A Flavorful, Low-fat Chinese Chicken Salad

Diana Helfand
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Wednesday - January 12, 2011
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Stampeding elephants! Raging typhoons! Runaway trains! Unabashed slapstick! Hold onto your seats for the original amazing race.

Mark Brown’s stage adaptation of the Jules Verne classic Around the World in 80 Days is onstage Jan. 13-30 at Manoa Valley Theatre.

The man behind MVT’s outrageous set design is James Davenport, who’s made his own amazing journey all the way from New Zealand to join MVT as guest scenic designer for this production. Davenport received his Master of Fine Arts degree in scenic design from the University of Hawaii at Manoa, and has designed sets and acted for theaters locally, nationally and internationally.

The story is about fearless adventurer Phileas Fogg, who has agreed to an outrageous wager that puts his fortune and his life at risk.

Critics have called it “a wildly whacky, unbelievably creative, 90-miles-an-hour, hilarious journey! A ton of fun for all ages.”

See his genius on stage and find out why this week’s column is dedicated to Jim Davenport. Call 988-6131 or purchase tickets online at manoavalleytheatre.com.

Here’s my recipe for Chinese chicken salad to welcome in the new year. To make this recipe lower in fat, I used chicken breast, which has half the fat of chicken thighs. Most of the traditional dressings for this salad contain a lot of fat and sodium, so I used just a touch of sesame oil to add rich flavor, low-sodium shoyu and added sugar to neutralize the acidity in the rice wine vinegar. Sesame seeds give crunch appeal and a pleasing flavor burst to the dressing. You can try different variations, such as substituting walnuts for the almonds, or adding a bit of shredded carrot or even red pepper to the salad. The chicken and salad ingredients can be prepared the night before and refrigerated for a quick after-work dinner.


* 1 head iceberg lettuce, chopped
* 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cooked and sliced thinly, or chopped
* 1 small can chopped water chestnuts
* 3 tablespoons chopped cilantro
* 4 stalks green onion, sliced thin
* 1/2 cup crispy Chinese noodles
* 1/2 cup sliced almonds
* 1 tablespoon sesame oil
* 1/2 cup rice wine vinegar 3 tablespoons low-sodium shoyu
* 1/4 cup white sugar
* pinch salt, or to taste
* pinch ground black pepper, or to taste
* 1 tablespoon sesame seeds

Combine oil, rice wine vinegar, shoyu, sugar, pepper and salt until well-mixed. Mix lettuce, chicken breast and water chestnuts; combine well. Add cilantro and green onion. Just before serving, top with the noodles, almonds and dressing. Toss to coat.

Nutrition Information Per Serving:

Calories: 320
Fat: 5.5 grams
Sodium: 166 milligrams (depending on how much salt you add)
Cholesterol: 68 milligrams

(Diana Helfand, author of “Hawaii Light and Healthy” and “The Best of Heart-y Cooking,” has taught nutrition in the Kapiolani Community College culinary arts program.)

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