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Citrus, herbs, and chiles embolden a chicken salad from Sydney

Southeast Asian Chicken Salad with Cashews and Coconut

Appears in July-August 2019

25 minutes

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Southeast Asian Chicken Salad with Cashews and Coconut

At Chin Chin restaurant in Sydney, Australia, we were particularly taken by a complexly textured and highly aromatic chicken salad made with lemon grass, coconut and fistfuls of fresh Southeast Asian herbs. This is our easy-to-make spin on the dish, and if you use store-bought rotisserie chicken, it can be on the table in minutes. If you prefer to cook your own chicken, in a medium saucepan combine 1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts with 1 quart low-sodium chicken broth and 1 teaspoon kosher salt. Bring to a simmer over medium-high, then cover, reduce to low and cook, adjusting the heat as needed to maintain a bare simmer, until the thickest part of the breasts reach 160°F, 15 to 20 minutes. Let the chicken cool in the liquid until just warm to the touch, then remove and shred the meat. If you'd rather skip the fish sauce, an equal amount of low-sodium soy sauce is a reasonable substitute. The salad can be served as a side dish, or as a main with steamed jasmine rice on the side.

6 to 8



Don't use shallots that are past their prime—they should be firm and crisp, not soft and spongy. If none are available, use ½ small red onion, thinly sliced. Don't chop the herbs. Left in larger pieces, they have more presence in the salad, both visually and flavor-wise. And don't add the herbs until you are ready to serve, in order to keep them as bright and fresh as possible.

25 minutes


  • cup unsweetened wide-flake coconut

  • 2

    Fresno or jalapeño chilies, stemmed, seeded and thinly sliced


  1. 01
    In a small skillet over medium, toast the coconut, stirring frequently, until light golden brown, 2 to 3 minutes. Transfer to a small bowl and set aside.

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