Chinese chicken salad is probably one of the most common recipes that most Asian families have in their recipe books. I’m not even sure that it is a Chinese recipe, in fact I’m almost 100% positive it is not. If I had to guess it, Chinese chicken salad is a recipe created by 2nd generation Asian-Americans. How do I know this, because 100 bucks says you can’t go to your local Chinese restaurant and order this dish. That said, this recipe has been winning potlucks, smiles, and emptying bowls for decades now in my family. It is a staple that is as common as rice at the table, and every other Thanksgiving has this on the menu.
This along with the sesame cabbage ramen salad are probably my two favorite salads to see at potlucks. My kids haven’t really experienced the ramen salad yet, but once the do I’m pretty sure they will say ask for that recipe too.
Tips for cooking Chinese Chicken Salad
- Easy on the dressing – nothing is as inedible as soggy Chinese chicken salad. Romaine lettuce does not hold liquid or moisture well, it holds it waaay too well. You are looking for just enough flavor for them to realize they are eating romaine (tasteless), until they get to the good stuff of almonds and meifun noodles.
- Easy on the Chicken – You know what salad is not, chicken breast with lettuce. This isn’t a protein salad you eat before you lift weights. The chicken is for flavor, texture, and some umpf.
- Go nutso with the almonds – I don’t think you can ever have enough almonds, feel free to add as many as you want (if no one is allergic).
What to eat with Chinese Chicken Salad
- Rice – If you are going have Chinese salad you have to have rice. Plus I’m not sure what it is, I just like it with rice.
- Beef Stew – Going with this salad means you got to have some savory foods to follow it up with.
- Sparking apple cider – The bubbles make it fun, and go with the salad.
There you have it, a potluck favorite, not necessarily an easy weeknight salad (as opposed to romaine and ranch), and a favorite of mine too.
If you are in a rush then instead of baking the chicken you can buy rotisserie chicken. You can also just instapot the chicken (use this recipe without the spices or potatoes).
Family-style Chinese Chicken Salad
- 1 Baking pan
- 1 Mixing Bowl
- 1 Pan
- 1/2 lb Chicken breasts
- 1/3 pack Dried rice noodles/vermicelli (also known as meifun)
- 1 bag Pre-cut lettuce or romaine
- 3 stalks Celery
- 3 stocks Green onion
- 1 cup Sliced almonds (raw or toasted are fine)
- 3 slices Ginger finely chopped optional
- 1/4 cup vegetable oil
- 5 tbsp Sugar
- 4 tbsp Japanese rice vinegar
- 1/4 cup Vegetable oil
- 1/2 Lemon
- 1/2 tsp MSG (you can use salt if you don't have it)
- Get ingredients for salad.
- Bake chicken breasts on a foil-lined pan at 350 degrees for 45 minutes or until cooked.
- Shred cooked chicken into thin slices.
- Mix all ingredients for salad except the meifun noodles.
- Get all ingredients for salad dressing and mix together in a salad dressing mixer or bowl whatever works for you.
- Add 1/4 cup of vegetable oil to the pan or wok.
- Deep fry dried rice noodles in a wok in high heat. Toss small amounts of meifun noodles in one at a time. Noodles will immediately expand and crisp up.
- Get ready to scoop out the expanded noodles from the oil. Set aside on a pan with paper towel. Repeat with remaining batches of noodles.
- Shake the dressing well and slowly drizzle into the salad. Do not over-mix the salad
- Garnish with the sliced almonds and toasted sesame seeds.