I wanted to change things up a bit so I cooked this chicken salad with Ramen noodles. My daughter is always asking for Ramen noodles and I figured I may be able to get her to eat some salad for once. She did not eat it raw but loved it cooked. This recipe is very flexible. In the winter months you can lightly saute the salad for a warm meal and in the summer it is refreshing raw.
Toss a 1/3 cup slivered almonds, 1 tablespoon sesame seeds, and package of Ramen noodles in 2 tablespoons or more of sesame oil. Bake for 10 minutes at 300 degrees. I cooked the Ramen noodles per the recipe but I think they needed to be boiled first and then browned in the oven. They are too crunchy after baking them.
Salt and pepper the chicken and drizzle with olive oil before you cook them on the cast iron skillet. I used the same skillet for the Ramen noodles and coated it with more sesame oil before placing the chicken on it. Turn them over frequently to make sure the chicken is not too brown.
While the chicken is cooking, chop the bok choy, cabbage (I used Savory cabbage since Napa was not available), and green onions. I placed the bok choy leaves around the outside of the salad bowl for a better presentation.
Pour the ½ cup granulated sugar, ¼ cup rice wine vinegar, ¼ cup sesame oil, ¼ cup olive oil, and 1 tablespoon soy sauce into a mason jar and shake until sugar has dissolved. You can mix the ingredients in a bowl if you do not have a mason jar.
Cut up the chicken and place on top of the greens. Sprinkle the Ramen noodles on top and drizzle the dressing on top.
If you want to serve the salad warm, pour some olive oil into a pan and add the salad. Saute until warm. I used 1/2 cup of Miso Soup to add extra flavor and tenderize the greens a little more. The kids loved the warm salad.
We used the other half of the bok choy, the rest of green onions, and the Miso soup the next night in a Shrimp soup. Very simple and a hit with everyone.
Original Recipe for the Ultimate Cookbook:
California Chicken Salad
Preparation time: 30 minutes Cooking time: 20 minutes
1 (3-ounce) package Ramen noodles, broken up (discard seasoning packet)
1/3 cup slivered almonds
2 tablespoons sesame oil, plus additional oil for frying Ramen
1 tablespoon sesame seeds
2½ pounds boneless chicken breasts, cut into bite-size pieces
½ head Napa cabbage, coarsely chopped
½ head bok choy, coarsely chopped
4 green onions, finely chopped
For the garnish, tomato fans, fresh parsley sprigs and black sesame seeds (available at Asian markets)
Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Place the ramen noodles, almonds and sesame seeds on a baking sheet and toss lightly with the sesame oil. Bake 10 minutes, checking frequently. The ramen should be golden brown. Remove from oven, let cool and store until needed in a lidded container. Meanwhile, cook the chicken in small amounts of sesame oil on a preheated griddle. When cooked, remove from griddle and place in container. If not using immediately, refrigerate the chicken until needed. Wash the chopped Napa cabbage and bok choy and spin dry. Add the green onions and chill until assembling the salads. To assemble, place the greens into a large bowl, add the noodles and chicken, pour the dressing over it all and toss. Place heaping 8-ounce portions onto lettuce-lined plates. Garnish the salads with tomato fans and parsley sprigs and lightly sprinkle with the black sesame seeds. Yield: 8 servings
½ cup granulated sugar
¼ cup rice wine vinegar
¼ cup sesame oil
¼ cup vegetable oil
1 tablespoon soy sauce
Whisk the sugar, vinegar, sesame oil, vegetable oil and soy sauce until the sugar is dissolved. The dressing may be stored until needed at room temperature. Yield: 1 cup