I was first introduced to Chinese Chicken Salad when I moved to LA after college. I don't remember which one was first, but I thought California Chicken Cafe, Feast from the East, and Chin Chin were absolutely brilliant with their renditions of this salad that has absolutely no roots Chinese cuisine. I am going to guess that it should be attributed to the Asian Fusion cuisine of Wolfgang Puck at his restaurant Chinois on Main some time in the early '80s, but I could be wrong.
There are lots of variations of the salad, and pretty much as long as it has chicken and some other ingredient that suggests "Asian," it can be called Chinese Chicken Salad. The base is usually shredded iceberg lettuce and/or Napa cabbage, and then includes but is not limited to: julienned carrots, scallions, either almonds or cashews, snow pea pods, mandarin oranges, and fried noodles or wonton strips. I have even seen recipes that use instant ramen noodles. The dressing is invariably some version of a sesame ginger vinaigrette.
Here are eight Chinese Chicken Salad recipes from around the food blogosphere to inspire you:
- Passionate Nonchalance makes a dressing using peanut butter
- My Sister's Kitchen is one that uses ramen noodles
- The Survival Gourmet fixes one up at the request of his wife
- Nosh Thoughts steers clear of the can and uses real oranges
- The Scent of Green Bananas adds the scent of cilantro
- Elise's Simply Recipes has two recipes: one from Martha and a second one
- Kady is Gourmetish, making up the salad but using a great bottled dressing
- 'Ono Kine Grindz makes Chinese Chicken Salad to use his slivered scallions