Martha’s Chinese Chicken Salad

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).

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Martha’s Chinese Chicken Salad Recipe

  • Yield: Serves 4 to 6.

Ingredients

  • 1/2 lb. white chicken meat, cooked and shredded
  • 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 grapeseed 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

Sauce:

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

Method

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1 Using two forks, shred the cooked chicken (if you don't have any already cooked, poach chicken pieces in simmering water until no longer pink inside). 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.

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2 Put 3/4 inch of high smoke point cooking oil (such as grapeseed oil, or peanut oil) into a small saucepan. Heat on high heat until when you flick a drop or two of water into the oil it sizzles. 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. 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.

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3 Cut your green onions, shredding them lengthwise as shown. Toast your 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.)

4 Mix all of the sauce ingredients together, in the order listed. Just before serving the salad, mix all of the salad ingredients together - lettuce, chicken, bean threads, almonds, sesame seeds, and sauce.

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24 Comments

  1. Ethan

    I’d add cilantro to that, maybe some lemon zest or juice to the sauce too

  2. Elise

    Cilantro would be good. I was also thinking of some thinly sliced kumquats.

  3. Erich

    My mom makes a salad similar to this, except she uses cabbage instead of lettuce which makes it kinda like an asian slaw. Our family loves it, mostly because we hate mayo or anything of the like. She also uses Hot Chili Sesame Oil for an extra kick.

  4. Ken Broadhurst

    I made Martha’s chicken salad for lunch today, and it was great. One of our guests doesn’t like onion, so I left out the green onions. I put some cilantro leaves on the salad and they were good. I also used rice stack noodles instead of bean threads (because that’s what I could get) and they were good too. Thanks for the recipe.

  5. e-Mom

    I’m addicted to salads. Thanks for this terrific-looking recipe. Today, my husband said my waist is re-appearing again. Hooray!

  6. Pat Barford

    Made it this weekend. It was fab and totally disappeared. Had to use turkey breast as that’s what I had, but it was wonderful nonetheless. Love the suggestions for using cabbage and adding kumquats, cilantro and chile oil. Mmmmmmm. I’m making this again.

  7. Joe

    I just made this for a potluck at work, and the response was fabulous! I had a lot of fun cooking up the noodles for the recipe. I used a bottled sesame sauce instead of the one directed, as I didn’t like how the sauce came together (maybe my sesame oil was old).

  8. Sprittibee

    This looks amazing. I’m going to try it! :)

  9. Trixi

    The salad turned out delicious! My husband, children and grandchildren loved it. I used dry roasted unsalted peanuts instead of the almonds, added some chopped cabbage, and omitted the bean threads. Stir frying the cooked and shredded chicken in peanut oil made all the difference in the world.

  10. Nancy Liedel

    This looks wonderful. I have something to make tomorrow!

  11. Candy Schultz

    I have made a salad very similar to that but not in years. It was incredibly yummy. Might have to do it again. Thanks.

  12. Laura Ginn

    Your directions are absolutely outstanding. Will make this coming week.

  13. The Cooking Ninja

    hmm…interesting salad. I will have to try it out one day for a change of our usual salad.

  14. Mazz

    I’ve been cooking rice noodles that way as a garnish ever since I saw it on TV ages ago. My friends are always impressed by it and want to come round and help me cook chinese (so they can see the noodles and also make spring rolls with me).

  15. ann

    I’d just buy the packaged instant ramen noodles & use that to save time.

  16. APF

    “This…is not the salad..of my people!”
    -Margaret Cho

  17. Elise

    Hi APF – I think you would find that this salad is typical of the chicken salads that are served at Chinese restaurants all across America. And like many of the other menu items, would not typically be found served in China.

  18. Jessica

    I finally got a chance to make this last night and, man oh man, it is GREAT. Honestly, I think it’s as good, if not better, than my favorite one that is made at San Anselmo’s Comforts restaurant. Thanks!

  19. Joy

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

  20. 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.

  21. Lisa Moye

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

  22. 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?

  23. 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!

  24. Steve

    Wow. it looks very nice and tempting. I never tried preparing a Chicken Salad before. I will definitely try this recipe.

    To add on: Elise i love your blog, Simply Recipes, its inspired me with many cooking ideas. Thanks for sharing your recipes. You will be seeing me commenting on your posting.
    Good job and keep it up :)

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