Thursday, July 10, 2008
Chinese Chicken Salad
Ok, so I gained two thousand pounds on my vacation, what's it to you? Actually, it is nothing to you, but it is to me, so I'm going to eat healthier for the next few weeks and all those Dorito/Cheeto pounds will disappear! I'm going to actually eat things like vegetables and fruit, imagine. I'm also participating in Frugal Upstate's frugal food series. This week she is doing cheap chicken pieces. You could make this salad with leftovers from a roasted chicken (the person who gave me this recipe used up leftover turkey), or meat from bone-in breast, or however you get cooked chopped chicken.
One of my favorite things to make in the summer is Chinese Chicken Salad. My kids eat this like crazy! I'm pretty sure everyone has had some version of this salad at a potluck at some time in their lives, but this is my version, and it is the best. No really, my version is the best version, ever. Really. And it is relatively healthy, too. (Just close your eyes and imagine that those ramen noodles are, um, thin sliced celery, ok? Besides, all that cabbage cancels out the ramen, right?)
Here is what you need to make Chinese Chicken Salad:
Some cooked, chopped chicken (about 2 cups or so, but this recipe is very forgiving)
One head of green cabbage
Some slivered almonds (about a half cup)
2 packages of chicken flavored ramen noodles
Vegetable oil, lemon juice, seasoned rice wine vinegar, salt, pepper, sugar
First, chop the cabbage - please remember to remove the core, it is not tasty. I chop my cabbage by putting it through the slicing attachment of my food processor. You are looking for something between salad-green-size pieces and coleslaw-size pieces. Throw all the chopped cabbage into a big bowl. Throw in the chopped chicken (throw carefully, you don't want to take out someone's eye!)
Next, put the ramen packages on the counter and smash them. Just whack 'em good. You are breaking up the noodles into bite size pieces not dust! Now add the noodles to the cabbage/chicken (remove them from the package, duh.). Save the flavoring packets, you will be adding these to the dressing.
Next add the almonds. I always toast them slightly in my toaster oven, I think it brings out the flavor. You could toast them in a dry skillet on the stove also. Or you can just add them raw. I usually add some sesame seeds (2 Tbs or so) when I toast the almonds, but you don't have to.
Now make your dressing. Combine in a container:
1/2 c. oil (use a good quality vegetable oil or olive oil)
2 TBS lemon juice
2 TBS seasoned rice wine vinegar (you find this with all the other vinegars)
1 tsp sugar
2 seasoning packets from the ramen noodles
salt and pepper to taste
Shake, stir or otherwise combine the dressing ingredients until the sugar and ramen seasoning is dissolved. Pour this over the cabbage/chicken/almonds/ramen and mix everything together well. Serve soon, this doesn't taste quite as good after it has sat awhile, the noodles get mushy. We do however, finish off all leftovers (if there are any, which there very rarely are). You can serve this with soy sauce but we prefer it plain. Prepare to fight for your fair share - my fair share is at least half. Hey, I made it, it's only fair I get half, right?