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Chinatown Chicken Salad

Remember me saying that I love salad that contain warm elements?  Well, this is another one of my favorites.  I just love the different crunchy elements all lubed up in an amazingly flavorful vinaigrette with warm, tender bites of chicken throughout.  Actually, I suppose you don't really have to serve it with warm chicken...it really doesn't even "call" for it, but I always seem to use warm chicken.  But I have had leftovers and enjoyed it equally as well with all of the ingredients at the same temperature.  So.  That blows that point right out of the water.  It definitely doesn't change how amazing this salad-a-meal is.  The first time I tried this salad was about 6 months ago when Nigella's new book first came out and I chose it as one of the recipes to try while I was reviewing it.  It's stuck ever since.  I've made it using leftover poached chicken, rotisserie chicken, and grilled chicken.  I've made it by shredding a head of lettuce and by opening a bag of pre-shredded lettuce.  I've even subbed honey-roasted peanuts when I realized we were out of regular old salted peanuts.  Each addition/substitution was just as good as the rest.  I've never switched out the color of bell pepper just because I love those bright red strips laced throughout the salad, but of course you could.
Chinatown Chicken Salad 
adapted from Nigella Kitchen
serves ~6

~12 wonton wrappers
oil, for frying

for the dressing:
1 red or green chile, seeded & finely chopped
2 tsp. fresh ginger, chopped
4 tsp. rice vinegar
3 Tbs. soy sauce
splash sesame oil
½ tsp. sugar

for the salad:

½ c. salted, roasted or honey roasted peanuts
1 head iceberg lettuce, shredded (or use an 8oz. bag of pre-shredded)
~6 oz. bean sprouts
4 scallions, sliced thin
1 red bell pepper, seeded & cut into thin strips
handful cilantro, chopped
4 c. shredded, cooked chicken (or ½-1 breast per person*)
Heat ~½" oil in a frying pan and fry the wonton wrappers in batches.  Move to a paper towel once they've turned golden and crisped up.

Place all of the ingredients for the dressing in a small jar with a tight fitting lid and shake vigorously to combine.

In a large bowl, toss the peanuts, lettuce, bean sprouts, scallions, bell pepper, and cilantro.  You can also toss the shredded chicken in at this point.  (If you're using sliced breasts and want to lay them on top to serve, then hold off on adding them now.)  Pour the salad over and toss again.  Divide among serving plates and crumble some wonton chips over each serving.  (Add chicken now if you didn't add it before.)  
Enjoy!

*Adding a half or whole breast per person is quite a bit, but if it's your meal, I do not think that it's too much. This salad is very versatile...just try it out and adjust it to your personal tastes.
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