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Chinese Chicken Salad With Glazed Walnuts

There are as many variations of Chinese chicken salad as there are moves in a game of mah jong. Place your money on this one; it's a sure winner. The glazed walnuts are traditionally deep-fried, but you can make them with less fuss in just a tiny bit of oil. To be on the safe side, double the amount of walnuts; you may eat half of them for snacks by the time you serve the salad.

Courses: Salads
Serves: 6 people

Recipe Ingredients

1/4 cup 59mlBalsamic vinegar
  = (or Chinese dark rice vinegar)
3 tablespoons 45mlSesame paste
  = (or peanut butter)
3 tablespoons 45mlWalnut oil
1 tablespoon 15mlSesame oil
2 tablespoons 30mlSoy sauce
1 teaspoon 5mlHot pepper sauce
2 tablespoons 30mlSugar
1/2 teaspoon 2.5mlFreshly-ground black pepper
4 cups 948mlShredded iceberg lettuce
2 cups 125g / 4.4ozShredded cooked chicken
1 cup 110g / 3.9ozCarrot - cut matchstick (small)
1/2   Cucumber - peeled, seeded,
  And cut matchstick pieces
2 tablespoons 30mlChopped cilantro (Chinese parsley)
2 tablespoons 30mlFinely-shredded fresh basil
  Vegetable oil - for deep frying
12   Wonton wrappers - cut 1/4" strips
2 tablespoons 30mlWalnut oil
2 tablespoons 30mlSugar
1/2 cup 73g / 2.6ozToasted walnut halves

Recipe Instructions

Combine the dressing ingredients in a small bowl and whisk until smooth. Combine the salad ingredients in a large bowl, cover, and refrigerate until ready to serve.

Set a wok in a ring stand and add oil to a depth of about 2 inches. Heat the oil to 360 degrees and adjust the heat to medium-high. Fry the wonton strips until golden brown, about 15 seconds. Remove them with a skimmer and drain on paper towels.

Place a wide frying pan over medium heat until hot. Add the walnut oil, swirling to coat the surface. Add the sugar, stir until it dissolves, add the walnuts, and stir until the nuts are coated with caramelized sugar. Immediately transfer the walnuts to a foil-covered plate and separate them with two forks.

Just before serving, pour the dressing over the salad and toss to coat evenly. Serve the salad in a wide shallow bowl, surrounded with wonton strips. Scatter the glazed walnuts over the top.

This recipe yields 6 to 8 servings.

Everybody's Wokking by Martin Yan, (Harlow & Ratner, 1991)


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