Thursday, December 11, 2008

"Chinese" Chicken Salad

I've put on a few holiday pounds that are kinda stressing me out, because it's not even cookie and fudge go-time yet. I haven't really felt much like cooking lately, or even eating, which is kind of weird. I was craving salad, however, and decided to make a healthier version of that awesomely trashy "Chinese" chicken salad . I'm using "airquotes" because, to my knowledge, this salad has never been consumed or prepared in China or by any Chinese person, ever (and those turncoat Panda Express employees don't count). It's "Chinese" because it has sesame seeds and those deliciously ghetto, trans fat-having chow mein noodles (which is redundant, since chow mein is already a type of noodle, and not a fried, crispity thingy that Chun King sells in cans like so much Pik-Nik - it's like saying "spaghetti pasta"). I guess if you were in a effort-y mood, you could use slice and fry wonton skins to use instead. It would probably be rather kickass if you did.

The salad wasn't even composed of Asian greens; rather, it was a mix of romaine and that bagged, shredded broccoli/carrot/red cabbage slaw. To make it extra "Chinese" I added scallions sliced thinly on the bias and juicy nuggets of satsuma oranges (no, not the canned mandarin oranges - I'm not that ironic), and dressed it in soy sauce (the thick, black kind), mirin, rice vinegar, orange juice, sesame oil and a little salt and sugar. I bought a half a lemon-pepper rotisserie chicken that Scott graciously shredded for me, then I tossed it in the dressing and sprinkled on some more sesame seeds for good measure. I slipped the last few inches of a hothouse cuke in there, too, sliced on the bias to make it extra Chinese.

I have some trout fillets and am thinking about a lemon balm beurre blanc. Whether or not I feel like making the effort remains to be seen, but at least I'm thinking about food again.

23 comments:

maggie said...

I hear ya on the need for salads. I just hate feeling heavy and stuffed from mid-november to january...time for citrus, for sure.

Sometimes we buy roasted sesame paste at the asian market, which is good in things like this. Or tahini...or peanut butter, for totally airquote chinese....

Marc @ NoRecipes said...

Looks delicious and I'm so glad you didn't ruin it by adding mayo. There's a restaurant here that serves "california style" food and their Chinese chicken salad is awful (as are most of the other items on the menu).

Restaurants like that make me start wondering if "fusion" food is such a good idea. Then I come look at your blog and it puts my mind at ease:-)

glamah16 said...

Could you be ,pregnant? Just asking. You would be a fun Mom. Sometimes I get like that and dont feel like cooking or eating. Nothing appeals to me. Im not a big salad person, but this sounds tasty.

Foodycat said...

I know exactly what you mean - I have eaten so much stodge and I am just craving something crisp and vegetabley.

peter said...

You are SO knocked up.

Marianne said...

Oh, this looks absolutely delicious, the best version of "Chinese" chicken salad I have ever beheld, and I say that completely without irony :-)

Judy@nofearentertaining said...

I love this salad! I am craving salads right now or anything other than cookies for that matter! This looks like something I could adapt to what I have!

Peter G said...

Yes! I think you might have a "bun in the oven" luv! love the salad and all the "Chinese" ingredients!

cookiecrumb said...

You buy the noodles in a can? Do they even still make them?

(Now you gotta go buy a pee stick.)

Manggy said...

Salads can be great, even if you're not trying to shed holiday poundage. Case in point: this lovely one here. (We call such specimens here "Asian" Chicken salad, which is such crap because there are dozens of countries in Asia.) Back in the day there was a restaurant which fried up a giant, towering nest of egg noodles and poured the sauce over that. Such a spectacle!

abracadabra said...

Dudette... you are so channeling my same non-appetite-no-idea-what-i-want-to-cook-'cause-i'm sick-vibe it is odd. Carry on.

dp said...

I eat Chinese chicken salad. But then again, I'm Thai and not Chinese. I do also eat chicken salad with Thai peanut dressing or a nice fish sauce vinaigrette and I call it Thai chicken salad. My mom eats it too. And I swear we're not turncoats :-)

Heather said...

Maggie - I thought about tahini, but it still tastes too Middle-East to me. Citrus, though, is really doing it for me.

Marc - Yeah, mayo is decidedly more Japanese than Chinese ;)

Courtney - I am NOT pregnant! I'm just feeling a lazy and little under the weather. It's cold season, for chrissakes!

Alicia - THANK you! See, people? We're tired of eating mash and gravy with everything. It's not just me. I'm not knackers.

Jube - I know you are, but what am I?

Marianne - I figured I could do better than the grocery store deli, but didn't think I'd be the best! Thanks.

Judy - Well, with the weather you've been getting, I can imagine!

Petah - Does wanting to eat Chinese chicken salad qualify as a pregnancy symptom?

Cookie - They do, in fact, still make them. You have to hunt for them, but they're on the bottom shelf of the "Asian" aisle.

Marky - Just calling it "Asian" instead of "Chinese" means they offend all the cultures, instead of just one. ;)

Abra, Abracadabra - I wanna reach out and grab ya.

Darlene - Of course you're not turncoats. As long as you don't dump mayo all over it. :D (btw, I love the idea of a nam pla vinaigrette and will probably borrow that.)

biz319 said...

I love broccoli slaw! It's a new staple in my house and plan on having it in my stir-fry for lunch!

Great salad though!

Pam said...

I've been craving salads too and this looks tasty. I have to say, the first thing I thought when reading the post was that you were probably pregnant. You would be a super cool mom.

matt wright said...

hehe, great post. Do the trout - it sounds awesome.

I am in the same boat with food right now. Maybe just the time of year, with all the Christmas crap going on.

Heather said...

i really like all of the efforts you have made to make this salad "extra chinese". the hot cuke cut on a bias is my favorite :)

We Are Never Full said...

you crack me up... the first thing i thought was, she better discuss the airquotes around chinese. ha ha ha. it's so true - people love this salad. me being one of them. have i ever attempted to make one, no. but i'm sure one more week of eating shit food and i'll be ready for a salad.


you better amp up for the real go-to time. you only have a few days!

Catherine Wilkinson said...

Like you need to worry! You're gorgeous...quit carping on the weight thing, darlin'! Eat lots!

I'm finally back to semi-blogging...I'm so lame...I hope you're gonna inspire me, Miss Heather!

Zen Chef said...

What? You've lost your appetite?

I'm with Courtney. I thought you were pregnant but you're already denying it. Hmm!

I love salads too especially when you can't see too much of the green stuff. Airquotes or not, this sounds good!

Darius T. Williams said...

Wow -t his looks great! I'd have this any time.

Brittany said...

heh. funny, everyone thinks your pregs...

Can I have fried won ton and the chow mein noodles? The more fried products I can squeeze into a meal and still call it "salad" the better..

[eatingclub] vancouver || js said...

I have never heard of a kind of salad as "Chinese" chicken salad until 5 years ago, when I came across it on a menu in LA. Then I kept seeing it on menus in LA so I assumed that it was a California thing.

That being said, good versions of a "Chinese" chicken salad do give me frissons of delight.