Cookery Maven Blog

Thai Chicken Salad In A Jar

My last meal in a Mason jar was Thai chicken salad but this time we ate it at home, in front of the fire. We had planned to go out to Rocky Island for a last hurrah of summer. We got as far as Basswood. The skies opened up and it poured (hard and steady) until the afternoon. We did stop at Basswood, went for a rain-soaked hike through the woods and beat a hasty retreat for home and dry clothes. I guess we should have had our hurrahs on Sunday when it was warm and sunny.

Thai chicken salad needs two things to shine: rice noodles and really, really good peanut sauce. I could, and sometimes do, eat peanut sauce by the spoonful and consider myself a peanut sauce connoisseur (if there is such a thing). It should have a good balance of sweet, sour and spicy flavors as well as a consistency similar to heavy whipping cream. You can put just about anything in this salad— I used roasted chicken, green onion, cucumbers, carrots, sliced purple cabbage, thick rice noodles and garnished with chopped cilantro and peanuts. Ultimately, it's a pasta salad and the variations are endless.

Thai Peanut Sauce

19 ounces full fat coconut milk
1 1/4 cups unsweetened and natural peanut butter
3 tbsp Thai red curry paste (Mae Ploy)
2 tbsp soy sauce (Healthy Boy Thin Soy Sauce)
2 tsp fish sauce (Squid)
2 tbsp chile garlic
4 tbsp sweet chili sauce (Mae Ploy)
Juice of one lime
2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
2 tbsp toasted sesame oil
2 tbsp chopped ginger
3 garlic cloves minced 1 cup water
Put everything into a medium heavy-bottomed pot and bring to a very gentle boil over medium heat, whisking constantly. Let the mixture simmer for 3-5 minutes over low heat; stirring occasionally.  Take the pot off the heat, let the sauce cool down to room temperature, serve immediately. The sauce can be served hot or cold and will keep for two weeks in the refrigerator.

Where Is Leeann Chin When You Need Her?

I cooked many meals at home when we lived in St. Paul but take-out was an important component of our weekly dinners. Leeann Chin was always on the roster for a quick Chinese and kid friendly dinner. The cream cheese wontons were always a favorite— what's not to love about a golden crunchy exterior that gives way to creamy, melted cheese?

My sister, Annie, made them for the boys a few years ago and they were a huge hit. Will suggested we give it a whirl and bring a little Leeann Chin to our kitchen in Bayfield. As luck would have it, our local IGA has wonton wrappers and cream cheese, we were in business. It was a surprisingly easy endeavor. A dollop of cream cheese on a wonton wrapper, wrap it up, fry it up and there you go— a Dougherty version of Leeann Chin wontons in Bayfield.

Fried Cream Cheese Wontons

1 8 ounce package cream cheese - softened

1 1/2 tbsp scallions sliced thin

1 1/2 tbsp cilantro, finely chopped

1 tsp Tajin Classico Seasoning (optional)

Wonton wrappers

Oil for frying


Heat enough cooking oil to fill 2 to 3 inches in a medium-sized cooking pot. In a small bowl, mix cream cheese, scallions, cilantro until fully incorporated. Spoon approximately 1 teaspoon of cream cheese mixture into wonton, and fold wonton.

Fold wonton by brushing a little water over all of the edges of the wonton skin. Fold wonton diagonally unto a triangle. Be sure to seal all of the edges completely, this will keep the filling from running out of the wonton when being cooked. Next take the two furthest ends and press and twist those together. You may need to tack together the two end pieces by adding a little water.

When the oil is heated, you can use a thermometer and test to see that it is 350 degrees, or you may test with a small piece of wonton skin. If the wonton skin bubbles immediately when dropped into the hot oil, it is ready. Drop only 4 or 5 pieces into the hot oil. After about 1 minute the wonton will begin to brown, it will now brown rapidly, remove it when it is lightly browned. Set it on a wire cooling rack or paper towels to drain. Serve with Mae Ploy Sweet Chili Sauce (the best sweet chili sauce, ever!).