top of page
  • Writer's pictureCarlos Sarmiento

Mandarine salad, ginger chicken and lemongrass fried rice & Mckahn Family Cellars Viognier

Updated: Dec 14, 2023

(Photo: Carlos Sarmiento)

The Far East has called again to create new and tasty Chinese-inspired dishes.

In doing research on what to make, I quickly realized that the hidden secret to great oriental cuisine are in it’s marinades.

Marinades (in its right proportions) when mixed with meats can achieve a fantastic level of umami (Japanese derived term for savoriness).

Umami represents one of five specific taste in foods. The other four include: bitterness, sour, salty and sweet.

(Photo: Marta Markes)

Foods that have a strong umami flavor include meats, shellfish, fish (including fish sauce), tomatoes, mushrooms, cheeses, and soy sauce.

Carefully selected salads, entrees and side dishes such as the one selected for this posting can deliver a flavorful packed meal that will linger in the memory of the senses.

Let‘s get cooking!

Menu: Mandarine salad with spinach, marinated radishes, red onions, water chestnuts, roasted pine nuts and sesame-chili dressing.

Ginger chicken with pineapple and toasted sesame.

Lemongrass fried rice.

Wine pairing: 2019 McKahn Family Cellars - Viognier (Russian River Valley, California)

Serves 6


Salad dressing:

  • 1/4 cup of sesame oil

  • 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice

  • 2 tablespoons of orange juice

  • 1 tablespoon of honey

  • 3/4 teaspoon of asian chili sauce


  • 2 cups of packed baby spinach

  • 1 mandarine (can also be substituted with tangerine), peeled and cut in small wedges

  • 1/4 cup of toasted pine nuts

  • 3 small radishes, trimmed and thinly sliced and soaked in lemon juice

  • 1 (8 ounce) can of water chestnut, drained

  • 1/2 cup of thinly sliced (julienned) red onions

Chicken marinade:

  • 1 tablespoon of cornstarch

  • 1 tablespoon of rice wine

  • 2 teaspoons of soy sauce


  • 1 pound boneless chicken breasts, cut into 1/2 inch cubes

  • 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil

  • 1/3 cup of thinly cut ginger

  • 1/2 cup of chicken broth

  • 1/2 cup of fresh pineapple chunks

Fried rice:

  • 4 cups of cold cooked long-grain rice

  • 1 small yellow onion, chopped

  • 1 lemon grass stalk, minced (bottom 4 inches)

  • 2 shallots, finely chopped

  • 2 garlic gloves, finely chopped

  • 2 tablespoons of toasted sesame seeds

  • 3 tablespoons of vegetable oil

  • 1 red chili, finely chopped (optional)

  • 2 teaspoons of sugar

  • 2 tablespoons of chicken broth

  • 2 tablespoons of soy sauce

  • 1/4 teaspoon of cracked black pepper

  • 8 fresh cilantro sprigs, coarsely chopped



  • Combine all salad dressing ingredients in a small bowl and whisk until blended.

  • Combine salad ingredients into a large bowl and add dressing. Mix well.

*I highly recommend prepping the salads right before serving the full meal.


  • To first make the marinade, combine all marinade ingredients in a bowl and let stand for 10 minutes.

  • Place large stir-fry pan over high heat until hot.

  • Add oil and swirl pan until coated all around.

  • Add fresh ginger and cook, stirring until the ginger is crispy and the oil is infused with its flavor (about 2-3 minutes).

  • Add the chicken and stir-fry until it’s no longer pink on the center (about 3-4 minutes).

  • Add chicken broth and pineapple and cook. Stir until the sauce boils and slightly thickens (about 1/2 a minute).

  • Remove from heat and transfer to serving plate or to individual plates.

Fried rice:

  • In a food processor or blender, combine 1 tablespoon of oil, lemongrass, shallots, garlic, chili (optional) and sugar. Blend until it forms a paste.

  • Place large stir-fry pan over medium heat until hot.

  • Add remaining oil and swirl until pan is costed.

  • Add lemongrass paste and cook, stirring for about 5 minutes. Remove the paste to a small bowl.

  • Return the stir-fry pan to high heat and add remaining oil, swirling to coat the sides.

  • Add the onion and cook, stirring until fragrant (about 1/2 a minute).

  • Add the cooked rice, separating the grains with the back of a large spoon.

  • Stir-fry until the rice is heated through and begins to smell toasty (4-5 minutes).

  • Stir in broth, soy sauce, pepper and lemongrass paste, stirring until the liquid is absorbed (about 1-2 minutes).

  • Remove from heat. Add cilantro and sesame seeds as garnishes, when serving.

Serve it up!

This fantastic meal can easily be served family settle in large bowls or individually.

The salad should definitely be served separately on either small bowls or small salad plates so that it’s dressings doesn’t hinder the taste of the of the other dishes.

Bon appetit! Enjoy!

(Photo: Carlos Sarmiento)

(Photo: Carlos Sarmiento)

(Photo: Carlos Sarmiento)

(Photo: Carlos Sarmiento)

(Photo: Carlos Sarmiento)

About the wine... This is the second collaboration I do with McKahn Family Cellars and my first time trying the Viognier varietal. It is a wine I cannot wait to have again.

Special thanks to Denise McKahn and her family, particularly her winemaker son, Chuck for this wonderful partnership.

2019 McKahn Family Cellars - Viognier (Russian River Valley, California)

(Photo: Carlos Sarmiento)

Tasting notes: Striking aromas of lemon curd, lemon zest, orange zest, orange blossom and spring flowers open up to sweet apricot and white peach on the palate.

A touch of North Coast honey is layered underneath the fruit, reminiscent of stone fruit pie. The palate is full-bodied with vibrant acidity that lifts up the richness of the mouthfeel and the finish is everlasting.

Grape: 100% Viognier

Vineyard Designation

Catie's Corner Vineyard

Vineyard Notes Catie's Corner Vineyard is owned by the Kunde Family and farmed by the Dutton’s, two of Sonoma County’s finest, the quality of the farming coupled with the terroir itself is a combination winemaker’s dream of.

This vineyard lies on the eastern end of the Russian River Valley AVA, and the morning marine layer that is common during the growing season will burn off earlier and give the vines a few more hours of sunshine, something viognier appreciates.

Production Notes Whole cluster press to tank for a two day cold settle. Racked off primary lees and inoculated with yeast. Barrel fermented to dryness in neutral oak barrels and aged for 6 months before bottling.

Food pairing: Garlic-Cilantro Grilled Shrimp, Spicy Fish Tacos, Honey Sesame Chicken or Summer Mango Salad.

Ratings 92 Points - Wine Enthusiast

For more information, visit: &


Decorative wine drip collar by:

(Special discount promo code: CFW15)


(Photo: Vincent Tint)

74 views0 comments


Post: Blog2_Post
bottom of page