The first time I had Chinese Chicken Salad at a restaurant, I decided it was my favorite thing ever. Moist and succulent chicken, crisp romaine lettuce, shredded cabbage, carrots, and cilantro topped with crispy wonton strips and a sesame dressing. It’s a creation more Chinese-California, but it hit all the right notes. However, making it at home ran into a few issues- why was my chicken flavorless and dry, and the dressing was so tricky?
Enter the baby shower. We’ve all been to them. Cheese and wine, gifts, cupcakes, with tears and laughter. They are events that tend to bring out epic weirdness in women, because unless you’ve been smoking something, this isn’t a sisterhood, it’s a competition. The thought bubbles ran like this… (I don’t have a baby, I’m never going to have a baby, why did I tie my tubes, I’ll never get married, why doesn’t my boyfriend ask me to marry him, I’ll be 70 and living with a cat). I was plotting my escape from the drama when a delicious salad appeared.
My attendance was worth the first unctuous bite. Crispy, crunchy, and refreshing. Filling but not heavy. Savory but not spicy. I got a few secrets from the salad-maker, waited ‘til the presents were opened, and made my escape. Since then it’s become a standard in my repertoire. It relies on a couple of genius store-bought ingredients and fresh veggies. The lettuce can be prepped and veggies shredded in advance, and the chicken can marinate for a couple of days. Then, when you get home from a long day, it’s not a terrible amount of work to cook the chicken and wonton strips and assemble your salad.
I large head of romaine lettuce or 3 romaine hearts, washed and dried
purple cabbage, shredded
chopped cilantro (may omit)
2 Chicken Breasts
(marinated for up to 2 days in refrigerator with Soy Vay toasted sesame dressing and sauce)
Pat marinated chicken breasts dry, sprinkle with salt and pepper and rub with olive oil. Place in a hot cast-iron grill pan and sear both sides, creating hatch marks and lowering heat to finish cooking.
1/2 package of Naysoya wonton wraps, cut into strips
Heat 1 ½ inches of vegetable oil in saucepan for frying. Add one strip to ensure oil is hot enough, it should sizzle and rise to the top. Fry strips in small batches and remove with a spider (wire sieve) to a paper-towel lined plate to absorb any oil.
Slice warm chicken breast and top in individual bowls filled with chopped romaine lettuce. Sprinkle with carrots, cabbage, cilantro, and fried wonton strips. Top with sesame dressing to taste. Enjoy!