CHINESE CHICKEN SALAD
2 each meaty chicken breasts, shredded
1 head iceberg lettuce
2 to 3 stalks green onion
3 tbsp. sliced almonds, toasted
1/4 c. cilantro, coarsely chopped (optional)
1 tbsp. toasted sesame seeds, optional
1/4 pkg. maifun (rice stick noodles) OR 1 can fried Chinese noodles (ex. Chun King)
1/8 c. sesame oil
1/8 c. salad oil
2 tbsp. sugar
3 tbsp. rice vinegar (if white vinegar, can use less)
1/2 tsp. salt1/8 tsp. pepper
The secret is in the chicken and the lettuce. If you cook the chicken breast with a little teriyaki sauce, it adds a little zing to the salad, but most times it's just easier to throw it in the microwave and not worry about an extra sauce. After it's cooled a bit, tear apart the meat with your fingers (it's easier than with a knife) into small, thin strips. That way, there's chicken in every bite. The lettuce should be cut (not torn) into 1/4 inch strips. If they're too long to eat gracefully (after all, this isn't spaghetti), cut them into two or three pieces.
Slice the green onion (the green and white part, on the diagonal for a true Japanese cut); toast the sliced almonds (if you're in a hurry, just throw them in); clean, pick and chop the cilantro (also known as Mexican or Chinese parsley); and toast the sesame seeds until they turn golden brown and start popping (you can do them together with the almonds if you want).
For authentic noodles, deep fry the maifun rice noodles. Use a small saucepan to use less oil but make more batches, or use a large saucepan to make fewer batches but use a lot more oil. Heat the oil; throw in a few noodles to test the temperature, the noodle should puff up immediately. Break up the noodles and put in a little bunch at a time because it puffs up to more than five times its size. (You'll get the hang of it after it's exploded a few times.)
Combine all ingredients for the dressing in a bottle that you can shake well.
Just before serving, mix the dressing with the salad ingredients, then fold in the rice noodles carefully. If you pour the dressing on the noodles, it will get soggy right away. If you're serving this for a large party or buffet, it's better to prepare a few small batches so your guests will get fresh noodles and greens rather than wilted and soggy ingredients.