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Marinated Thai Chicken Salad

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Active Time:  30 Minutes
Total Time:  30 Minutes
  Serves 6 with greens
This fiery show stopper combines tender poached chicken breasts (fragrant with lemongrass and star anise) marinated in a Thai-inspired peanut sauce and sprinkled with chopped nuts and fresh herbs. It can be prepared as it is given here and served over a bed of watercress and thinly sliced Napa cabbage, but it’s at its best spooned atop the cold sesame vegetable pasta (recipe follows).
1/2 cup smooth peanut butter
1/2 cup well-stirred canned Thai coconut milk
3 tablespoons soy sauce
3 tablespoons fish sauce
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
2 tablespoons dark Asian sesame oil
5 teaspoons sugar
4 teaspoons finely chopped fresh ginger, plus 6 1/8-inch slices of fresh ginger
3 garlic cloves, peeled, chopped
1 large fresh serrano chile, or 1 small jalapeno, stemmed, chopped
4 whole skinless, boneless chicken breasts, about 4 pounds total, trimmed
4 stalks lemongrass, chopped
3 whole star anise
About 1 cup cilantro leaves
About 1/2 cup mint leaves
2 bunches watercress, tough stems trimmed
5 cups thinly sliced napa cabbage
1/2 cup coarsely chopped roasted peanuts
Other necessary recipes:
Cold Sesame Vegetable Pasta
FOR DRESSING: Blend first 10 ingredients in food processor until smooth, scraping down sides occasionally. Sauce can be made up to 1 day ahead. Cover tightly and refrigerate. Return to room temperature before using.

FOR CHICKEN: Arrange chicken in single layer in large deep skillet. Add enough cold water to cover chicken. Add lemongrass, ginger slices, star anise and 1 teaspoon salt. Gently simmer over medium heat until chicken is cooked through, turning breasts once, about 10 minutes. Remove skillet from heat and cool chicken in poaching liquid to room temperature. Drain chicken; pat dry. Cut breasts lengthwise into thin slices. Cut slices in half lengthwise.

TO TRANSPORT: Combine chicken with peanut sauce, using it all. Transfer to storage container with a tight-fitting lid. Pack the peanuts in a small plastic bag; in a separate plastic bag pack cilantro and mint. Pack sesame pasta components as directed below. Or, if you are serving chicken with greens, pack watercress and Napa cabbage separately in plastic bags.

TO GARNISH AND SERVE: If serving sesame pasta, assemble and dress it as directed in recipe. Spoon marinated chicken over pasta. Finely chop cilantro and mint. Scatter cilantro and mint over chicken and scatter peanuts over all. Or, if using greens, line a platter with watercress and cabbage. Spoon marinated chicken over greens. Finely chop cilantro and mint and sprinkle them over chicken. Sprinkle peanuts over all and serve.

Recipe created exclusively for by Michael McLaughlin.

Recipe reprinted by permission of . All rights reserved.
Date Added: 01/01/2008
Nutrition Facts per Serving
Yield:   Serves 6 with greens
Calories: 502
Fat. Total: 27g
Fiber: 5g
Carbohydrates, Total: 19g
Sodium: 1279mg
% Cal. from Fat: 48%
Cholesterol: 91mg
Protein: 47g
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