Chinese chicken salad
Chinese chicken salad with crunchy fresh vegetables and peanuts and a punchy dressing. This is the perfect light summer meal and makes for great lunchbox fillers.
Let’s face it, this salad is as much Chinese as I am but I saw a version of this on Pinterest a while ago while I was mindlessly scrolling through (as you do), and it stuck with me. It’s very, very similar to my Asian chicken and cabbage salad but has a few tweaks and extra ingredients that makes it all the more delicious.
After a week filled with shooting at hellish temperatures, all I want is cooling, refreshing salads and to live in a swimming pool. Since our new home doesn’t have one of those I’ll have to settle for the cooling, refreshing salads and this one didn’t disappoint. The crunch of the vegetables and peanuts adds loads of texture but the real star of the show is that dressing. Man alive, that stuff is good. When you have ingredients like carrots, cabbage, poached chicken and bean sprouts, you need something to add a serious flavour punch and this one hits you right where you want it.
Soy sauce for saltiness, honey for something sweet and a good squeeze of lemon juice for fresh tang. To add interest, I added a little sesame oil as well as sesame seeds, fresh grated ginger and garlic. I’m not kidding, I could totes drink this dressing as is. It’s just everything you want in a salad dressing.
Because it’s been so unbearably hot this last week, I can’t be bothered to spend ages in the kitchen and decided to give the chicken the quickest poach in an aromatic broth of chicken stock, soy sauce, ginger, garlic and a little chilli. It took all of 7 minutes to get the chicken done (admittedly they weren’t particularly large) whereafter I allowed them to chill on a covered plate until I was ready to shred them and toss the succulent pieces into the salad. However, you could very easily just buy some cooked chicken from the supermarket and shred it into the salad for a no-fuss, no-cook option. Speaking of shortcuts, instead of shredding the vegetables by hand, you could buy a packet of coleslaw mix which will save you lots of time. But to be honest, I like the extra texture the hand-shredded vegetables add and I often find that the ready-cut stuff from the supermarket can’t withstand the dressing very well and wilt into an undesirably sad pile quickly after adding the dressing so if you’re going that route, make sure you dress the salad the very second before eating it.
This makes for excellent lunchbox fillers the next day (keep the dressing separate) and will happily keep in the fridge in an airtight container for up to 2 days.
- 4 medium-sized chicken breasts, de-boned and skin removed
- 6 cups chicken stock/water
- 2 tablespoons soy sauce
- 1 teaspoon fresh ginger, grated
- 1 garlic clove, crushed
- 1 red chilli, sliced
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 2 baby cabbages, shredded
- 2 large carrots, julienned
- 1 cup bean sprouts
- 10 radishes, thinly sliced
- 1 cup salted peanuts
- 4-6 spring onions, sliced
- handful fresh coriander leaves
- 1 red chilli, finely sliced (optional)
- ¼ cup sesame seeds (I used a mix with flax, sesame and sunflower seeds)
- ¼ cup soy sauce
- ¼ cup honey
- ¼ cup fresh lemon juice
- ½ cup oil
- 2 teaspoons sesame oil
- 1 tablespoon sesame seeds
- Combine all the ingredients for the poached chicken in a saucepan and bring up to a gentle simmer.
- Allow to cook gently for 5-7 minutes until the chicken is cooked through but still succulent.
- Remove from the liquid then place on a plate and allow to cool before shredding.
- For the salad, combine all the ingredients in a large bowl.
- To make the dressing, whisk all the ingredients together, adjusting the seasoning as you prefer.
- Combine the shredded chicken with the salad ingredients then dress before serving.
- If you want to make this ahead, keep the salad undressed in an airtight container for up to two days in the fridge. Only dress right before serving.