Seven Layer Chinese, a.k.a. Hawaiian Haystack

Since our food blog is called “Our Daily Rice,” I thought it only fitting that we post something that actually has rice in it. Depending on who you ask, this dish is called Seven Layer Chinese, or Hawaiian Haystack. Our pastor’s wife in Texas used to make it, and we’ve adopted it as something that almost everyone likes to eat. Each component is in a separate bowl, so people can add or not, as they like. Even the pickiest eaters are pleased.

Much to my chagrin, I realized that if I was going to write for a food blog, I needed to have recipes! While that is no problem with baking, I fear it will tax my usual “throw in some of this and some of that until it looks about right, mix together, then cook until done” method of preparing old standbys. I am also accustomed to cooking for a large family, and confess to not having fully adjusted to our smaller group of only six. What I’m saying here is, if you fix it, I hope you indeed like it, because you might be eating it a while! :)

Assembling Seven Layer Chinese requires great skill. Start with a scoop of rice. Beware, too much rice at the beginning, and the serving will quickly mount to monumental proportions.

Spoon chicken gravy over the bed of rice.

Layer three is key, and I believe it makes the whole dish. Add a dollop of crushed pineapple, including some of the juice.

Then sprinkle on celery…

…green onion…


…and fried wonton strips (you can also use chow mein noodles).

Drizzle soy sauce over the top, and enjoy the savory, sweet, tangy, crunchy, satisfying combination. Make it tonight, and add a new family favorite to your repertoire. Bonus- use the crockpot and avoid heating up your kitchen!

Here’s the recipe-

Seven Layer Chinese

3 cups steamed rice

4 pieces of chicken (I recommend using bone-in thighs for flavor, but boneless thighs or breasts are easier)

2 cans cream of chicken soup

1 can chicken broth

1 large can crushed pineapple (or you can use fresh, and chop it finely)

2 stalks celery

Small bunch green onion

1 cup almonds (I recommend slivered, but chopped or sliced will do)

Fried wonton strips (or you could use chow mein, but fried wontons are so yummy!)

Directions: Place chicken, cream of chicken soup, and chicken stock in crock pot, and cook for 3-4 hours, shredding chicken once it is cooked through and returning to sauce. If necessary, add a bit more chicken broth (or water and chicken bullion) at the end.

Steam rice using any method you like. We use a rice cooker, since the sticky rice it produces is perfect with chopsticks.

Chop pineapple (unless you’re using canned), celery, green onion and almonds. Cut wonton wrappers into thin strips and fry them in hot oil until crispy. Put out bowls of each ingredient, and allow your family to assemble their own. Use chopsticks to make it feel more “authentic.” :)

Serves four.

P.S. Two young ladies who are staying with us, Alyssa and Lacy, specifically requested that I post this recipe and tell their parents to make it a.s.a.p. I think they liked it!