• Yield: Serves 4 to 6

An intriguing mixture of flavors characterizes this complex salad, with sweet, sour, pungent, and fruity blending in a sauce that shows its Chinese origins with soy sauce, plum sauce, and sesame oil. It makes a light but satisfying summer meal or an exotic addition to the buffet table.



  • 2 tablespoons peanut oil

  • 2 shallots, minced

  • 4 large cloves garlic, minced

  • 1 tablespoon finely minced ginger root

  • 2 to 3 small, fresh, hot, red chiles, seeded and minced; or 1 to 2 teaspoons crushed dried hot pepper

  • 6 tablespoons Chinese plum sauce

  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce

  • 1 tablespoon fresh lime juice

  • 1 tablespoon rice vinegar

  • 1 teaspoon sugar

  • 2 teaspoons Asian sesame oil

  • 2 cups shredded cooked chicken

  • 2 cups shredded napa cabbage

  • 3 to 4 scallions, sliced on the diagonal into 1-inch pieces

  • Small lettuce leaves or torn greens

  • Slices of cucumber, carrot, and daikon, for garnish

  • 2 to 3 tablespoons finely chopped peanuts, for garnish


1. Heat the oil in a small, heavy, nonreactive saucepan and sauté the shallots, garlic, ginger root, and chiles over moderate heat, stirring, until the vegetables wilt and the mixture becomes aromatic.

2. Add the plum sauce, soy sauce, lime juice, vinegar, and sugar. Simmer for a few minutes, stirring, then remove from the heat and stir in the sesame oil.

3. In a bowl, combine the chicken, cabbage, and scallions. Reserve 3 to 4 tablespoons of the sauce, then mix the rest with the chicken.

4. Mound the chicken salad on the lettuce leaves on a serving plate. Surround the salad with the sliced cucumber, carrot, and daikon.

5. Drizzle the remaining sauce over the salad, then sprinkle with the chopped peanuts.