Gorgeous photo found here, along with the recipe.
On a lighter note, thankfully, after the sadness of last week, I think it’s time for a recipe.
One item I like to order when we go out to eat is either a Chinese Chicken Salad or a Thai Chicken Salad. I like the crispy crunchiness of it, the sweet and tangy and (sometimes) hot of it. Delicious. The other day it was 102 degrees, so the idea of a salad for dinner appealed to me.
I’ve tried to make an Asian chicken salad once before, but it sucked. It was too sweet, kind of gloppy, all around wrong. I’m not a good enough cook to figure out a recipe on my own, so I rely on folks who are so inclined. So I looked online, and found this recipe.
The best thing about online recipes (and sometimes an annoying thing about them), is that they have reviews. The reviews can warn you if a recipe is truly crap, or if there are revisions that you might like. Too sweet, too gloppy, too whatever. This recipe received an average rating of 5/5 stars, and the 200 comments were all of the “this is SO GOOD” variety, that I decided to trust it.
I’m so glad I did. When I serve a salad for dinner, I feel like Ted and Maya are disappointed. They both like salad just fine, but generally prefer it as a side dish. Tonight was no different, at least at first. But once they had had a few bites, Maya said she really liked this dish, and it’s a keeper. Ted agreed. I don’t think he was quite as enthusiastic as she was, but he was OK with it. That’s a win when it comes to serving a salad for dinner.
I followed the recipe as is, except that I added roasted chicken breast and roasted peanuts, and I omitted the edamame she had. Chicken for protein, peanuts for crunch. The sauce is delicious, and the only ingredients I didn’t have on hand beforehand were rice wine vinegar and ginger.
I liked the blog where I got the recipe, Once Upon a Chef. I think I might try her Peruvian chicken next, in honor of our yummy neighborhood Peruvian restaurant.
Thai Crunch Salad with Peanut Dressing
Slightly revised from a recipe by Jennifer Segal
Total Time: 30 Minutes
For the Thai Peanut Dressing
1/4 cup creamy peanut butter
2 tablespoons unseasoned rice vinegar
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice, from one lime
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 tablespoon soy sauce
2 tablespoons honey
2-1/2 tablespoons sugar
2 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
1-inch square piece fresh ginger, peeled and roughly chopped
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes (J’s note, I forgot the red pepper flakes, so I put them on the table for those that wanted heat, aka, Ted)
2 tablespoons fresh cilantro leaves
For the Salad
2 bone-in chicken breasts, skin on (J’s note, this is not part of the original recipe. I added the chicken.)
4 cups chopped Napa cabbage or shredded coleslaw mix (J’s note, I’m not terribly fond of regular green cabbage, though I do like Napa Cabbage, so I used that)
1/2 head red cabbage, chopped
1 cup shredded carrots
1 red bell pepper, thinly sliced into bite-sized pieces
1 small English cucumber, halved lengthwise, seeded and thinly sliced
2 medium scallions, thinly sliced
1/2 cup loosely packed chopped fresh cilantro
1 cup roasted salted peanuts
For the dressing, combine all of the ingredients except for the cilantro in a blender and process until completely smooth. Add the cilantro and blend for a few seconds until the cilantro is finely chopped. Refrigerate until ready to serve.
For the chicken, preheat oven to 375F. I use my toaster oven for this, so it won’t heat up the kitchen. Sprinkle the chicken with salt and pepper, and roast for about 45 minutes, or until it’s done to your liking. Let cool, and shred the meat. Discard the skin (or eat the crispy skin while hot, if that’s your thing. That’s sometimes my thing.)
For the salad, combine all of the ingredients in a large bowl and toss to combine. If serving right away, drizzle the peanut dressing over top and toss; otherwise, serve the dressing on the side so the salad doesn’t get soggy.