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January 21, 2011

Chinese Chicken Salad

Chinese chicken salad was my favorite thing to order at a restaurant when I was going through my growth spurt in my teenage years. The dressing and the mandarine oranges are my absolute favorite part. This recipe includes some strange ingredients that I have never seen in a normal chinese chicken salad, like avocado and asparagus. I didn't particularly like them in the salad (felt like it was too much of a deviation), so feel free to cut them out if you feel like it. They are shown in the picture, but just ignore them if you don't want to add them. I also feel like using rotisserie chicken would be tastier and much easier for this salad, so I changed that below as well.

Here's the recipe adapted from the Sunset Cookbook.

Prep Time: 15 min | Cooking Time: 45 min | Difficulty: Easy | Serves: 3-4

1 Tbsp Unseasoned Rice Vinegar
1 Tbsp Light Brown Sugar
¾ Tbsp Soy Sauce
½ Tbsp Sriracha Chili Sauce
¾ tsp Grated Fresh Ginger
2 Tbsp Canola Oil
½ 11 ounce can Mandarin Orange Slicesdrained (if you're like me, you'll eat the rest of the can, no waste here!)
½ cup Vegetable Oilfor frying
2 Fresh Won Ton Wrapperscut into ¼" wide strips
3 cups Finely Shredded Cabbage
1 cup Rotisserie Chicken, shredded
½ Large Avocadopitted, peeled and cubed (optional)
4 ounces Asparagusbottoms trimmed and cut diagonally into 1-in. pieces (optional)
2 Green Onionstrimmed and sliced diagonally
1 Tbsp Sesame Seedstoasted

1. In a bowl, whisk together vinegar, brown sugar, soy sauce, chili sauce, and ginger. Slowly drizzle in oil, whisking constantly. Season with salt. Set dressing aside.

2. Optional: In a 2- to 3-qt. pan over high heat, bring about 1-qt. water to a boil. Add asparagus and cook until crisp-tender, 2 to 3 minutes. Drain, then plunge asparagus into ice water to stop the cooking. Drain and set aside.

3. Pour oil into a 3- to 4-qt. pan (oil should be about ½ in. deep) and set over medium-high heat. When oil reaches 350 degrees, add won ton strips and fry, stirring, until golden brown on both sides, about 30 seconds total. With a slotted spoon, transfer to paper towels.

4. In a large serving bowl, toss cabbage, chicken, and asparagus with dressing. Top with avocado, orange slices, and won ton strips, then garnish with green onions and sesame seeds.

Quick Tips: You can use store-bought crispy won tons or chow mein noodles instead of frying your own. Toast sesame seeds in a nonstick frying pan over medium heat, shaking often, until golden brown, 5 to 7 minutes. 

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