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When my mother came up with the name of her first cookbook the term "All-American" only seemed fit. After all, she was 1st generation Chinese married to an American, Irish, Norwegian man living in Nebraska where traditional Chinese ingredients were not made readily available. It isn't until now that I truly understand the meaning of the All-American... (read more)

Archive for August 28th, 2008

28

Aug

2008

Chinese Chicken Salad with Spicy Peanut Dressing

This was my mother’s most popular dish during her restaurant days. I remember customers requesting the peanut dressing recipe. Rather than letting her secret recipe out, she sold large containers full of peanut dressing. It was a smashing success!

Salad:
1 whole chicken breast or two halves (boneless and skinless, about 3/4 pound)
1 small head lettuce or 1 bag iceberg lettuce (10 oz.)
1 carrot
½ English cucumber
½ red bell pepper
½ cup roasted slivered almonds
2 oz. fresh cilantros

Preparation:
Boil chicken breast for about 10 minutes in boiling water. Let cool. Use hands to shred chicken into thin strips. Core lettuce and cut into quarters then shred the lettuce into ¼-inch thin strips. Peel the carrot, diagonal slicing the carrot into 1/4 inch thin pieces then cut into strips. Wash (do not peel), slice the cucumber diagonally into ¼-inch thin pieces then cut into strips. Cut the red bell pepper into 1-½-inch length pieces then cut into thin strips. Wash and break the cilantro into small pieces.

Dressing:
In a small bowl mix ½ cup smooth peanut butter with ½ cup water and 1 teaspoon salt. Whisk together until become  smooth thin paste.  Add:
2 cloves garlic (crush, peel and finely minced)
¼ cup white vinegar
3 tablespoons canola or vegetable oil.
2 tablespoons soy sauce (Kikkoman brand)
1 tablespoon finely grated fresh ginger root (peel the ginger root skin)
1 tablespoon red hot chili oil
2 teaspoons finely grated fresh orange peel.

Mix above ingredients together thoroughly (makes 1-½ cups dressing)

To Serve:
Use 4 individual serving plates. Place 4 oz. lettuce strips in each plate first, then add 1 oz. carrots, 2 oz. cucumber strips, 3 oz. chicken strips, 1 oz. red bell peppers, 2 oz. almonds and 1 oz. cilantro leaves. Spoon the spicy peanut dressing on top of the salad to serve.

*Another serving suggestion is to layer the ingredients as outlined above in a large glass serving bowl.  Serve with dressing on the side. This makes for a great presentation on any buffet table or (in my world) an impressive play date lunch!

Extra dressing keeps well in the refrigerator for about two weeks. Do not freeze.

Makes 4 servings
Preparation time: 30 to 40 minutes
Cooking time: 12 minutes

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