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Hawaiian Chicken Salad

A sweet and spicy chicken salad from Hawaii that is simple to prepare. The garden veggies and other ingredients from Asia and the Pacific make the flavors pop.
Prep Time 30 mins
Course Main Course, Salad, Side Dish
Cuisine American Pacific Rim, Central Asian Cuisine, Hawaiian


  • small bowl
  • large bowl
  • small dish
  • long-handled spoon, wooden or bamboo, for mixing & tossing
  • cutting board
  • sharp knife



  • ¼ cup rice vinegar
  • 2 tbsp fish sauce Vietnamese
  • 2-3¼ cloves garlic minced
  • 1 tsp ichimi togarashi (Japanese red chile flakes) OR 1 small red chile pepper, finely chopped
  • tbsp organic sugar
  • cup cilantro and/or fresh mint (optional) to be rinsed, removed from stems, and chopped


  • 4 cups cabbage (Approx. 14-16 ounces or ½ of a small head)
  • 4 cups cooked chicken (Approx. 16 ounces)
  • ½ cup carrot (Approx. 2 ounces or 1 small carrot) -- to be cut into matchsticks
  • ½ cup daikon (optional) (Approx. 2 ounces or 2 inch section) -- to be sliced thin
  • ½ cup red onion (Approx. 5 ounces) -- to be sliced thin



  • Into a small bowl, combine the rice vinegar, fish sauce, minced garlic, red chile, and sugar.
  • Rinse the herbs: cilantro and/or fresh mint (if using). Remove the stems and chop. Take ⅔ of the herbs and combine with the other dressing ingredients in the small bowl.
  • Set the remaining ⅓ of chopped herbs aside AND the small bowl with the dressing while you prepare the salad.


  • Into a large bowl, shred both the cabbage and the cooked chicken.
  • Using a cutting board, slice the carrot, daikon, and red onion as described in the instructions. Add these to the large bowl with the cabbage and chicken and combine.
  • Pour the dressing over the salad and toss. Let stand for 10 minutes.
  • Garnish the salad with the remaining ⅓ of chopped herbs and serve.


Once again, feel free to use dark meat for this recipe if that's your preference.
I've specified using breast meat only because:
  1. It is the portion I've used most often to prepare Hawaiian Chicken Salad (since, as I shared earlier in this article, the other parts of the chicken have already DISAPPEARED!) Also:
  2. It's an economical choice if you sourcing your leftovers from a typical ready-made rotisserie chicken from the supermarket. The breast/white meat of the smallest of these birds -- just under 3 lbs. -- weighs close to the one pound you need for this recipe. 
The brands/products I use are:
Try it:
  • Swapping out the sugar for 1/4 cup of finely chopped organic candied ginger. Refreshing!
  • Adding even more texture (and sweetness) to your salad with mango or pineapple chunks.
Keyword picnic food, small group, sweet & spicy