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RECIPE: Mandarin Chicken Salad (A.K.A. Asian Chicken Salad, Chinese Chicken Salad)

Asian Chicken Salad
[1] This Mandarin Chicken Salad has a bed of crunchy shredded cabbage (cole slaw mix). The mandarins are the Satsuma variety. The Mandarin group also includes clementines, satsumas, tangelos, tangerines) and branded versions like Cuties and Halos.
Here are the differences (photo © Good Eggs).


[2] Here’s how Cheesecake Factory molds the SkinnyLicious Asian Chicken Salad. The recipe: grilled chicken, atop romaine, snow peas, carrots, bean sprouts and scallions, garnished with almonds and sesame seeds with a sesame-soy dressing (photo © Cheesecake Factory).

Asian Chicken Salad
[3] This Asian Chicken Salad is on a conventional romaine base, with DIY garnishes so everyone can customize his/her own salad: chopped peanuts, edamame, diced pineapple instead of mandarins, red onion, scallion (photo © Souplantation).

chinese-shrimp-salad-sweetandcrumbly-230
[4] This variation, from Bullock’s Tea Room in herman Oaks, California, substitutes shrimp for chicken. Here’s the recipe (photo © Sweet And Crumby).


[5] Radishes and snow peas add crunch to this mesclun-based Asian Chicken Salad at The Tuck Room | NYC (photo © The Tuck Room).

Halos Peeled

[6] Halos, a branded clementine mandarin from Wonderful Foods. Cuties are another brand of clementine, from Paramount Citrus.

 

If your produce department lacks inspiration in the heart of winter, you can still mix up a colorful, luscious salad.

One of our favorites is this Sesame Chicken Salad with Mandarin Oranges. Winter is peak season for mandarins, and the small fruit segments add bright orange color to salad greens.

It’s a recipe that is variously called Asian Chicken Salad or Chinese Chicken Salad, and can have a base of lettuces and different salad greens, or as in this case, crunchy cabbage slaw.

There are variations on the name, but the rules are neither hard nor fast:

  • Asian Chicken Salad, the most generic term, indicates a sesame-soy-ginger vinaigrette or peanut dressing.
  • Chinese Chicken Salad uses mandarin or pineapple plus fried chow mein noodles.
  • Mandarin Chicken Salad refers to the mandarin segments in the recipe (the difference between mandarins and oranges).
  • Thai chicken Salad substitutes rice noodles (shown in the photo) for the chow mein noodles, and adds a peanut garnish and/or peanut dressing.
  •  
    For a different approach to Chinese Chicken Salad, these Chinese Chicken Lettuce Cups from Nakano combine hoisin sauce, water chestnuts and peanuts with garlic and fresh ginger.

    Its spicy peanut dressing combines Nakano Seasoned Rice Vinegar, peanut butter, tamari, maple syrup, garlic, diced ginger and cayenne.

    Here’s the history of Asian/Chinese/Mandarin Chicken Salad.
     
     
    RECIPE #1: CRUNCHY MANDARIN CHICKEN SALAD

    This flavorful main course salad comes together in minutes when you buy pre-shredded cabbage slaw, pre-cooked chicken breasts and sesame-ginger dressing or peanut dressing. The recipe is adapted from Good Eggs.

    Ingredients For 2 Dinner-Size Servings

  • 1 bag cabbage slaw
  • Salt to taste
  • 2-4 scallions
  • Optional: shredded carrots, sliced radishes, green peas, sugar peas and/or edamame
  • Fresh mandarin oranges (not canned!)
  • Cooked chicken breasts
  • Fried chow mein noodles
  • Semi-ripe avocado (substitute edamame)
  • Sesame ginger dressing or peanut dressing (recipes below)
  •  
    Plus

  • Sesame-Ginger Dressing
  • Peanut Dressing
  •  
    The recipes are dressing recipes are below.
     
    Preparation

    1. PLACE the cabbage slaw in a big mixing bowl and season with a pinch of salt. Set aside for 5-10 minutes to allow the cabbage to wilt a little.

    2. SLICE the scallion whites and greens and add to the slaw. Peel the mandarins, break apart the segments and add to the bowl. Slice the chicken into bite size pieces and add to the salad bowl.

    3. DRIZZLE with the sesame dressing and toss to combine. Place on serving plates. Topp with avocado slices and fried ramen noodles.
     

    RECIPE #2: SESAME-GINGER DRESSING

    Ingredients

  • 4 tablespoons rice vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 2 teaspoons fresh ginger (or 1 teaspoon powdered ginger)
  • 2 teaspoons sesame oil or other salad oil
  • 1 clove garlic, peeled
  • Optional: 1 teaspoon honey
  • 2/3 cup olive oil
  • Optional: peanuts or cashews
  •  
    Preparation

    1. PLACE all ingredients in a blender and blend on high.
     
     
    RECIPE #3: PEANUT DRESSING

    Ingredients

  • 1/8 cup rice wine vinegar
  • 1 shallot, quartered
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon black pepper
  • 2 teaspoons peanut butter (substitute tahini)
  • 1 tablespoon sesame seeds (preferably toasted)
  • 1/2 cup sesame oil
  •  
    Preparation

    1. PLACE all ingredients in a blender and blend on high.
     
     
    HOW TO TOAST SESAME SEEDS

    Stovetop toasting: In a large frying pan, heat the sesame seeds over medium heat, shaking the pan occasionally. They are ready when they darken and become fragrant, 3 to 5 minutes.

    Oven toasting: Preheat the oven to 325°F. Spread the seeds on a baking sheet and bake until the seeds darken and become fragrant, about 15 minutes.

    Allow the toasted seeds to cool; then store in a covered jar at room temperature.

    RECIPE #3: PEANUT DRESSING

    Ingredients

  • 1/8 cup rice wine vinegar
  • 1 shallot, quartered
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon black pepper
  • 2 teaspoons peanut butter (substitute tahini)
  • 1 tablespoon sesame seeds (preferably toasted)
  • 1/2 cup sesame oil
  •  
    Preparation

    1. PLACE all ingredients in a blender and blend on high.
     
     
    HOW TO TOAST SESAME SEEDS

    Stovetop toasting: In a large frying pan, heat the sesame seeds over medium heat, shaking the pan occasionally. They are ready when they darken and become fragrant, 3 to 5 minutes.

    Oven toasting: Preheat the oven to 325°F. Spread the seeds on a baking sheet and bake until the seeds darken and become fragrant, about 15 minutes.

    Allow the toasted seeds to cool; then store in a covered jar at room temperature.

     

      

    Comments

    TIP OF THE DAY: Winter Superfoods

    Do you have the winter produce blahs? Do you miss stone fruits, honeydew and affordable berries?

    Brian Klonoski, Content Marketing Manager at Good Eggs—an outstanding grocery delivery service in the Bay Area—shares his recommendations with us. He calls them superfoods (see more below).

    Bay Area consumers are especially lucky to have the country’s greatest wealth of produce.

    California has a unique fruit-and-vegetable growing climate and can grow many different types of vegetable crops throughout the year. Crops are classified as warm season or cool season crops.

  • Cool season crops are those that produce the best quality when the average temperatures are 55°F to 75°F, and are usually tolerant of slight frosts. These include root vegetables such as beets, carrots, parsnips, radishes and turnips; stem vegetables such as asparagus and white potatoes; leafy crops such as cabbage, celery, lettuce, onion and spinach; and plants whose immature flower parts we eat, such as broccoli, cauliflower and globe artichokes.
  • Warm season crops are crops that grow best when the days are long and hot, between 65°F and 95°F. These include crops with mature fruit such as tomatoes, cantaloupe, winter squash and watermelon, and immature fruits such as corn, snap beans and squash.
  •  
    Fortunately for the rest of us, California exports its produce across the country. That’s why you can buy a watermelon in the middle of January [source].
     
     
    TRY SOMETHING NEW

    Below are some in-season fruits and veggies that may not be part of your normal shopping list. Try them!

    Looking for some more traditional options? While serving sides of sweet potatoes, carrots and kale may not be as novel as stinging nettles, if you like them, eat them.

    The most important thing is that you eat your daily quota of 2-4 servings of fruit, and 3-5 servings of vegetables. Why?

    USDA researchers found that longer life came from eating them.

    Note that many servings are 1/2 cup, so if you eat a cup of say, spinach or salad greens, that counts for two portions [source].

     
    WHAT ARE SUPERFOODS?

    “Superfood” is a marketing term, rather than a government- or medically-defined group of foods. There are no set criteria for determining what is and what is not a superfood [source].

    The term, which dates back to the early 20th century, became a buzzword around 2011. It refers to certain fruits and vegetables, plus other foods like beans, nuts and salmon, that are rich in vitamins, minerals and and antioxidants.

  • Antioxidants are thought to ward off cancer. Phytochemicals—the chemicals in plants responsible for deep colors—are a large category of antioxidants.
  • Healthy fats, thought to prevent heart disease.
  • Fiber is thought to prevent diabetes and digestive problems.
  •  
     
    TRY SOMETHING NEW

    Here are Good Eggs suggestions for foods to try.

    Fruits

    Cape Gooseberries

    A close relative of tomatillos, Cape gooseberries are tart and covered in a papery husk. But their sweetness is more akin to a strawberry or pineapple. They are packed with beta-carotene, fiber, potassium and vitamin A and C.

    Cape Gooseberries are usually eaten raw: chopped and added to salsas, dipped in chocolate, or served Caprese-style, with burrata or mozzarella, basil and balsamic vinegar.

    Here’s more information, plus recipes.

    Kiwifruit

    These sweet tropical fruits are in season for a short time in California, but New Zealand fills in the year-round supply. Kiwifruit—kiwi for short—has twice as much vitamin C as oranges, and are loaded with minerals and antioxidants.

    The fuzzy skin, similar to a peach, is edible and a good source of fiber, as does the flesh inside. Add them to fruit and green salads, smoothies, chutneys and sauces. Or just fruit one in half and scoop out the flesh with a spoon.

    If you come across Golden Kiwifruit, grab a handful. We think they’re even more delicious. Here’s more about them.

    Pomelos

    Pomelos are similar to grapefruits, but sweeter and milder. Different varieties all with distinct flavors. The Tahitian Sarawak pomelo, for example, is sweet and lime-like; others are more like grapefruit, since grapefruit is a cross of a pomelo and a sweet orange.

    A single serving of pomelo has nearly double the recommended daily amount of vitamin C, along with a high in fiber and potassium content. Use them as you would grapefruit. You can even peel pomelos like oranges for a snack.

    Here’s more about them.
     
     
    VEGETABLES

    King Trumpet Mushrooms

    A favorite of chefs for their depth of meaty flavor, king trumpet mushrooms are packed with nutrients. Nearly a third of their calories come from protein, and they’re a great source of vitamins and minerals.

    Like other larger mushrooms, They can be sautéed, tossed in oil and grilled, or added to braises and stews. The stems are just as tasty as the caps. They can be sliced into salads or sauces, or cut into “scallops” and sautéed like them.

    Here’s more about them.

    Microgreens

    Microgreens may seen like an elitist garnish served at fine restaurants, but our local poke join tops poke bowls with delightfully flavorful radish microgreens.

    Microgreens are nutritional powerhouses that are just as delightful on home meals. Aromatic, crisp, and surprisingly flavorful, they can can be garnish just about anything: avocado toast, eggs, meat and fish, pizzas, salads, sandwiches and burgers, even tacos.

    Microgreens have up to 40 times more vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants than mature vegetables.

    Here’s more about microgreens.

    Spigariello (Leaf Broccoli)

    A high-antioxidant brassica like broccoli and cauliflower, spigariello is sweet, peppery and more tender than kale. It is often compared to broccoli rabe, but less widely available.

    It’s worth hunting down: Spigariello is a terrific source of vitamins, minerals and amino acids. Like most greens, it’s easy to work into your meals.

    Sauté spigariello in olive oil with garlic and red chili flakes, braise it in stock, add it to soups, or eat it raw on pizzas, sandwiches, and salads.

    Here’s more about it.

    Stinging Nettles

    While you need to use gloves when cutting the stingers from raw nettles, the cooked result (they must be cooked!) is worth it. The flavor is similar to spinach, but earthier and nuttier.

    These greens are rich in calcium, iron, potassium, and vitamins A and C, and up to 25 percent protein by dry weight. Sautéing them in butter, add them to marinara sauce or to soups and stews, and fold them into eggs. Cooked nettles also make a delicious pesto or salsa verde.

    Here’s more about them.

    Food for thought?

     


    [1] Cape Gooseberry, kin to the tomatillo (photo © Rose Jones | Flickr).


    [2] Kiwifruit. Here’s more about them from Live Eat Learn (photo © Live Eat Learn).


    [3] Sarawok Tahitian pomelo (photo © Good Eggs).


    [4] King Trumpet mushrooms (photo © The Nibble).


    [5] Microgreens: red amaranth, red mustard and beet tops (photo © The Nibble).


    [6] Spigariello, leaf broccoli (photo © Good Eggs).

    Stinging Nettles
    [7] Stinging nettles (photo © Good Eggs).

     

      

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    TIP OF THE DAY: Get Out Your Spiralizer


    [1] A rainbow of spiralized vegetables. Here are videos demonstrating how to spiralize (photo © Downshiftology).


    [2] You can turn quite a few veggies into pasta. This dish is Butternut Squash Fettuccine (photo © Spiralizer | Amazon).


    [3] Spiralized veggies are a perfect garnish for grilled fish (photo © Zuma Restaurant | NYC).


    [4] The Spiralizer Ultimate 7 Blade Vegetable Slicer, only $25.47, makes any shape you need.

     

    If you bought one of the first spiralizers, it may be time to upgrade.

    For only $25.47, you can have the latest and greatest Spiralizer Ultimate 7 Blade Vegetable Slicer (photo #4).

    Unlike the first generation we bought, which was limited to one width of noodles, this superior, seven-blade unit enables you to make “fettuccine,” “pappardelle” and other widths of pasta, along with

    This one can shred, slice and chip and shoestrings from most firm vegetables and fruits, including apples, onions and radishes.

    And since everyone we know wants to eat more veggies and fewer refined carbs, is there a better reason?
     
     
    WHAT SHOULD YOU SPIRALIZE?

  • Apples & Pears, for garnishes,salads and sautés
  • Beets, for garnishes, pickled beets, salads
  • Bell Peppers, for salads, slaws
  • Butternut Squash, for hash, noodles and sides
  • Carrots, for garnishes, hash, latkes, salads, slaws, sautés
  • Celeriac, for fries and salads and (one of our favorite classic French dishes is Celeri Remoulade)
  • Citrus, for garnishes, salads
  • Cucumbers, for garnishes, salads and sautés
  • Onions, for fries, salads, sautés
  • Parsnips, hash, for latkes, noodles
  • Potatoes, for hash, fries, latkes
  • Radishes, for garnishes, salads and sautés
  • Rutabaga for noodles, sautés, sides
  • Sweet Potatoes for fries, hash, sides, stir-frys
  • Turnips for noodles, sautés, stir-frys
  • Zucchini & Summer/Yellow Squash, for garnishes, fries, hash, latkes, noodles, salads, sides
  •  
    We’ve not yet turned spiralized veggies into buns for burgers and sandwiches, but one of these days….Here’s the video from Inspiralized.
     
    OUR FAVORITE DISHES TO SPIRALIZE

  • Asian Noodle Dishes (we love Zucchini Pad Thai)
  • Frittatas
  • Latkes
  • Pasta: angel hair, linguine, pappardelle, etc.
  • Riced Vegetables (pulse the spiralized vegetables into a food processor)
  • Roast Vegetables
  • Shoestring Fries
  • Salads
  • Slaws
  • Soup Noodles
  • Summer Rolls
  • Vegetable Sides
  • Wraps
  •  
    You can find many recipes online.

    To show you the ease with which you can spiralize, check out these videos from Downshiftology.

    Want to spiralize something easy tonight?

    Here’s a super-simple recipe that even the original spiralizers turn out well.

     
     
    RECIPE: EASY MICROWAVE ZUCCHINI LINGUINE

    Ingredients

  • 3-4 large zucchini
  • 1/2 cup marinara or other pasta sauce
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 1/4 teaspoon oregano, optional chile flakes
  • Garnish: grated cheese
  •  
    Preparation

    1. SPIRALIZE the zucchini into “linguine.” We core the seeds from the middle first. Place in a microwave-safe dish.

    2. PRESS the garlic and add to the dish. Top with the pasta sauce and microwave, covered, on high for 4 minutes. Stir to blend and serve.

     
      

    Comments

    TIP OF THE DAY: Bake With Olive Oil Instead Of Butter

    Olive Oil Cake
    [1] Olive oil cake. Here’s the recipe from Lucero Olive Oil.

    Olive Oil Cake
    [2] This charming polenta (cornmeal) olive oil cake is packed with grapes. Here’s the recipe from Cake Keeper Cakes | Amazon.


    [3] How about a chocolate cake? Here’s the recipe from Smitten Kitchen.


    [4] Banana Chocolate Chunk Muffins with olive oil. Here’s the recipe from How Sweet Eats.


    [5] Check your olive oil for freshness. Uncap the bottle and give the oil a sniff test. If you’re still not sure, taste a tiny bit (photo © North American Olive Oil Association).

     

    It’s still the month for resolutions: our annual plan to make one change to improve our eating patterns.

    Adding more extra virgin olive oil to your life is one way, switching out less healthy fats.

    EVOO is a heart-healthy fat, high in polyphenols. It can lends extra flavor and textures to your favorite dishes.

    We’ve long been substituting EVOO for butter in cooking, but not in baking. Until now.

    One way to make cakes, muffins and quick breads more guilt-free is to switch out the butter for olive oil.

    Using olive oil in baked goods may seem strange to Americans, but it’s the fat used for baking in Greece, Italy, southern France and the other olive oil-rich lands around the Mediterranean.

    EVOO adds a nuanced flavor to baked goods, keeps cakes moist, and adds a luscious crumbly texture to crumbles.
     
     
    HOW TO SUBSTITUTE OLIVE OIL FOR BUTTER

    To substitute butter, as a general rule of thumb, use 3/4 the amount of butter. If a baking recipe calls for a stick (8 tablespoons) of butter, use 6 tablespoons of olive oil.

    You can also substitute olive oil 1:1 in recipes that call for less expensive, less nutritious oils, such as canola and vegetable oils.

    Some baking recipes will call specifically for extra virgin olive oil, but you can also use regular supermarket olive oil, called “olive oil” or “pure olive oil.” (The difference is in the acidity.)

    If you have a fine palate, you’ll notice the difference in flavor; but you don’t need to buy EVOO if you don’t already have it.

  • Use a mild olive oil. If you’d like to impart more of an olive oil flavor into your baked goods, you can move up the flavor scale to a more flavorful oil.
  • An olive oil with buttery notes can mimic the flavor of the butter that it is replacing.
  • A chocolate cake can stand up to the bitterness and pungency of a medium or robust EVOO.
  • You can use flavored olive oil, too. There are recipes below that use lemon, and rosemary olive oils.
  •  
    The only time olive oil is not an acceptable substitute for solid fats like butter is in recipes that require a lot of creaming of the butter and sugar, e.g., for super light and fluffy cakes, or when the fat needs to stay solid, as in a frosting [source].
     
     
    WHERE TO BEGIN

    It’s easy to find recipes for olive oil cakes.

    It’s not only about the sweet. Here are savory recipes for quick breads and skillet cornbread.

  • Banana Muffins With Chocolate Chunks
  • Chocolate Olive Oil Cake
  • Dark Chunk Loaf With Olive Oil
  • Dense Olive Oil Cake With Orange & Mint
  • Maialino’s Olive Oil Cake
  • Olive Oil Polenta (Cornmeal) Cake With Grapes
  • Lemon Olive Oil Poppyseed Muffins
  • Olive Oil Cornmeal Cake With Lemon Olive Oil
  • Olive Oil Marmalade Cake With Orange Olive Oil
  • Olive Oil Citrus Cake
  • Orange Olive Oil Cake With Greek Yogurt & Grand Marnier
  • Pistachio Olive Oil Cake With Rosemary Olive Oil
  •  
     
    MORE ABOUT OLIVE OIL

  • Check Your Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • Glossary Of Olive Oil Terms
  • How To Taste & Evaluate Olive Oil
  • More Uses For EVOO
  • Overview Of Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • Sensory Wheel: The Different Flavors & Aromas Of Olive Oil
  • Why You Should Switch To Olive Oil
  •  

      

    Comments

    TIP OF THE DAY: Easy Chicken Curry

    January 12th is National Chicken Curry Day.

    Here’s an enjoyable, family-friendly twist on the Indian classic, courtesy of the southern peanut farmers at PeanutButterLovers.com. There are many more PB recipes on the website.
     
     
    PEANUT APPLE CHICKEN CURRY

    Ingredients For 4 Servings

    For The Peanut Sauce

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 teaspoons curry powder
  • 1/4 cup scallions, chopped with green part
  • 1 cup creamy natural peanut butter
  • 2 teaspoons rice wine vinegar
  • 1-3/4 cup apple juice
  • 1-3/4 cup coconut milk
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • Optional: 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  •  
    For The Chicken

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/2 small yellow onion, chopped
  • 1 1/2 pounds boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1-inch strips
  • 1 medium apple, peeled, cored, and chopped
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Cooked rice for serving
  •  
    Preparation

    1. MAKE the sauce: Heat the oil in a medium to large saucepan over medium heat. Add the garlic, curry powder and scallions. Sauté 1 minute.

    2. ADD the peanut butter, vinegar, apple juice, coconut milk, brown sugar and cayenne. Bring to a simmer, reduce the heat and cook over low heat, stirring frequently, to allow flavors to develop and sauce to thicken (about 10-15 minutes). Meanwhile…

     

    Chicken Apple Curry Recipe
    [1] Brighten up chicken curry with peanut butter and apples (both photo © Peanut Butter Lovers).


    [2] Chicken curry is delicious with peanut butter and apples.

     
    3. HEAT the oil in a large skillet. Add the onion and stir fry about 2-3 minutes, until onions start to become opaque.

    4. ADD the chicken and apples and stir until chicken is cooked completely. Add the peanut sauce and cook until heated evenly (about 2-5 minutes). Season with salt and pepper. Serve warm over rice.

      

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