Chinatown Chicken Salad

I am a sucker for bargain books.  Send me to Barnes & Noble with a $20 gift card, and it’ll take me a couple hours to decide which new books to claim as my own.  A couple of weeks ago, I picked up Nigella Kitchen by Nigella Lawson for nine bucks!  The next day was a lazy rainy Saturday and I got to spend a few hours reading through all her tips and amazing recipes.  Here’s the first one I tried.

This recipe is from Nigella Kitchen.

A few omissions made, noted below.

chinatown chicken salad 4

Chinatown Chicken Salad

2 oz (about 12) wonton wrappers (or handful of tortilla chips)
vegetable oil (for frying wontons) – I used peanut oil

If you’re using the wonton wrappers, begin by heating about 1/2 in oil in a frying pan.

Once the oil is hot, peel off the papery wrappers from the pack and add them, in batches of 3-4 at a time, to the pan.  Be careful, they need just a few seconds a side to turn golden and will continue to darken as you remove them to a cookie sheet lined with some paper towels.

Continue cooking the wonton wrappers in batches until you have a baking sheet full of crisp golden squares.  Let cool a little, while you get on with the salad they are to adorn.

chinatown chicken salad 2

Salad Dressing
1 red or green chili, seeded and finely chopped – I used a jalapeno
2 tsp fresh gingerroot
4 tsp lime juice or rice vinegar – I used lime juice
3 tblsp soy sauce
splash sesame oil
1/2 tsp sugar

Mix the dressing ingredients in a jug or screw top jar, stirring together or shaking, to mix.

chinatown chicken salad 1

1/2 c salted peanuts (chopped if desired)
1 head iceburg lettuce, shredded
1 1/2 c (6 oz) bean sprouts – the supermarket was out of sprouts 😦
4 scallions, cut into thirds and julienned
1 red bell pepper, seeded and cut inot fine strips
4 c shredded chicken
handful fresh chopped cilantro, for serving – I left this out

In a large bowl, toss together the peanuts, lettuce, bean sprouts, scallions, red bell pepper and shredded cold chicken.

Add half the cooled wonton wrappers or tortilla chips (if using), breaking them into pieces into the bowl, then dress the salad, tossing again to mix before adding the other half of the crispy wonton wrappers and the chopped cilantro, sprinkling both on top.  Serve at once.

chinatown chicken salad 3

cartoon-strawberry-9This is a restaurant style salad, so good.  Because it was just the two of us, I dressed the salads as I served them.  In the future, I’d also wait to stir in the peanuts and wonton wrappers so any leftovers wouldn’t get soggy.  And this dressing is good enough to make and just keep on hand all the time.