Indonesian Chicken Salad

This is one of those dishes that calls to us on restaurant menus, that satisfies the desire for a combination of textures, colors, and a symphony of flavors that makes our mouths feel happy. And luckily it is easy to create at home. It’s satisfying and exciting and hard to stop shoveling in.

Indonesian Food

So, what is Indonesian food? Hard to capture in just a few sentences, since it’s actually a big category, with a variety of influences. Indonesia is actually comprised of about 6,000 islands, and there are over 300 culinary influences represented. Isn’t that crazy? Sumantran, Javanese, Polynesian, Malaysian, Chinese, Middles Eastern, European, Indian…bits and pieces of these cuisines are all represented in various places in Indonesian recipes.

Indonesian Chicken Salad

In dipping a toe into this cuisine, one quickly realizes that you might in fact need to jump into the deep end of the pool and start swimming furiously to get a real handle on it. Someday I will…today I’m simply offering up this Indonesian chicken salad. Savory and packing some heat (two characteristics of many Indonesian dishes), this dish is probably one of the Indonesian-inspired dishes you are most likely to see on an American restaurant menu.

Asian Chicken Salads

Similar salads might be called Chinese Chicken Salad (which may have water chestnuts, bean sprouts, mandarin orange slices, and crunchy noodles) or Asian Chicken Salad.  Usually the ingredients are fairly finely chopped, slivered or shredded—it’s really nice to get a little of everything (or mostly everything) in each forkful.

Indonesian Chicken Salad

Often all of these salads have dressings similar to this one—with peanut butter, soy sauce, vinegar or citrus juice, ginger, and some form of heat.  I used Sriracha sauce, which originated in Thailand and is available everywhere, from Walmart to almost every supermarket.  It has been my go-to hot sauce for years, though I do continuously play around with different hot sauces, and you should feel free to use whatever chili sauce you have on hand.

You can use any leftover cooked chicken you have, as long as it’s simply seasoned.  You can definitely use a rotisseries chicken, or to easily make super tender chicken for shredding, click here.

A collection of amazing Asian flavors come together in this salad. Crunchy vegetables stand up to the tender chicken and a spicy peanut dressing.

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Vegetarian Asian Salad

The crunchy vegetables stand up to the tender chicken and creamy rich peanutty dressing in such a nice way. You could make a vegetarian version simply by skipping the chicken, or perhaps adding some cubes of sautéed tofu. The amount of ginger and garlic and hot sauce can be dialed up or down to achieve whatever level of flavor intensity you like.

Indonesian Chicken Salad

This Indonesian-style chicken salad would be a great addition to a picnic menu, a potluck gathering, or a lunch buffet.  If you thought chicken salad was boring….well, this recipe should make you reconsider.

Other Non-Boring Chicken Salad Recipes:

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Indonesian Chicken Salad

This is the salad for people who might not think a main-course salad is really a thing. (And if you’ve ever ordered Chinese Chicken Salad on a menu, this is for you.)
Yield: 6 People
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 0 minutes
Total Time 20 minutes


For the Spicy Peanut Dressing

  • ½ cup creamy peanut butter preferably natural
  • ¼ cup rice vinegar
  • 1 clove garlic finely minced
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce low-sodium or tamari (which is gluten-free)
  • 2 tablespoons lime juice
  • 2 teaspoons finely minced fresh ginger
  • 1 teaspoon Sriracha or other hot sauce
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

For the Salad

  • 4 cups thinly sliced green cabbage preferably Napa
  • 4 cups thinly sliced romaine (iceberg is another possibility
  • 2 carrots peeled and grated
  • 1 red yellow or orange bell pepper or a combo of half of two different colored peppers, cored, seeded and very thinly slivered
  • 4 cups shredded cooked chicken
  • 4 scallions trimmed and sliced (white and green parts)
  • ½ cup crushed roasted peanuts
  • ¼ cup fresh cilantro leaves optional
  • Lime wedges to serve


  • Make the Dressing: In a food processor combine the peanut butter, rice vinegar, garlic, soy sauce, lime juice, ginger, Sriracha and salt and pepper – you can also which this all together in a bow of you prefer.
  • Make the Salad: In a large bowl combine the lettuce, cabbage, carrots, bell pepper and chicken. Pour oven the dressing and toss to combine. Pile into a shallow serving bow and top with the scallions, peanuts and cilantro leaves. Serve with the lime wedges.

Nutrition Information

Calories: 391.48kcal | Carbohydrates: 13.81g | Protein: 34.38g | Fat: 23.33g | Saturated Fat: 4.92g | Cholesterol: 70mg | Sodium: 598.11mg | Potassium: 787.38mg | Fiber: 4.88g | Sugar: 5.28g | Vitamin A: 7071.13IU | Vitamin C: 45.3mg | Calcium: 94.44mg | Iron: 2.68mg

The nutrition values are provided as an estimate. It is not intended as a substitute for the advice of a qualified healthcare professional.

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  1. Hi Katie- We met at Dana Cowan’s birthday party many years ago and chatted about my former life as a food editor and your current career. I’ve made many versions of this salad over the years—-with noodles, with chicken, without chicken and this is the best! Because I’m always the one to ask for “extra dressing please,” I added 2 T. vegetable oil to make the dressing stretcn and feel more silky and it was perfect. We are big fans of the Mom 100—I’ve bought it for all my adult kids with kids —- but I’m happy to say that your recipes are just as great for foodie grandmas and grandpas either when the kids come or when we’re on our own!

    1. Hi Freddi. So nice to hear from you! And I’m thrilled that this salad is a winner – I love it, too. Thanks for passing The Mom 100 to your whole family!

  2. The Indonesian Chicken Salad sounds wonderful. Soy sauce is not gluten free, though. Tamari sauce is the replacement for soy.

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