Chinese lacquered chicken salad

I’m not sure how to punctuate that. I’m pretty sure I am missing a hyphen or at least a comma.

It’s a salad that has grilled chicken thighs on it. More precisely it is that “Oriental” salad that was popular about 20 years ago that you made with a bag of shredded cabbage and ramen noodles. I always liked that salad but recognize it’s lame-ness. It’s a bag of pre-shredded cabbage with a half a cup of sugar and some nuts dumped on it.

I had an idea to make the salad with grilled chicken thighs so I dug out the salad recipe which was given to me by a former employee who, I noticed, had crossed off “Oriental” and written “Asian.” Funny because he is now married to a Chinese woman.

I read a (Cook’s Complicated, er, Illustrated) recipe for chinese lacquered pork tenderloin (still uncertain as to punctuation). I could see no reason why that wouldn’t work for chicken thighs and, indeed, it did. The chicken gets marinated in various stuff for 24 hours. Apricot preserves, soy sauce, ginger, five-spice powder, scallions and garlic. Once that was done I boiled the marinade down to a syrup and used it to glaze the chicken as it grilled. I got the grill marks on the chicken over the open flame but then put them all in the middle over indirect heat for an hour, glazing every 20 minutes.

For the salad instead of the bag of shredded cabbage I used napa cabbage (that I personally hand-shredded), celery, red and green peppers, and scallions. The basic idea of the dressing is fine but the recipe calls of a half cup of sugar, I used only a quarter cup, along with a drizzle of toasted sesame oil (blech, but a teaspoon is ok and gives it a certain chinese-y je ne sais pas). After I tossed the salad I put the now-room-temperature thighs on it and served it.

The salad was really very easy, the thighs not so much but was a total hit.

Salad recipe follows

Asian salad recipe

1/2 small head napa cabbage thinly sliced

1 package ramen noodles, Oriental or original flavor

1/2 cup sliced red pepper

1/2 cup sliced green pepper

1 rib celery slicely thinned on the bias

2 scallions thinly sliced on the bias

1/4 cup slivered almonds

3 TBL sunflower seeds

3 TBL chopped peanuts

3/4 cup oil

1/3 cup vinegar (I used rice vinegar since it’s more Asian-y)

1/4 cup sugar ( I used half brown sugar since it’s more nitpicky)

Drizzle of toasted sesame oil

Remove the “flavor packet” from the ramen noodles and crunch them up into edible pieces.

In a dry sauté pan toast the noodles until they darken (you can skip this)

And then toast the almonds.

Mix the oil(s), vinegar and sugar, and “oriental” flavor packet

Put all the nuts and vegetables in a large bowl along with the noodles, 

pour on the salad dressing and toss. 

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