This past year I had the wonderful privilege of feeding my second son’s friend and classmate twice a week. Nate’s Friend started out as a fairly picky eater; fortunately, he was a good sport. He ate everything I served and seemed to like just about everything. The highpoint for me of this food education occurred the evening I served Chinese Chicken Salad. After bolting down a whole plate of this salad, Nate’s Friend blurted, “I’ve never heard of this; I’ve never tasted this before; I have no idea what it IS….but it’s the best thing I’ve ever eaten!” Yup, that’s my Chinese Chicken Salad!
Chinese Chicken Salad
First, in a skillet melt 1/4 c. butter and brown 1/3 c. sesame seeds, 4 oz. slivered almonds, 1 pkg of uncooked top ramen noodles (broken up), and the flavor packet from the top ramen. Stir these things until evenly browned and then set aside.
Slice and mix:
- 1 large head of Chinese or Napa cabbage
- 6 green onions
- meat from one cooked chicken
- 1 T. soy sauce
- 1/4-1/2 c. oil
- 1/4 c. white vinegar
- 1/4 c. sugar
- salt and pepper to taste
Add browned ingredients from the skillet to the vegetables and chicken. Pour the dressing over everything and mix thoroughly. Eat large quantities.
Notes: The least expensive route is to use white vinegar and vegetable oil in the dressing and to use regular cabbage instead of Napa cabbage. If you must make this dish on an extremely limited budget, these variations still taste good.
If you’re not as worried about the budget, you can use olive oil and whatever “flavor” of vinegar you like. Balsamic vinegar adds an interesting twist to the salad. If you buy a whole roasted chicken from the deli section of the grocery story, this salad almost becomes fast food because it doesn’t take long to make. This is also a great way to use leftover chicken if you ever have such a thing….which we don’t.
As with most of my recipes, this one is pretty forgiving. If you like more sesame seeds, by all means, USE more. If you like less vinegar in the dressing, adjust to your taste.