This shredded chicken salad recipe with cucumber, carrot, daikon, and sesame chilli oil makes a deliciously light yet filling salad that’s perfect for a casual lunch or dinner. Created to use leftovers of a carrot and daikon slaw, we added shredded poached chicken, crunchy diced cucumbers, sesame chilli oil dressing, and a sprinkle of sesame seeds and fresh coriander.
If you’ve been enjoying our shredded chicken salad recipes, from our Vietnamese chicken salad recipe to our Lao shredded chicken salad recipe, and you especially enjoyed our bang bang chicken salad recipe, then I know you’re going to love this salad, too.
Inspired by the classic Sichuan bang bang chicken dish of cold succulent chicken swimming in a sesame sauce made with delightfully hot and numbing Sichuanese chilli oil, our bang bang chicken salad recipe quickly became one of our most popular chicken breast recipes, which are the most searched-for chicken recipes on our site, and that recipe inspired this recipe.
Like so many of our original dishes, this shredded chicken salad recipe was the result of an experiment with leftovers. We had a little Sichuan sesame sauce left over from a bang bang chicken salad we’d had for dinner the previous night, plus loads of grated carrot and daikon from the char siu pork burger recipe with Asian slaw we’d just photographed and published.
We had shredded poached chicken breasts in the fridge, plenty of crunchy cucumbers, and sprigs of fresh coriander I’d picked from our balcony herb garden that I didn’t want to go to waste. I threw it all in a bowl, added Thai chilli oil to what was left of the sesame sauce, drizzled that over the lot, dished it up, and sprinkled on some sesame seeds. It was so good.
After a few minor tweaks, it was perfect, and I had to share it with you. I’ll also file it in this collection of our best poached chicken breast recipes and a compilation of our best shredded chicken salad recipes that I’ll pull together over the weekend, as we appear to have published quite a few here now.
Before I tell you more about this shredded chicken salad recipe with cucumber, carrot, daikon, and sesame chilli oil, I have a favour to ask. Grantourismo is reader-funded. If you’ve cooked our recipes and enjoyed them, please consider supporting Grantourismo by supporting our epic Cambodian cuisine history and cookbook on Patreon, which you can do for as little as the price of a coffee. Or you could buy us a coffee and we’ll use our coffee money to buy cooking ingredients for recipe testing.
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Shredded Chicken Salad Recipe with Cucumber, Carrot, Daikon and Sesame Chilli Oil
As with so many of our original recipes for salads, noodles and soups that we’ve shared this year, this shredded chicken salad recipe features pulled poached chicken breast meat. We used to cook more with thighs, as brown chicken meat is undeniably more delicious than white chicken meat.
We’re both suffering from Long Covid, albeit in different ways, and while we’ve always had a balanced diet and eaten healthy food, we realised we needed to make some changes to battle the effects of Long Covid and improve our health.
Terence, who is much more disciplined than I am, has been far better than I have at making changes, embarking on a fitness regime that includes two daily work-outs and embarking on a carb-free high protein diet. I can’t give up my rice, noodles, dumplings and potatoes yet, although I have reduced my intake and am eating more protein, chicken breast meat in particular.
While chicken thighs might be more tasty, chicken breasts are healthier – chicken breasts are higher in protein, lower in saturated fats, and higher in good cholesterol – which explains why we are always poaching chicken breasts, and concocting new recipes with chicken breasts.
Just a few tips to making this shredded chicken salad recipe, starting with how to poach chicken breasts that are succulent and flavourful and almost as delicious as chicken thighs.
Tips to Making this Easy Shredded Chicken Salad Recipe with Cucumber, Carrot, Daikon, Sesame and Chilli Oil
I only have a few tips to making this shredded chicken salad recipe with cucumber, carrot, daikon, and sesame chilli oil, beginning with tips to poaching chicken breasts that are moist, tender and tasty. We’ve shared these chicken poaching tips elsewhere, but I’ll summarise them here also for your convenience.
If you’re poaching chicken breasts for this recipe, poach twice as much as needed, as they keep in the fridge for a few days and you can use shredded chicken breast meat for everything from chicken salads such as this one to chicken rice porridges and rice soups to pulled chicken tacos and sandwiches.
This shredded chicken salad recipe calls for ginger and lemongrass to go in the poaching liquid, however, you can really add whatever aromatics you like. For instance, for even stronger Southeast Asian flavours, add kaffir lime leaves or star anise. (For European dishes, add a shallot, celery, garlic cloves, and/or bay leaves.)
Lay the raw chicken breasts in a pot large enough so that they’re lying flat on the bottom and pour in enough room temperature water so that the chicken breasts are completely covered. Add the aromatics. Bring the water to a boil then reduce the heat to a simmer.
Use a fine mesh strainer to skim off any scum and use a digital kitchen meat thermometer to check the internal temperature of the chicken breasts so they don’t over-cook. Poke it into the thickest parts of the breasts and when it reaches 74°C/ 165˚F remove the chicken breasts and set them aside to cool.
After removing the chicken breasts, I’ll boil the liquid for ten minutes, when I might even add more spices or herbs, then I’ll let it cool a little before using the strainer again to strain that liquid.
Pour it into a large glass jar if you’re planning to use it within a few days, or into plastic ziploc bags to freeze it. I’ve used that chicken stock as a basis for so many recipes for soups, rice soups and rice porridges we’ve shared with you here.
When you can touch the chicken breasts, use two forks (or your fingers) to pull the chicken meat apart – which explains why shredded chicken is also called pulled chicken – and if you’re not going to make the salad immediately, refrigerate it in a sealed container until you’re ready.
This was a dish invented from leftovers, so we had a little leftover bang bang chicken salad sesame sauce, made with Chinese sesame paste, Sichuan peppers and this homemade chilli oil, which I combined with a Thai chilli oil to create a lighter albeit still spicy sesame-based sauce, adding black and white sesame seeds to add texture.
I’ve provided the ingredients and instructions for making a batch of that bang bang chicken salad sesame sauce, even though you only need a little for this salad. That’s a good excuse for you to also make the bang bang chicken salad (link above). Of course, you could also use that sauce for this salad.
I didn’t, as I wanted to create a different dressing. If you don’t have all the ingredients to make the bang bang chicken salad sesame sauce or you’re in a real rush (not that it takes long to make), I’ve also made a super simple dressing just from the Chinese sesame sauce and Thai chilli oil. If you feel it needs a little acid, add lime juice or vinegar.
Lastly, as we’ve noted in other recipes, there appears to be a bit of confusion out there on food blogs as to the difference between Chinese sesame paste and tahini, which seem to get used interchangeably. Yet they taste very different to each other.
Chinese sesame paste is from China (obviously) and tahini is from the Middle East and Mediterranean. While both are produced from sesame seeds, tahini is typically made from hulled seeds, which might be lightly toasted or not toasted at all, while Chinese sesame paste is always made from toasted sesame seeds and is therefore darker and nuttier than tahini.
For the same reason that you wouldn’t make a Middle Eastern hummus with Chinese sesame paste, you wouldn’t use tahini for an Asian-style or Asian-inspired salad, which is what we’ve got here. If you don’t have access to a good supermarket with Asian products or an Asian supermarket, market or specialty food shop, you’ll find Chinese sesame paste online.
Shredded Chicken Salad Recipe with Cucumber, Carrot, Daikon, Sesame and Chilli Oil
- 150 g chicken breasts poached and shredded
- 1 knob ginger peeled and smashed with a pestle
- 2 lemongrass stalks peeled, chopped into thirds and pounded with a pestle
- 2 tbsp Chinese sesame paste
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tsp caster sugar
- 2 tbsp light soy sauce
- 2 tbsp Chinkiang vinegar
- 2 tbsp sesame oil
- ½ tsp ground roasted Sichuan peppercorns
- 4 tbsp Sichuan chilli oil and 2 tbsp sediment from jar
- 2 tbsp Thai chilli oil
- 2 tbsp black and white sesame seeds
- 1 medium-sized daikon peeled and grated
- 1 medium-sized carrot peeled and grated
- 2 medium-sized cucumbers sliced into rounds then quarters
- 1 handful coriander sprigs
- Poach the chicken breasts: place the chicken breasts in a pot large enough so they’re sitting on the bottom of the pot; pour in just enough water to cover the chicken pieces; add the knob of peeled, pounded ginger and lemongrass stalks; bring the water to a boil, then immediately reduce the heat to low, and simmer until when you poke a thermometer into the widest part of the breast the internal temperature reaches 74°C (165°F).
- Remove and when the chicken breasts are cool enough to touch, shred the chicken pieces into chunky strips using two forks or your hands.
- While the chicken is poaching, make the dressing: to a jar with lid, add the two tablespoons of Chinese sesame paste, a teaspoon each of salt and caster sugar, two tablespoons each of light soy sauce, Chinkiang vinegar and sesame oil, half a teaspoon of ground roasted Sichuan peppercorns (or chilli flakes if you can’t source them), four tablespoons of Sichuan chilli oil and two tablespoons of sediment from the jar. Stir vigorously until well combined.
- In another small jar with lid, combine two tablespoons of the dressing you just made (refrigerate the rest in the jar) with two tablespoons of Thai chilli oil and one tablespoon of black and white sesame seeds, and stir vigorously until well combined.
- To a large salad bowl or serving plate, add the shredded chicken, grated daikon and carrot, cucumber quarters, and half the dressing and combine well.
- Just before serving, pour the remaining dressing over the salad, and sprinkle on the remaining sesame seeds and fresh coriander sprigs, and serve immediately.
Please do let us know in the comments below if you make this shredded chicken salad recipe with cucumber, carrot, daikon, and sesame chilli oil as we’d love to hear how it turned out for you.