Martha’s Chinese Chicken Salad

A Chinese chicken salad that combines toasted sesame seeds, almonds, and fried puffed bean threads. Topped with a dark sesame oil and vinegar dressing.

Photography Credit: Elise Bauer

No, not that Martha. This Martha is a friend of my friend Suzanne, who prepared her favorite chicken salad for a gathering of girlfriends a while back. A great recipe for summer picnics (you might want to double the recipe).

Martha’s Chinese Chicken Salad Recipe

  • Yield: Serves 4 to 6


  • 1/2 lb. white chicken meat, cooked and shredded (see How to Poach Chicken)
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce (use gluten-free soy sauce for gluten-free version)
  • 1 teaspoon sherry
  • 1 Tablespoon sugar
  • High smoke point cooking oil, such as canola oil, corn oil, or peanut oil
  • 2 oz. bean threads (one bunch)
  • 4 green onions, shredded lengthwise
  • 1 small head of lettuce (romaine works), shredded
  • 2 Tablespoons chopped toasted almonds
  • 2 Tablespoons toasted sesame seeds


  • 2 Tbsp sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground pepper
  • 3 Tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1 Tbsp dark sesame oil
  • 3 Tbsp vinegar


1 Shred, season, and fry the cooked chicken: Using two forks, shred the cooked chicken (if starting with raw chicken, see How to Poach Chicken).

Mix soy sauce, sherry and sugar in a bowl and add the chicken. Let soak for 10 minutes.

Remove chicken and pat dry with paper towels. Fry the shredded chicken in a little cooking oil on medium high heat to make it a little crispy and to bake in the seasoning. Set aside.

2 Fry the bean threads in hot oil: Put 3/4 inch of high smoke point cooking oil (such as canola oil or peanut oil) into a small saucepan. Heat on high heat until shimmering.

Take one bunch of the dried bean threads and gently break them up a bit. Test the oil by putting one bean thread into the oil. If the oil is hot enough, the bean thread will almost immediately sizzle and puff up. That's when you know the oil is hot enough.

marthas-chinese-chicken-1.jpg marthas-chinese-chicken-2.jpg

When the oil is ready, working with a few bean threads at a time, put them in the hot oil. As soon as they puff up, remove them carefully with tongs and place them on a paper towel to cool. The paper towel helps remove any excess oil. Set aside.

3 Slice green onions lengthwise: Cut the green onions, shredding them lengthwise as shown.


4 Toast the chopped almonds and sesame seeds: Toast the chopped almonds, or chop your toasted almonds; toast your sesame seeds. (Heat a thin skillet to medium high heat, add the seeds - or nuts, don't do them both together - stir frequently until they begin to brown, remove from heat, they will continue to cook. Let cool to room temp.)

5 Make the dressing: Mix all of the dressing ingredients together, in the order listed.

6 Serve: Just before serving the salad, mix all of the salad ingredients together - lettuce, chicken, bean threads, almonds, sesame seeds, and dressing.

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Showing 4 of 16 Comments

  • Meg

    I’ve made this exactly as given (except to halve the recipe) 3 times now, and it is fantastic! My husband likes gyoza, but I’m not so keen, so I’m always looking for Chinese styled dishes to make at the same time. The fried harusame really make it! This is SO nice for summer!

  • Adam

    Tried this on Sunday – it was quite nice, though not as nice as I hoped, though I had to take a few shortcuts. Might try it again as I couldnt find any sherry or dark sesame oil. The sauce didnt seem to work for me, just wouldnt mix. What type of oil is good for the sauce?

  • Lisa Moye

    This recipe was fantastic as is! This is one dish I plan on making again and again.

  • Renni

    This was a great salad! The only thing I did different was use 1/2 a head of lettuce (instead of the whole) and added 1/2 a head of Napa cabbage(shredded) for extra crunch.

  • Joy

    I am trying to perfect the chinese chicken salad. I am having trouble with the noodles. They become tough and chewy. Any hints?

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