Saturday, January 11, 2014

Chinese Chicken Salad

Chinese Chicken Salad Resize
Did you know that January is National Soup Month?  Sounds perfect to me - a big bowl of soup and a salad makes one of the best lunches imaginable.  One of my favorite salads is Chinese Chicken Salad!
This is perfect for winter, because all of the ingredients are in season now.  Instead of canned mandarin oranges, you can probably find fresh ones now – I’ve got Clementines and Satsumas left and right at my grocery store.  Red cabbage and carrots are always around, as are green onions.  For the base, I used Napa cabbage, but if you don’t have that, you can use any kind of lettuce you like, or really finely chopped green cabbage.  I cooked some extra chicken breasts last night so I could chop them up cold and throw them over the salad, but you can use whatever chicken you like – roasted, store-bought rotisserie, or even breaded chicken nuggets!
This recipe serves two as part of a lunch or dinner menu.  Try this salad with any soup you like, or paired up with a sandwich, wrap, or pasta dish.  Filling, nutritious and delicious – and it won’t break any of your New Year’s resolutions!
Chinese Chicken Salad
  • 1 small head Napa cabbage, or romaine lettuce
  • 1/2 head small red cabbage
  • 2 carrots
  • 2 or 3 green onions
  • 2 mandarin oranges
  • 2 cooked chicken breasts, or 3 cups chopped cooked chicken
  • 2 tablespoons sesame oil
  • 2 tablespoons rice vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon sesame seeds
  • salt and pepper to taste
  1. Chop the Napa cabbage into inch-wide strips.  Finely slice the red cabbage.  Place both in a salad spinner and rinse under cold water, then spin dry.
  2. Cut the carrots into matchsticks.  Finely slice the green onions.  Peel the oranges and remove as much of the white pith as possible.  Separate into segments.  Dice or thinly slice the chicken breasts.
  3. To assemble:  In two very large bowls, mix together the cabbages, carrots, and onions.  Arrange the oranges and chicken breasts on top.  Drizzle each salad with one tablespoon each of sesame oil and rice vinegar, and sprinkle the sesame seeds, salt, and pepper on top.

Friday, January 3, 2014

Pa Muchim - Korean Green Onion Salad

Korean Green Onion Salad, or Pa Muchim (pronounced “pah moo cheem”) is a staple at Korean BBQ restaurants and homes alike.  It is frequently paired with pork belly or other fatty meats, as a counterbalance to all the rich flavors and textures.  I find it spicy and weirdly refreshing!
Yes, this salad has a lot of green onion in it.  So much so that you should probably share it with whoever you’re going to be hanging out with that day.  I wouldn’t eat a big plate of this and then go out on a first date!  Cutting the green onions into long strips can be a little tricky.  If it’s not working out for you or you get frustrated, you can just turn the onion on a bias and cut long diagonal slices – they don’t have to be strips cut lengthwise.  Red leaf lettuce is most commonly used, but you can try green leaf or romaine too.  As for the dried red pepper, just use one of those little packets of crushed red pepper that always comes with a pizza delivery!
Next time you grill or fry something rich and delicious, pair it with this spicy and cleansing salad.  (And for more motivation, check out how healthy green onions are for you!)

Korean Green Onion Salad (Pa Muchim)

  • 1 bunch green onions (anywhere from 4 to 8 onions)
  • 1 head red leaf lettuce
  • 2 teaspoons soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 2 teaspoons rice vinegar (or you can substitute apple cider vinegar)
  • 2 teaspoons sesame oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes (optional, but try it if you have them!)
  • 2 tablespoons toasted sesame seeds
  1. Slice onions lengthwise into thin strips, or you can cut them on a very severe bias into long ovals.  Put the onions into a bowl of ice water and let soak for fifteen minutes.  This crisps them, and also removes some of the sliminess from the insides.
  2. While the onions are soaking, wash the lettuce and cut it into bite-sized strips.  If your lettuce is a little limp, soak it in ice water too!
  3. Make the dressing:  combine soy sauce, sugar and rice vinegar in a small Tupperware cup with a lid.  Shake well to combine.  Add sesame oil and red pepper flakes and shake again.
  4. Drain the lettuce and onions, dry them if you can:  Either roll up in a dish towel, or spin in a salad spinner.  Combine lettuce and onions in a large bowl, toss with dressing, and sprinkle with sesame seeds.  Serve immediately.