Crazy Chicken Watercress Salad

Menu PartEntree
Cuisine TypeAsian
Chicken watercress salad

Chef Ming Tsai

Cookbook author and TV personality

Wellesley, Mass.

Chef Ming Tsai is a celebrity chef who gained fame as a TV personality, cookbook author and owner of Blue Ginger restaurant in Wellesley, Mass. For this warm stir-fry salad, he fries vermicelli noodles crisp, then tosses scallions, shallots and dark meat chicken in the same wok, flavoring the mix with fish sauce, lime, Thai basil and Thai chilies. The chicken mixture and noodles are served atop a bed of fresh green watercress.


Grapeseed or peanut oil

1 package rice or mung bean vermicelli

3 shallots thinly sliced

2 bunches scallions, white part and ¼-in. green part,

1 lb. naturally raised ground, dark meat chicken

3 tbsp. fish sauce

3 limes (2 juiced, 1 cut into quarters for garnish)

1 tbsp. honey or agave syrup

2 tbsp. sambal or 3 soaked Thai bird chilies, minced

½ cup packed Thai basil leaves

4 cups packed red watercress

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste


  1. In wok, heat up 2 to 3 cups grapeseed oil to hot. Add vermicelli and fry crisp; as it puffs, flip to cook all the noodles. Drain on paper towels.
  2. Transfer oil to a heatproof bowl or small saucepan to cool and reserve for other uses.
  3. Coat wok with oil and add shallots, cooking until caramelized, about 2 minutes. Season with kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper. Add scallion whites and stir-fry for 30 seconds.
  4. Add ground chicken; season lightly with kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, breaking up chicken until cooked through, about 4 minutes.
  5. Meanwhile, in small bowl, mix fish sauce, lime juice, honey and sambal. When chicken is cooked, add in sauce mixture, scallion greens and basil; toss well.
  6. On large platter, arrange half the watercress; top with some noodles, then more watercress and noodles. Finish with remaining watercress and top with chicken mixture. Garnish with a little watercress.

Photo courtesy of S&W Growers

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