Dinner Tonight: Chinese Chicken Salad Recipe

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Dinner Tonight: Chinese Chicken Salad Recipe

[Photograph: Nick Kindelsperger]

In search of a humble dinner that would use up leftover roast chicken, I somehow ended up here. This dynamic recipe from The China Moon Cookbook by Barbara Tropp was featured in the New York Times. It indeed calls for leftover roast chicken, along with a host of thinly-sliced vegetables including red bell pepper, celery, and jalapeño. I could just imagine the crunch of all those vegetables and the heat of the chiles, balancing the chicken.

But what honestly sold me was the dressing. Just odd enough to still work, it's a combination of rice wine vinegar, sugar, Dijon mustard, and ginger. Slightly tart and sweet, it's what ties all the other strands together, providing a perfect balance for the crispy and spicy salad.

  • Yield:2 to 3


  • For the dressing:
  • 1/4 teaspoon sugar
  • 1/2 tablespoon rice wine vinegar
  • 1/2 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 1/2 teaspoon ginger, finely minced
  • 1/4 cup canola or peanut oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon sesame oil
  • Salt and pepper
  • For the salad:
  • 3 cups lettuce (romaine, Boston, mesclun)
  • 2 cups leftover roast chicken, torn into bite-sized pieces
  • 1 stalk celery, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 jalapeño, stemmed, seeded, and thinly sliced
  • 1 red bell pepper, stemmed, seeded, and thinly sliced
  • 1 yellow bell pepper, stemmed, seeded, and thinly sliced
  • Cilantro, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon pine nuts, toasted


  1. 1.

    Whisk together the sugar, vinegar, mustard and ginger until combined. Continue whisking, and slowly drizzle in the canola and sesame oils. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

  2. 2.

    Add the lettuce to a large bowl. Toss with a tablespoon of the dressing. Mix together the chicken, celery, peppers, and cilantro and second bowl and toss with the rest of the dressing.

  3. 3.

    Place the dressed lettuce on a platter and top with the contents from the second bowl.