This recipe is part of my April Times Union story. Read the whole thing here.
Asian chicken salad is a throwback to a similar dish from the ‘90s, one we sought out and ordered often in restaurants. Make this salad with any chicken: Poached breasts, leftover roasted chicken or thighs that are tender enough to shred with a fork. Chunks, shreds, slices, it doesn’t matter. The cabbage is in the background to all the other goodness going on, and if you take the time to salt thinly sliced pieces (I was lazy and pushed it through the shredder of my food processor) and let it all rest, it will stay crisp through the next day. I used a few clementines in my recipe, which are at the end of their season; this salad is a good way to use up less-than-perfect pieces of fruit. We are cilantro lovers and a big handful adds good, herby flavor. The dressing is a lip-smacking mixture of nutty toasted sesame oil, orange juice and salty soy sauce. The best part is the dressing-soaked bits of toasty ramen noodles, made by breaking up and baking the cheapie packages of ramen noodles, the kind we ate in college. They make really good crunchy nuggets in a salad. Top it all with sesame seeds, and you’ll know why it was a classic back in 1990.
Asian Chicken Salad with Herbs and Crunchy Noodles
1 small head savoy cabbage, cored and shredded
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 package ramen noodles, flavor packet discarded
3 cups cooked and shredded chicken
Sliced sections from 1 orange (or 3 clementines)
½ cup fresh cilantro leaves
2 tablespoons toasted sesame seeds
3 green onions, trimmed and sliced on the bias
¼ cup neutral oil (canola or safflower work well)
1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil
¼ cup orange juice
3 tablespoons lime juice (from one juicy lime)
1 tablespoon honey
2 tablespoons soy sauce
½ piece fresh ginger, grated
1 teaspoon sriracha or other hot sauce
- Combine the cabbage and the salt in a large bowl and toss well. Allow to rest for an hour or so.
- Preheat the oven to 300 degrees. Break up the ramen noodles and spread them evenly on a cookie sheet. Bake for about 12 minutes, or until golden brown. Remove from the oven and cool.
- On a large salad platter, combine the cabbage, noodles, chicken, orange pieces, cilantro, sesame seeds and green onions. Toss gently and thoroughly.
- In a glass bowl, whisk together the remaining ingredients. Pour over the salad until just moistened and serve the rest on the side.