribbed and julienned
1 carrot, peeled and julienned
3 ribs bok choy, greens trimmed and cut crosswise into crescents 1/4 inch thick
1 1/4 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cooked, seasoned with salt and pepper and julienned
1 can (11 ounces) mandarin orange segments, drained
1 head romaine lettuce, trimmed and torn into bite-sized pieces
10 ounces mixed baby greens
1/2 bunch cilantro
1 cup (4 ounces) slivered almonds
1 tablespoon sesame seeds
- To fry the wontons, pour the canola oil to a depth of at least 3 inches in a deep saucepan. Place over medium-high heat and heat to 325°F on a deep-frying thermometer. Ready a rimmed baking sheet lined with a double thickness of paper towels.
- While the oil is heating, toast the almonds in a small, dry skillet over medium heat until lightly golden brown, about 3-4 minutes. Repeat with sesame seeds.
- Cut the wontons into strips 1/4 inch wide and gently toss to separate the strips. When the oil is ready, add the wonton strips in small batches and fry them until cooked through and light golden brown, 1-2 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the wontons to the prepared baking sheet. Drain and, while still moist with the oil, season well with salt and pepper. The wontons can be fried ahead and will hold well for several days at room temperature in an airtight container. (You’ll only need about half of the fried wontons for this salad, but they’re so good to snack on, it’s worth making the whole package.)
- To assemble the salad, in a large bowl, place the yellow and red bell peppers, carrot, bok choy, chicken, orange segments, romaine, mixed baby greens and half of the fried wontons. Drizzle 1 cup of the dressing over the top and toss well to coat all of the ingredients evenly. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
- Arrange the salad in chilled salad bowls or plates, garnish each salad with a few sprigs of cilantro, the remaining fried wontons, and some of the toasted almonds and sesame seeds. Serve immediately.
Try these recipes and others at a Nordstrom restaurant near you, and find more recipes to make at home in our What’s Cooking series and Nordstrom cookbooks (available in selected Nordstrom restaurants and Ebars).
Have a favorite dish or beverage from our restaurants or cookbooks that you’d like to see featured? Let us know in the comments!
—Jeff Powell (photos and intro)