Category Archives: Asian

Chicken Salad with Chinese Mustard Vinaigrette

Chicken Salad with Chinese Mustard Vinaigrette

There was a time that on each and every Friday, I would have lunch with  my good friends Sandy and Vanessa.  I can’t tell you how many times we ordered this chicken salad at a place on Main Street in Pleasanton California called Tongs. I don’t even know if the restaurant is still there, but the memory of that salad and our fun Friday lunches stays with me even today, many years later and many miles away from my girlfriends.

I love this salad so much recreated  my own version of the salad we used to order at Tongs and included it in my first cookbook Signature Salads (2005). I cook the bone-in chicken breasts the same way Tongs did, leaving the skin on, and pan searing before finishing in the oven. The cooked chicken is sliced thinly and tossed with a Chinese mustard vinaigrette in a confetti mixture of romaine, Napa cabbage, cilantro, and radicchio. Chopped peanuts add the finishing touch.

While this was once my go-to Friday girlfriend lunch, it is now my go-to busy weeknight family meal. My daughter is in the middle of lacrosse season right now, which means lots of games (which I love to watch!) and not a lot of time for dinner preparation.  When you get home from the game everyone is starving and then there is still homework they have to do. If you have kids, you definitely know what I mean.

There is never enough time,that’s why I love things like this.   I can get the ingredients prepped early in the day and just toss together when we get home. —-And in 80+ degree temperatures, a really nice salad makes everyone happy and does the trick! Hope you like it too.

Chicken Salad with Chinese Mustard Vinaigrette

Chicken Salad with Chinese Mustard Vinaigrette


Chicken Salad with Chinese Mustard Vinaigrette
Serves: 4
  • Dressing: 1 egg yolk 3 teaspoons Chinese dry mustard powder
  • ¼ cup rice vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon soy sauce
  • 3 tablespoons sesame oil
  • 1½ teaspoons honey
  • Salt and Freshly ground pepper
  • Salad:
  • 3 bone in, skin on chicken breasts
  • 2 tablespoons peanut oil
  • Salt & freshly ground pepper
  • 1 bunch cilantro, chopped
  • 1 head Napa cabbage, thinly sliced
  • 1 head romaine lettuce, thinly sliced 1 head radicchio, cored and thinly sliced
  • 1 cup chopped peanuts
  1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Season the chicken with salt and pepper. Heat a large saute pan over high heat. When the pan is hot, add the peanut oil and heat until almost smoking. Add the chicken, skin side down, and cook 4 minutes. This skin should be golden brown. Turn the chicken over and place in the oven. Roast until the chicken is just cooked through and the juices run clear, about 15-20 minutes. Remove the chicken from the bones and slice into thin strips.
  2. Add the chicken and salad greens to a large bowl. Add dressing and toss well to combine. Divide among plates and garnish with chopped peanuts.


Asian Slaw with Furikake Dressing

After spending a month up in the Adirondack mountains with my family away from cell phones, computers, and the hot humid weather of the south, I am slowly getting back into summertime in Virginia.  Boy do I miss the cool breeze coming through the windows at night…and the loons sending out their calls across the lake…and the not having cell service or computers.

To help ease our way back into life indoors with a/c and trying to stay cool, I have been making a  lot of salads around here lately. Here’s one I put together using furikake (one of my favorite Japanese seasonings) in the dressing. Generally, furikake is sprinkled over rice or fish as a finishing seasoning, and is available in Asian markets in a variety of flavors. I really like Nori Komi, made with a blend of sesame seeds, salt, sugar, and seaweed.

It’s fantastic stuff, and something I  find myself craving! I  sprinkle it on my homemade pita chips, over crispy fried calamari, or in this case, I blended it into a dressing. So good!

Enjoy this salad as a nice side dish, or simply add a little grilled shrimp, fish, or chicken to make it a really great summer entree.

Japanese Slaw with Furikake Dressing


1/2 cup mayonaise

3 tablespoons Nori Komi furikake seasoning

Juice of one lemon

1 tablespoon mirin

1 teaspoon wasabi paste

Whisk all ingredients together in a small bowl.



3/4 cup julienned snow peas

1/2 green cabbage, thinly sliced

1/2 red bell pepper, thinly sliced

1 avocado, peeled, pitted, chopped

Place all salad ingredients together in a large bowl. Add dressing and toss well to combine (may be made 4 hours ahead, refrigerated until ready to serve).

4 servings


Thai Green Papaya Salad with Grilled Shrimp Recipe

I didn’t have a car for the first year I was living in Arizona as a college student, and neither did many of my friends. So when it came time to getting a ride somewhere, (like to the airport to catch a flight home for Christmas), we had to get creative.

That particular year, my friend’s grandmother volunteered to drive a group of us to the airport. It was 83 degrees on that day, and when my friend’s grandma pulled up in her big blue Buick, she was wearing a sweater.

I remember thinking “How the heck can she be wearing a sweater? It’s 83 degrees!”.

Well, you see my friend’s cute little grandma was what they refer to in Arizona as a “Snowbird”. As soon as the threat of the first snow appears, the Snowbirds make their way to the warm sunny desert; a migration that lasts until the weather back home has cleared (kind of like the geese).

It’s on these cold snowy days of winter that I kinda think the snow birds have the right idea. And the sweater? I’m thinking that’s not such a bad idea either.

I think someday I would like to become a snowbird. I might head to the same winter destination each year…after a while. But I think at first, I would like to explore a new place each year. One of those places (which I hope I don’t have to wait until old lady granny days to see) would be Thailand, for even on the coldest of winter days, it’s the fiery warmth of Thai chiles that truly warms me up.

This traditional Thai salad (Som Tum) is one of my hands-down favorites. Salty, sour,  sweet, and spicy  all play together nicely in this dish, making it hard to resist. I have added some grilled shrimp to this salad, which I grilled indoors on my grill pan. The inner snowbird in me, stayed clear of the 27 degree weather outside when I made this.

You can see why they call these “long beans”

Mango is not traditionally added to this salad, but I like the sweetness that contrasts with the chiles in the dressing.

Thai Green Papya Salad with Grilled Shrimp

Embrace your inner-snowbird! Enjoy this salad as part of a multi-course Thai dinner party, or as a stand alone entree salad. Either way, it’s sure to bring a smile to your face.


1/2 cup fresh lime juice

3 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon Thai fish sauce

1/4 cup minced shallot

3 Thai bird chiles or Serrano chiles, seeded and finely chopped

3 tablespoons coconut-palm sugar or golden cane sugar

1 1/2 teaspoons minced garlic

Place all ingredients in a blender and process until smooth. Let rest at least 15 minutes to allow flavors to blend.


1 cup coconut milk

3 tablespoons palm sugar

2 teaspoons fish sauce

Juice of 1 large lime

24 large shrimp, shelled and deveined

Combine coconut milk and next 3 ingredients together in a medium bowl. Add shrimp and mix to combine. Marinate shrimp, refrigerated, for 20 minutes.

Remove shrimp from marinate and pat with a paper towel to remove excess marinade. Grill over medium high heat on a lightly oiled grill surface (or use a  lightly oiled grill pan) 2 minutes per side, or until shrimp begins to turn pink and curls slightly. Remove shrimp from grill and set aside.


1 medium-large green papaya, peeled, seeds removed, and shredded or julienned (1 to  1 1/2 pounds)

1 mango, peeled, pitted, sliced thin

1 cup mung bean sprouts

1/2 cup thinly sliced red onions

1 1/2 cups long beans, ends trimmed, cut into 2-inch-long pieces, blanched

3/4 cup grape tomatoes, halved

1/4 cup mint leaves, cut into chiffonade

1/4 cup chopped cilantro

1 cup chopped peanuts (for garnish)

Combine salad ingredients in a large bowl. Add dressing and toss well to thoroghly combine. Divide salad among plates and top with shrimp; garnish with chopped peanuts.

6 servings