Friday, June 22, 2012

Chinese Chicken Salad with Honey-Sesame Dressing

Up until about six months ago, I'd never heard of napa cabbage.  Sometimes it's called Chinese cabbage or celery cabbage.

When I read the recipe for this Chinese chicken salad in my Turbo Fire recipe book, I was leery.  I don't care for cabbage in the least.  But I figured it was worth a shot.  If nothing else, I could pick out the chicken and other ingredients, and leave the cabbage for my husband to eat.

But napa cabbage isn't terribly cabbage-y.  It tastes a lot like celery, which is probably why it's sometimes called celery cabbage.

Isn't that a pretty salad?  

I thought so too, and it's so easy to make. Here's how I made mine.

Turbo Fire Chinese Chicken Salad 
  • 1 head napa cabbage (you can use green cabbage if you prefer)
  • 2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, about 6 ounces each
  • 2 ounces water chestnuts, drained
  • 2 ounces slivered or sliced almonds
  • 2 ounces mandarin orange slices, drained
  • 2 scallions, diced (optional)
Honey-Sesame Dressing
  • 1 tablespoon sesame oil
  • 3 tablespoons canola oil (or you can substitute olive oil for a heartier dressing)
  • 4 tablespoons rice vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 1/2 tablespoon ground black pepper

Wash the head of cabbage and separate the leaves.  Dry them thoroughly.  You'll find the cabbage flower in the center of the head - I don't know if its edible, I always discard it.

Layer three or four leaves of roughly the same size.  Then slice them into 1/4-inch slices.

Drain your water chestnuts and mandarin oranges, and measure out 2 ounces each of the oranges, water chestnuts, and almonds.

Toss everything in a bowl and refrigerate until ready to serve.

You have two options for cooking your chicken.  You can poach the chicken breasts (boil them in water) with a tablespoon of salt for about 30 minutes, then shred it.  Or you can grill the chicken and slice it into bite-sized pieces. It's all about personal preference, and whether or not the weather is conducive to grilling.

While the chicken is grilling, I whipped up the dressing.  It's very simple.  Just combine all dressing ingredients in a small bowl, cruet, or covered prep bowl, and mix it all up.

When you're ready to serve, toss the chicken and dressing with the rest of the salad.  I like to reserve a bit of the dressing in case the salad needs a bit more on the plate.  I didn't include scallions the first time I made this, but I can attest to their potency in this dish.

If you're making this salad as a lunch entree, you can get four servings out of it.  For dinner, it can easily serve two people.

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