Tag 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.


Beat the Heat with a Vietnamese Noodle Salad




Before leaving for our annual trek north to the Adirondack mountains, the weather in Richmond was as it usually is in the summer: Hazy, hot, and humid. Not just a little hot, but unreasonably hot- 97 degrees with humidity chasing temperatures over the 100 degree mark. When it’s that warm outside, it is hard for me to think about eating…that is unless you are going to make a Vietnamese cold noodle salad, which is exactly what I did.

About a year ago, I discovered a blog called Ravenous Couple, that features the cuisine of Vietnam. If you haven’t paid them a visit , make sure you do. They also host a recipe round up called taste of Vietnam–good stuff.

 I fell in love with their recipe for   Bun Thit Nuong  which showcases the flavor of lemongrass marinated pork with noodles and fresh herbs, and a dressing that has a really nice balance of spicy and sweet.  I  use pork tenderloin for this dish , which maintains its  tender qualities  during the quick time it spends on the grill. You can serve this dish in individual bowls with all the accoutrements, or arrange the components on a large platter (as I did)  and let everyone help themselves.

No matter how  you serve it, it is delicious,  and a fantastic way to beat the summer heat.



1/4 cup minced Lemongrass

1/4 cup sugar

2 tablespoons fish sauce

2 tablespoons ground pepper

2-3 cloves garlic, minced. (use more according to taste)

2-3 shallots, minced.

3 tablespoons sesame oil

2 tablespoons thick soy sauce (not regular soy sauce–has molasses, making it thicker and adding great color. If not available, can use caramel sauce. Both can be found at Asian groceries)

3 tablespoons toasted sesame seeds

1 pound pork tenderloin, sliced into 1/4 inch-thick pieces (partially freeze before slicing)

Combine  marinade ingredients in a medium bowl. Add pork, mix well and marinate for at least 1-2 hrs.

Skewer pork slices onto metal skewers, or place in grill basket. Grill over medium high heat 2-3 minutes per side, until cooked through and charred in some places.


2 (14 oz). packages of vermicelli, cooked according to package instructions, rinsed, drained

1 cup thinly sliced mint leaves

1 cup mung bean sprouts

1 English cucumber, cored, cut into julienne

1 cup thinly sliced romaine lettuce

1 cup julienned carrots

1 cup coarsely chopped peanuts


1 cup of water

4 tablespoons sugar

2 tablespoons rice vinegar

1/4 cup  fresh squeezed lime juice (about 4 limes)

2 Thai red chiles or Jalapenos, minced

6 cloves  garlic, minced

2 tablespoons fish sauce

Rooster brand chile garlic sauce

Combine water and sugar together in a small saucepan and bring to bowl over medium high heat, stirring to dissolve sugar.  Add vinegar, lime juice, and chilies, and fish sauce to saucepan, stirring to combine. Season with chile garlic sauce if desired.


Place prepared noodles on platter (or in individual serving bowls). Place all remaining salad ingredients and pork on top of noodles, dividing ingredients in sections. Drizzle dressing over the top of salad.

Makes 15-18 tasting sized appetizers

6 entree servings


Pickled Ginger Salsa with Wonton Chips Recipe

My sister -in -law is a fly by the seat of her pants kind of girl. If something can wait, she will put it off until the very last minute, and then scramble to get it done. There is usually a pretty good story that goes along with her procrastination. Like the time…

~ she came bustling through the door out of breath and a little late,  to a family gathering we were having with this Pickled Ginger Salsa and Crisp Wonton Chips. A cloud with the fragrance of deep fried wonton skins trailed behind my sister in law wherever she went. Her clothes, hair, and whole being reeked of oil. I can’t help but  chuckle a bit in my head as I type this remembering how  we all laughed together about how much she stunk!

You see, my sister- in- law fried the chips just before the party started and ran out of time for a shower (or change of clothes).  It was pretty funny, and a memorable family moment. But even more memorable, was how amazing that Pickled Ginger Salsa tasted when we scooped up that first bite. If you are a fan of homemade tortilla chips (who isn’t), then you will easily fall in love with these homemade wonton chips.

It’s not very often that I eat fried foods, but let me tell you, the chips are worth the splurge. Crisp and salty, they are the perfect complement to the sweet and spicy flavors you’ll find in the salsa.

Summer barbeque season is upon us, and if you are looking for a little something different to bring and share with your friends, I think you will really enjoy this one. Just remember to allow enough time for a shower.

Crisp Wonton Chips with Pickled Ginger Salsa

For a  healthier option, you could substitute the convenience of  store-bought chips, and if I were doing that, I would recommend Food Should Taste Good Multigrain Chips, or Garden of Eaten Blue Corn Tortilla Chips.

1 (10-ounce) jar pickled ginger root

Juice of 1 1/2 limes

2 tablespoons sesame oil

4 tablespoons rice wine vinegar

1 tablespoon honey

6-8 cloves garlic, minced

2 tablespoons soy sauce

6 plum tomatoes, diced

3 green onions(green part only), finely chopped

2/3 cup chopped cilantro

1/2 teaspoon salt

1  package egg roll wrappers (usually 25 in a package)

Canola oil for frying chips

Combine Pickled ginger and next 7 ingredients in a food processor and blend until smooth. Mix in tomatoes, green onions, cilantro, and salt.

Heat canola oil in a deep fryer or in a cast iron skillet to 350 degrees. (If using a cast iron skillet, fill with 2-inches of canola oil).

Cut egg roll wrappers into 1-inch strips.

Fry egg roll wrapper strips in batches until golden brown. Drain on paper towel lined baking sheet and sprinkle with salt.

10-12 servings