Paula and I have had our differences on how to make the best Chinese Chicken Salad. In fact, when we were doing our monthly cooking classes at Pine Mountain Lake, we essentially had a Chinese Chicken Salad “throw down” during our Chinese Cooking Class. The class participants were the judges and each of us seem to remember that more people liked our own salads better (mine was better!).
Recently, we were commissioned to cook some Chinese dishes for a great local organization, the ROOFBs. That stands for The Royal Order of the Full Blown Bitches, by the way. Anyways, the usual tension was in play as we worked on menu planning, as we each thought our own salad recipe would be better for the ROOFBs’ event. But, instead of butting heads, we collaborated, incorporating a great dressing inspired by Bobby Flay with components of each of our own recipes that we felt were important for the perfect Chinese Chicken Salad. The resulting recipe was a big hit with the ROOFBs, and we are happy to be able to share it with you!
Chinese Chicken Salad with Peanut Butter Dressing
6 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
3-1/2 tablespoons smooth peanut butter
1-1/2 tablespoon chopped fresh ginger
3 teaspoons chipotle pepper puree
1-1/2 tablespoon soy sauce
1-1/2 tablespoon honey
3 teaspoons toasted sesame oil
3/4 cup canola oil
Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
3 cups shredded rotisserie chicken (about 1 chicken)
3/4 cup chopped roasted peanuts
1/2 head Napa cabbage, shredded
1/2 head romaine lettuce, shredded
1 can sliced water chestnuts
1 can mandarin oranges
1/4 pound bean sprouts
1/4 cup coarsely chopped fresh cilantro leaves
1/4 cup thinly sliced green onion
1/2 cup rice noodles, deep fried until crisp (this only takes 10 seconds after noodles are added to the 365 F oil)
Whisk together the vinegar, peanut butter, ginger, chipotle pepper puree, soy sauce, honey, sesame oil, and canola oil in a medium bowl. Season with salt and pepper, to taste (we usually don’t need to).
Drizzle 1/5th of the dressing and 1/5th of the peanuts over the chicken and stir. Combine all other ingredients with the chicken. Add the dressing and toss to combine. Serve.