Asian-inspired Spicy Chicken Salad with a tasty mix of fresh crunchy vegetables all tossed together with a hot chilli garlic salad dressing; flavours to wake the taste buds for sure.
Why I Love Spicy Chicken Salad
This is a super easy Asian salad recipe to prepare. The basis is like a coleslaw with shredded cabbage but not drenched in cream or mayo.
If you like dairy free coleslaw recipes, check out our Wombok, Red Cabbage and Apple Coleslaw.
Spicy Chicken Salad is full of crunch and mouth watering flavours. Hot, zingy and super fresh; using juicy shredded poached chicken breast mixed with crunchy cabbage, carrot and cucumber. All tossed with a flavoursome chilli garlic salad dressing.
With all ingredients you can find easily, this is a great chicken coleslaw recipe to entertain the crowds or whip up any weekday if you feel you want to spice things up.
Favourite Asian Salad Recipes
I am a big fan of Asian salad recipes. Of course, growing up in a Vietnamese Chinese family, we were spoilt with many delicious Southeast asian salads.
My favourite Asian salad recipes all have similar characteristics. I love the freshness of the herbs and citrus flavours combined with crisp textures plus the spicy chillies and quintessential pungent fish sauce dressings.
The perfect balance of sweet, sour, hot and savoury flavours just makes Asian salad recipes so tasty.
For this Spicy Chicken Salad, I have taken inspiration from both my Vietnamese and Chinese heritage.
The main salad ingredients are very similar to a Vietnamese chicken coleslaw recipe, but Northern Chinese flavours inspire my chilli garlic salad dressing. Combined, not too shabby, I must say!
How to Poach Chicken Breast
For most of my stir-fry dishes, curries, etc., I usually use chicken thighs. I seldom use chicken breast because I tend to overcook it, and the chicken pieces become too dry. Chicken breast is often regarded as “diet food” as it is a very lean protein.
One method I have learnt that can keep the chicken breast juicy and tender is to poach it gently. The process is not complicated but takes a little patience to avoid overcooking.
Having tender poached chicken breast fillets is essential in any good chicken salad.
Most methods of poaching will instruct you to continue simmering the chicken breast until fully cooked.
I prefer to turn off the heat just before the chicken breast is fully cooked and rest the chicken breast in hot water so that it will continue to cook but not overcook the meat. This will take a little longer, but I know it works!
How to Make Spicy Chicken Salad
How to Poach Chicken Breast
Place chicken breast fillets in a large saucepan. Cover the chicken breast with water. Place the saucepan on the stove and bring to a boil.
Once boiled, reduce heat to a simmer and cook for another 5-6 minutes. Then turn off the heat, place the lid on the saucepan and let chicken breast rest in hot water to continue cooking.
After 5 minutes, check if the chicken breast is fully cooked. The meat should be opaque and not pink. If not, rest a little longer in the hot water.
Remove cooked chicken breast and run it under cold water or place in an ice bath to stop it from further cooking.
Once cooled, shred chicken breast into fine strands. Set aside for assembly.
How to Prepare the Salad
Peel the cucumber and trim the ends. Cut the cucumber in half lengthwise and then again, so you have 4 long quarters.
If you have a cucumber that has a lot of seeds, I would trim some of it off because you don’t want the salad to be too wet. Then thinly slice into matchstick-like sticks.
Using a sharp knife, make a diagonal cut and trim the stem of cabbage to remove it. Then place cabbage cut side down and thinly slice the cabbage leaves. Set aside for mixing.
I usually shred carrots with my julienne peeler. Peel the carrots first, then lay carrot on chopping and start shredding with a julienne peeler. If you don’t have one, cut the carrot into thin matchsticks or use a mandoline to shred.
Wash and finely slice 2 sprigs of spring onion.
Wash and roughly chop the coriander.
How to Make the Chilli Garlic Salad Dressing
My kids love Lao Gan Ma chilli oil so I am not afraid to dial the spice up. You’ll be able to find this chilli oil in a jar in any Asian grocery store.
This chilli garlic salad dressing adds a good punch of heat with loads of delicious tangy flavour.
Peel and finely crush the garlic clove.
In a small bowl add black vinegar, soy sauce, sugar and sesame oil. Mix well together until sugar dissolves.
Taste the dressing to make sure the balance between sweet, sour and salt is right for your palette. Adjust as required.
Add chilli oil to dressing and mix well. Depending on how much spice you like, you can also adjust the level.
How to Assemble the Salad
In a mixing bowl, add shredded poached chicken, cabbage, cucumber and carrot together.
Mix together with chilli garlic salad dressing. Make sure all poached chicken and vegetables are fully coated with dressing.
Scatter with chopped spring onion and coriander and toss together.
Tumble into a large serving bowl and scatter sesame seeds to finish.
We first had this cold salad by itself for lunch but can be served together with some cold noodles.
I also prepared it for a last-minute potluck dinner with friends on the weekend. It was simple and no fuss.
I even dressed it before taking it over. I was able to grab all the fresh ingredients at my local supermarket, including the Lao Gan Ma chilli oil.
This Asian inspired Spicy Chicken Salad has bold flavours that will satisfy any chilli lover. These are flavours to wake the taste buds for sure.
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Spicy Chicken Salad
- 2 chicken breast, skinless
- 1 cucumber, continental
- 2 cups cabbage, shredded
- 2 carrot
- 2 sprigs spring onion
- ½ cup coriander
- 2 tbsp sesame seeds
Click on the toggle below for conversion to US Cooking Units.
- Place chicken breast fillets in a large saucepan. Cover the chicken breasts with water.
- Place the saucepan on the stove and bring to a boil.
- Once boiled, reduce heat to a simmer and cook for another 5-6 minutes.
- Turn off heat, place the lid on the saucepan and let chicken breasts rest in the hot water to continue cooking.
- After 5 minutes, check if the chicken breasts are fully cooked. The meat should be opaque. If not, rest a little longer in the hot water.
- Once cooked through, remove chicken breasts and run it under cold water or place in an ice bath to stop it from further cooking. Shred once cooled down.
- Peel the cucumber and trim the ends. Cut the cucumber in half lengthwise and then again, so you have 4 long quarters. Deseed and thinly slice cucumber into matchstick-size pieces.
- Make a diagonal cut and trim the stem of cabbage to remove it. Then place cabbage cut side down and thinly slice the cabbage leaves. Set aside for mixing.
- Peel and cut the carrot into thin matchsticks or use a mandoline to shred.
- Wash and finely slice 2 sprigs of spring onion.
- Wash and roughly chop the coriander.
- Peel and finely crush the garlic clove.
- In a small bowl add garlic, black vinegar, soy sauce, sugar and sesame oil. Mix well together until sugar dissolves.
- Add chilli oil to dressing and mix well.
- Taste and adjust flavours as required.
- In a mixing bowl, add shredded poached chicken, cabbage, cucumber and carrot together.
- Mix together with dressing.
- Scatter with chopped spring onion and coriander and toss together.
- Tumble into a large serving bowl and scatter sesame seeds to finish.
- You don’t have to use Lao Gan Ma Chili oil. Any Chinese / Sichuan chilli oil would work, especially for those that have a nut allergy. Choose another brand of chilli oil that does not have peanuts.
- For a gluten free recipe, substitute soy sauce for tamari.
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