I’ve been fortunate enough to travel to Asia a few times now, and while I love experiencing the incredible and diverse food Asia has to offer, one of the things I always find myself missing is a fresh, crisp salad. A lot of vegetables over there are cooked, and sometimes you can’t trust the fresh ones because they may have been washed in tap water. Towards the end of my trips, I actually start dreaming about raw vegetables and would give up all the amazing food there just to have one bowl of refreshing salad!
So the first thing I did when I got home from my most recent trip was to make myself a giant bowl of salad! I wanted to make something with Asian ingredients though, and realized it was the perfect time to try a salad recipe I’d had bookmarked for a year but kept forgetting to make: this mandarin chicken salad from Munchin with Munchkin. While it looked like a lot of ingredients to buy, I actually had all the ingredients for the dressing already, and I didn't mind buying the vegetables because I knew I'd eat whatever was leftover as a snack, so it was money well spent!
I changed quite a few little things with the recipe in order to suit my tastes (and based on what ingredients I had on hand), so be sure to check out the original recipe too so that you can also adjust the ingredients to your tastes! You should also check out the rest of Kris’ amazing blog while you’re there – it was just voted the Best Recipe Blog in The Kitchn’s Homies awards!
This salad was so fresh and flavorful and exactly what I was craving after my trip. I loved how the sweet mandarins were balanced by all the crunchy vegetables, and the sweet and sour vinaigrette gave it the Asian flavour I was still desiring. I have a feeling I’ll be craving this salad a lot more now that I know how much I love it!
Mandarin Chicken Salad
Adapted from Munchin with Munchkin
For the Dressing:1 tablespoon rice vinegar
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
1/4 teaspoon chili garlic sauce (optional for a bit of spice)
1 tablespoon sesame oil
1 teaspoon soy sauce
1 tablespoon dark brown sugar
1 garlic clove, minced
1/2 teaspoon sweet Thai chili sauce
Dash of salt
For the Salad:1 boneless, skinless chicken breast, cooked and shredded into small pieces (I cooked mine in sesame oil)
2 cups lettuce
1/2 red bell pepper, cut into thin strips
1 medium carrot, cut into matchsticks
1/4 cup snow peas
1/4 cup shelled edamame, cooked as per package directions
2-3 mandarins, segmented
2 tablespoons ground peanuts (ground in a food processor)
2 tablespoons sesame seeds
In a small bowl, whisk together all ingredients for the dressing. Taste and adjust any amounts to your liking. Set aside.
In a large bowl, combine salad ingredients, toss with dressing, and divide salad between two plates/bowls, with the peanuts and sesame seeds sprinkled on top.
Notes:- Next time I might eliminate the carrots and snow peas and increase the mandarins. Choose ingredients and amounts to your own taste!
- Optional additional toppings may include green onions, cilantro, and chow mein noodles