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.
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.
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.
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.Tweet This
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.
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:
- Chicken Sate Salad
- Smoky Chipotle Chicken Salad
- Chicken Caesar Pasta Salad
- Chopped Salad with Chicken, Tomatoes and Lemon Thyme Dressing
- Pasta Salad with Chicken and Chipotle Dressing
- Pasta Salad with Chicken, Green Olives, and Ramp Vinaigrette
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Indonesian Chicken Salad
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.
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