I have a love affair with Asian/Thai/Chinese infused dishes.
It all started with high school days and a little Chinese buffet that was a ritual after Sunday service for my friends and I. It was greasy, fattening, cheap but SO, SO good. Now you can’t pay me enough to go near a buffet of any kind. Even Chinese takeout grosses me out. I think as I got older I realized that all that food is no good for me and more importantly that it made me feel
heavy, bloated, sleepy, greasy, you name it, just horrible. I think back then it was all about immediate gratification but now by the time I think I want Chinese takeout, I’ll come up with 100 reasons why I should not. Yeay to getting older :/
I still love Asian inspired dishes and flavors, despite that I quit buffets and takeouts. The great part is I can make my own now, like this Ginger Sesame Chicken Salad, which reminds me of Cheesecake Factory’s Chinese Chicken Salad or Panera’s Asian Sesame Chicken Salad. Both are a must for me when I’m dinning at either of the two places.
The salad is all boneless chicken breasts marinated in flavorful ginger-sesame marinade that is also packed with ton of other flavors like hoisin sauce, Sriracha, and soy sauce. Chicken grilled until juiciness (and I promise, it is juicy-I marinated my chicken overnight and oh, my….it was so tender!) and mixed with fresh, crisp napa cabbage, carrots, scallions and cilantro. Sprinkled with almonds and sesame seeds. Drizzled with additional ginger-sesame dressing. And that’s it. Crunchy, crispy and I want seconds type of salad.
You will love this salad because the chicken marinade also serves as a dressing with couple additional ingredients. Another plus is the salad can be chopped and chicken marinated the night before. Saving you time. Or if you’re like me, I can eat this salad everyday.all.week.long so I like to store my chopped vegetables and grilled chicken separate until serving time. Then I mix the two with the dressing. Easy, peasy.
- ¼ cup low-sodium soy sauce
- 3 Tbsp. very finely chopped, peeled fresh ginger
- 3 Tbsp. canola oil
- 2 Tbsp. hoisin sauce
- 1 Tbsp. sesame oil
- 1 tsp. Sriracha sauce
- 1 tsp. kosher salt
- 2 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves (about 1 lb. total)
- ¼ cup red wine vinegar
- ¼ cup minced scallions
- 1 lb. napa cabbage, halved lengthwise and thinly sliced crosswise
- 2 carrots, peeled, halved lengthwise and sliced crosswise
- 3 scallions, sliced on sharp diagonal
- ⅔ cup fresh cilantro leaves, chopped
- ½ cup slivered almonds, toasted
- 1 tsp. sesame seeds, toasted
- In a medium bowl, whisk together the soy sauce, ginger, canola oil, hoisin sauce, sesame oil, Sriracha, and salt. Transfer 3 tablespoons of the mixture to a baking dish, add the chicken and turn to coat. Cover and refrigerate overnight, turning occasionally or for at least 30 minutes.
- Whisk the vinegar and scallions into the remaining marinade; set aside.
- Preheat the grill to medium-high heat. Add the chicken to the grill and cook for 4 minutes per side, or until no signs of pink is noted when chicken is pierced with a knife. Transfer to a cutting board and cool for 15 minutes. Cut the chicken crosswise into thin slices.
- In a large bowl, toss the cabbage, carrots, scallions, and cilantro with dressing to coat lightly. Top with sliced chicken and sprinkle with almonds and sesame seeds. Drizzle additional dressing to taste. Season with additional salt and pepper as needed.
- Another option is to spoon the salad on four separate plates and top with chicken, almonds, and sesame seeds.
adapted from Curtis Stones “What’s for Dinner?”