Did you know that Chinese Chicken Salad was supposedly invented at Madame Wu’s in the 1960′s when she served it to Cary Grant? Legend has it that he went wild for it and asked her to put it on the menu. I’ve been to China before and the salads there are completely different than the Chinese Chicken Salads we’ve come to love in America. Chinese Chicken Salads (or just salads) in China (haha) tend to be made with blanched veggies and served as part of the entire meal, not as an appetizer before dinner. Salads are on the table in China to serve a yin purpose to a yang dish, like a spicy stir-try. I was really hoping to dive into a salad with fresh greens after eating a week’s worth of tripe while I was in China, but I soon discovered this would not be the case! Chinese Chicken Salads in the U.S. really run the gamut from mayo-based sauces with ham (a favorite of my moms) to the one I’m sharing with you which is light, healthy and filled with amazing textures from the red cabbage (loaded with vitamins, nutrients and anti-oxidants, btw) and carrots to the sliced almonds and crunchy wonton chips.
I just go wild for this salad too because it’s so colorful, light, healthy and easy to make. I love this recipe because you can use store-bought roasted chicken for convenience. Last night’s dinner becomes a supper yummy lunch the next day. You can find the adorable take-out containers featured in this picture at Cost Plus World Market. They’re not intended for food use so I simply lined them with parchment paper. These were a huge hit at a girlie luncheon I just threw! You can find all sorts of colorful chopsticks these days too.
- 1/3 cup unseasoned rice wine vinegar
- 1 teaspoon minced garlic
- 1 teaspoon minced fresh ginger
- 2 tablespoons canola oil
- 2 tablespoons brown sugar
- 1 1/2 teaspoons chili garlic sauce or Srircha sauce
- 6 cups romaine lettuce, torn into bite-sized pieces
- 1/4 head red cabbage, shredded (about 2 cups)
- 1 large carrot, shredded (about 2 cups)
- 2 scallions, trimmed and thinly sliced, greens included
- ½ cup sliced almonds plus more for garnish
- 1 (11-ounce) can Mandarin oranges in water, drained
- 2 cups shredded store-bought rotisserie chicken
- ½ cup fried wonton strips plus more for garnish
- 2 tablespoons toasted sesame seeds plus more for garnish
- Make the dressing: Whisk all of the dressing ingredients until combined.
- In a large bowl, combine the romaine lettuce, red cabbage, carrot, scallions, sliced almonds, Mandarin oranges, shredded chicken, wonton strips and sesame seeds. Garnish with more almonds sesame seeds.