Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Marilyn Wong's Chinese Chicken Salad

Marilyn's Chinese Chicken Salad--DELISH!
Here's a recipe for an Asian sounding salad that comes to you complements of my German-Irish mother who thinks she's Chinese.  I mean, she's got the Chinese husband and hapa haole kids, so she kind of has a right to the benefits of being Chinese.  Except that she's blonde, freckled, and, well, you get the idea.
I rarely make this salad myself, thanks to my carnivore husband who hates salads.  I decided to make it this weekend, though, for company, and somehow I never did make it.  So, I'm having it for dinner tonight, and I'm excited about it.
It's relatively light salad (if you don't count the fried won ton crispies) with pretty simple ingredients.  The only ingredient that's really out of the ordinary, I think, is the sesame oil/sesame seeds.  I think they make a difference, though, so make a point of obtaining those before you make this salad.
Marilyn usually serves this salad with pizza.  Something about balancing out the pizza.  My mom's version of a yin-yang thing, I guess.  Actually, she's usually serving a crowd and trying to please everyone, and this is what happens.  Don't get me wrong, I LOVE it.  It's all good.  I just think it's funny.  Love you, Mom!

Marilyn Wong's Chinese Chicken Salad

  • 1 large head of iceberg lettuce, washed, cored, and cut into 1/2 to 1" pieces
  • 4-5 chicken breasts, cooked in a pan or grilled and sliced or shredded
  • 3 green onions, sliced
  • 1 cup slivered almonds
  • 4 tablespoons white sugar
  • 1/2 a package of won ton wrappers
  • canola oil for frying
Dressing Ingredients:
  • 6 tablespoons white sugar
  • 6 tablespoons vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1/3 cup canola oil
  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil or toasted sesame seeds
Making the Dressing: Either whisk the dressing ingredients together, or as Marilyn does, place them all in a Mason jar, close tightly, and shake violently to mix.  Set aside.

Making the Won Ton Crispies: Cut won ton wrappers into 1/4" strips.  Cut those strips in half.  In a high rimmed frying pan, heat about 3/4" oil to very hot.  When you think it's hot enough, test one little strip: if it bubbles up right away, the oil is ready. (If the strip immediately browns, the oil is TOO hot--remove from heat and add a little more oil to bring the temperature down.)  Fry a small handful of strips at a time, using a slotted metal spoon to separate strips in the oil.  Fry to a nice golden brown.  Remove with slotted metal spoon to a paper-towel lined plate and lightly salt.  Repeat with remaining strips.

Making the Candied Almonds: Line a heat-proof plate with non-stick foil or parchment paper.  Heat a cast iron skillet over medium high heat.  Place the 4 tablespoons sugar in the middle and sort of flatten the mound.  Allow sugar to melt completely, stirring with a silicon spatula.  If sugar seems to be browning quickly, remove from heat and proceed.  Once sugar is liquified, add almonds and stir to coat.  Once coated, scrape almonds onto waiting foil or parchment.  With two forks, try to quickly separate the almonds.  Once they cool a bit, you can start using your fingers for this.  They probably won't all separate, but then you'll get some tasty chunks for candied almond in your salad.  No biggie.  When I made them today, I placed the almonds around the edge of the pan while the sugar melted, just to toast them up a bit since I'd had the almonds in the freezer.  Just something different I tried that worked today.
If all of this sounds like too much trouble, I know that they sell prepackaged candied nuts just for this purpose in the produce section of most grocery stores.  The salad will still be yummy with store-bought candied almonds.

Assembling the Salad: Place cut lettuce in a large bowl and sprinkle with chopped green onions, chicken, and almonds.  Pour well-shaken/mixed dressing over the top.  Top with won ton crispies.
Chinese Chicken Salad, Dressing on the Side

Makes 4-6 meal-sized servings.


  1. So simple, yet so refreshingly tasty! I'd love to have dishes like this most of the time but, like you, my carnivore of a husband needs big chunks of meat ...sigh. The things we give up to make them happy ....

  2. hi there. i am going to try your salad. i want to suggest that you recommend to your fans that the little wonton crispies can be purchased at the local chinese restaurant. i personally am not a big fan of frying things (other than BFR) in the house because of the smell. so, i offer the chinese restaurant's crispies as a compromise. it's supposed to be near 100 tomorrow, so perhaps a chinese chicken salad is in order. xoox

  3. I have made this salad three times in two weeks. I love everything about this salad!!!!! Sooooooo GOOD!!!!

  4. Just made your salad tonight after finding it on pinterest. My family has declared a new favorite meal!


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