Don’t bye-pass this recipe because it looks like it has lots of steps. It’s really very easy because you can make the dressing and marinade ahead of time to have them on hand for a quick weekday meal. (We use left-over chicken from the Rotisserie Chicken recipe to save time when you want a healthy meal in under 30 minutes. See our video)

I oftentimes prepare the marinade and pop the chicken breasts into plastic bags with the marinade and put it into the freezer, so when I want a Chinese Chicken Salad, I already have the chicken marinated and ready to defrost and cook when the mood strikes. (Sometimes I have the marinade ready when I return from the store, so I can pop the breasts into plastic bags right away. It’s so easy and insures you will have the chicken ready to defrost and marinate at the same time–a real time-saver.)

Marinate the chicken: Mix together all the ingredients for the marinade and place into a plastic bag with the chicken breasts. Tightly seal the top and shake bag to thoroughly coat breasts. Refrigerate overnight if you haven’t frozen breasts in marinade.)

Roast the sesame seeds and raw cashews in a 400 degree oven until brown. Stir once or twice to make certain they are browned evenly.

Cook the chicken: Bake chicken at 375 degrees for 45 minutes, then turn oven to 450 degrees for another 10 minutes. Brush chicken breasts with marinade several times during the baking. (Make sure the breasts are plump and even sized. You might have to adjust the cooking time if the breasts are small. It’s best to insert thermometer into largest part of breast and cook to 180 degrees.) Once breasts are cooked, remove from oven and let cool 15 minutes. Cut chicken against grain with a sharp knife into bit-sized strips.

Make the dressing: Mix all the ingredients together either briskly with a whisk or in a food processor.

Fry the rice sticks: Heat 6 cups corn oil over medium heat in 6 quart saucepan. Break rice sticks in half lengthwise, place half of the rice sticks into the oil. They will puff instantly if oil is hot enough, otherwise they will just float and take on oil. You want them to puff instantly. They are fun to cook because they puff up like magic. Remove with a large slotted spoon immediately and drain on paper towels. Repeat. Fry rice sticks close to serving time. Don’t overcrowd them in oil, because they really expand.

Combine Salad Fixings: In a large bowl, toss lettuce and assorted veggies with tongs, using about 2/3 of dressing. (If you are making a smaller salad, don’t use all the dressing and toss until the lettuces are nicely coated.) In another bowl, mix the chicken and cashews with remaining dressing (again use your judgment if you are making a smaller salad. Don’t drench the chicken and cashews, but lightly coat them with dressing.) Place lettuce and veggies on plate. Pile a nest of noodles onto lettuce. (You’ll have to pull the noodles apart, so don’t put too many noodles in clumps on salad.) Cover the noodles with dressed chicken and cashews. Sprinkle sesame seeds along edge of lettuce and arrange green onions on top. Garnish with cilantro or edible flowers if you can find them. It makes a beautiful salad. The dressing is out of this world. Far better than you can buy in the supermarket.