Chinese Chicken Salad That Has Nothing To Do With China or Chinese Cuisine, Really

My boyfriend has been raving about this salad ever since he went to LA a while back and since I have a weird competitiveness against anyone who cooks for him that makes him happy (other than myself) I tried my hand at making a copy this past weekend. I know, I’m unstable, it’s totally fine….

 

The salad in question is from Joan’s on Third and it’s apparently an institution. I have yet to go so though I have no idea what it actually tastes like, the descriptions that I found online sounded remarkably similar to a chain restaurant’s awful interpretation of what a salad would be if it was being served in China. Anyone Chinese or anyone who has actually travelled to China knows this wouldn’t be something you would ever find there but because it includes packaged instant noodles, fried wontons (schnitzel???) and soy sauce, IT MUST BE CHINESE!!!

 

Cultural appropriation aside, this salad, when made right, is pretty damn delicious. Though the original seems to boast more fried noodles and wontons than anything salad like, I couldn’t help but clean it up a little deciding to indulge in the sugary dressing and lighten up on the fried things. I added iceberg lettuce, Thai basil, more cabbage and poached the chicken instead of using fried and it made for a salad that still hit the mark yet wasn’t as packed full of guilt. It also takes less than 40 minutes to put together so it’s a fun thing to throw into your weekly dinner rotation.

 

Ingredients:

For the salad

  • 1 Napa Cabbage
  • 1/2 a head of iceberg lettuce
  • 1 medium carrot
  • 2 whole scallions chopped
  • sliced almonds
  • 1 package of instant noodles
  • a handful of crispy wontons
  • basil (Thai or regular)
  • sesame seeds

For the chicken:

  • around 8 cups of water
  • 2 chicken breasts
  • 1 scallion
  • 1 star anice
  • 1 tbsp of Chinese 5 spice
  • 1 inch of peeled ginger
  • 1/2 tbsp of salt
  • 3 cloves of garlic

For the dressing:

(this is a big batch so good to be used over and over again and can be used for two weeks if kept in the fridge)

  • 1/2 a cup of white vinegar
  • 1 cup of olive oil
  • 4 tbsp of sesame oil
  • 1/4 cup of sugar

 

 

How To:

  • place scallion, star anise, Chinese 5 spice, ginger, salt, garlic in a pot and  bring to a boil
  • plop in chicken breast and bring the water back to a simmer
  • once it’s simmering, cover, turn off heat and let sit for 20 mins to cook through
  • while the chicken is cooking time to get your salad ready
  • I like everything chopped very small up so if you’re like me get chopping!
  • to add more depth you can roast the almonds (optional) now would be a good time to roast if you’re into it
  • place all of your chopped veggies in a big bowl
  • make the dressing by adding all ingredients to a medium mason jar and shake it up
  • pull the now cooled chicken apart with two forks
  • add a little dressing to the chicken and mix – this is optional but I think it gives way more flavour
  • pop in the rest of the ingredients  (wontons, noodles, almonds) and dress and toss the salad
  • to serve separate into bowls and top with chicken and sesame seeds

 

Hope you enjoy!!

 

xx,

Coco