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 the ‘Salads’ Category




Cucumber Salad

This is a very simple and easy to make side dish or salad.  It can be served with all types of main dishes. This holiday weekend, try serving the cucumbers with hamburgers, BBQ pork ribs or grilled chicken. My daughter makes this dish often for her family. It’s the only way she can get my grandson to eat his vegetables these days!


1 whole fresh English cucumber (about 12 oz. to 14 oz.)
1½ tablespoons white vinegar
1 tablespoon soy sauce (Kikkoman brand)
2 teaspoons sugar
1 teaspoon sesame oil
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon red hot chili oil

Wash and trim the ends of the cucumber. Do not peel the skin. Cut the cucumber lengthwise in half. Slice crosswise into ¼ inch thin pieces. Place the sliced cucumbers into a medium size bowl. Add the white vinegar, soy sauce, sugar, sesame oil, salt and chili oil. Mix all the ingredients together thoroughly. Cover and chill in the refrigerator for at least 10 minutes before serving.

Makes 4 servings as a side dish.
Preparation time: 5 minutes




Shrimp and Pear Salad

If you enjoy shrimp and pears, you’ll enjoy the combination of ingredients in this recipe. It makes for a wonderful main dish for lunch or an appetizer for dinner. For added formality to your presentation, serve the salad individually on a bed of green lettuce.

1 pound medium size raw shrimp (31 to 40 counts per pound)
2 cups water and 1 teaspoon salt to boil the shrimp
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
1 teaspoon red hot chili oil
½ teaspoon salt
1 scallion, including the green top
1 oz. fresh cilantro (about ¼ cup after chopped)
3 firm but ripe Bartlett Pears (about 7 oz, each)
3 tablespoons tomato ketchup
2 tablespoons light mayonnaise

Preparation and Cooking:
Peel and devein shrimp. Rinse with cold water. In a medium size pot bring 2 cups water and 1 teaspoon salt to a full boil. Add shrimp, cook and stir until shrimp turns pink and firm for about 2 minutes. Careful not over cook them. Remove shrimp from heat and immediately rinse with cold water for a few seconds. Pat dry with paper towels. Cut each shrimp in half.

In a large bowl, combine the shrimp with 1 tablespoon lime juice, 1 teaspoon red chili oil and ½ teaspoon salt. Mix together thoroughly and set aside. Wash and trim the green onion and cilantro. Finely chop both. Wash and core the pears. Do not peel the skins. Cut pears into 1 inch cubes.

Add the chopped green onions, cilantro, ketchup and mayonnaise to the shrimp first. Mix together thoroughly then add the pear cubes. Gently stir to coat the pears. Serve chilled.

Makes 4 to 6 servings
Preparation time: 20 minutes
Cooking time: 2 minutes




Tofu and Tuna Salad

Everyone eats a tuna salad sandwich now and again. Here’s Tuna fish salad with Chinese twist!

1 package firm tofu (14 oz. or 16 oz.)
2 cans solid white albacore tuna in spring water (5 oz. or 6 oz. each)
10 pieces sweet bread and butter pickles
1 scallion, including the green top
2 tablespoons soy sauce (Kikkoman brand)
2 teaspoons pure sesame oil
1 teaspoon red hot chili oil
½ teaspoon salt

Rinse the tofu block with cold water. Cut into small ½ inch cubes. Drain water from the canned tuna. Chop the sweet pickles into small pieces. Wash and trim the green onion, finely chop. In a large bowl, combine tofu cubes with tuna fish, pickles, green onions, soy sauce, sesame oil, chili oil and salt. Mix the ingredients together. Serve cold with wheat toast.

Makes 4 servings
Preparation time: 10 minutes




Spinach Salad with Oil-Free Ginger Dressing

Thank you all for your kind comments and support since our launch and my mother’s surprise. And boy, was she surprised! Here’s a super simple salad recipe as we head into the weekend. More tasty recipes and All-American Chinese favorites are to come!

The Oil-free Ginger Dressing can be used on almost any salad. My mom prefers to mix it with the Spicy Peanut Dressing in her Chinese Chicken Salad to add a little sweet and sour flavor. At the end of the day, my family can always use more leafy greens in their diet and this is the perfect way to get them.

1 bundle fresh baby spinach (12 oz.)
8 fresh mushrooms
1 can whole peeled mandarin orange segments in light syrup (6 oz.) drained
1/2 can sliced water chestnuts (2.5 oz.) drained
1/2 red bell pepper
1/2 cup roasted silvered almonds
1/4 red onion

Wash spinach thoroughly and remove stems. Wash mushrooms and slice into 1/4 inch thin pieces. Cut the red bell pepper into 1/4 inch thin strips. Thinly slice the red onion.

1 tablespoon finely grated fresh ginger root (peel the ginger root skin)
6 tablespoons white vinegar
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup soy sauce (Kikkoman brand)

In a small bowl, whisk the ingredients until the sugar dissolves (makes 3/4 cup of dressing)

To Serve:
For a little formality to your dinner presentation…
Use 4 individual salad plates and layer ingredients in the following order: spinach, mushrooms, water chestnuts, mandarin oranges, red bell peppers, red onions and almonds. Spoon 3 tablespoons of dressing over each plate and serve.

Makes 4 servings
Preparation time: 20 minutes




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!

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

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.

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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