Here’s my favorite version of this multi-cultural salad which includes a typical Californian mix of spicy grilled chicken with Asian Napa Cabbage and snow peas with shreds of carrot and red bell pepper tossed in a sweet sour sesame dressing. Sliced almonds and crispy Chinese noodles add texture.

  • 1 large skinless boneless chicken breast, about 10 ounces
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1 teaspoon ground chili pepper
  • 1 teaspoon Chinese five spice powder
  • 20-25 snow pea pods, strings removed
  • 3 cups coarsely shredded Napa cabbage, about ½ pound
  • 1 medium carrot, grated
  • 1 small red bell pepper, cored, seeded and very thinly sliced
  • ½ cup cilantro leaves
  • ¼ cup sliced almonds
  • ½ cup packaged crisp chow mein noodle peices
  • For sweet sour dressing
  • 3 teaspoons soy sauce
  • 1 ½ teaspoons dark sesame oil
  • ¼ cup vegetable oil
  • 2 teaspoons honey
  • 1 scallion, finely chopped

1. Light grill or broiler. Whisk oil with chili pepper and Chinese five spice and pour onto a plate. Dip chicken breast in oil, turning until well coated.  Grill or broil it until browned and no pink juices remain in the center, 7-10 minutes on each side.

2.  Meanwhile, make the dressing: Whisk soy sauce and sesame oil in a small bowl.  Whisk in honey, vegetable oil, and a little black pepper.  Let cooked chicken stand 5 minutes, then halve the breast lengthwise and carve in diagonal slices ½ inch thick and toss with dressing.  Marinate chicken 15 minutes, or up to 2 hours in the refrigerator.

3. Bring a pan of salted water to a boil, add snow peas and boil until tender but still firm, 2-3 minutes. Drain and rinse with cold water. Cut each pod diagonally in 3-4 pieces. Mix peas with bok choy, carrot, bell pepper and cilantro in a bowl.  Add marinated chicken and dressing, toss, and taste for seasoning.  The salad holds up for an hour or two in the refrigerator. To serve, pile salad on two plates and sprinkle with almonds and noodles. Serves 2.

Photo Credit: Christine Matsuda