Grilled Ginger-Sesame Chopped Chicken Salad

Grilled Ginger-Sesame Chicken Salad

There is a favorite family salad on this site called Sumi Salad. The recipe has been around long enough that it is starting to fall into the realm of “vintage” recipes. I think that I got the recipe from my sister in-law, Anne (with an ‘e’), well over 20 years ago and the salad has been dearly beloved (and craved) around my house through all that time. When I saw a recipe for Grilled Ginger-Sesame Chicken Salad recently, my first thought was, “Hey! That’s Sumi Salad on steroids!”ย 

Grilled Ginger-Sesame Chicken Salad

Food evolution is the new technology. It practically needs its own I.T. department to keep up with the trends and new flavors and cooking methods. Following along this line of thought, I think that it is funny that technology, itself, is all about packing more and more into less and less space. However, with food technology as a recipe evolve, so does the space required for its ingredients.

For instance, I think of my spice drawer from when I first got married (33 years and counting). It was pretty basic and included 12-15 herbs and spices, two of which were salt and pepper. Now, however, I find that I have herbs and spices and salts and peppers representing most of the world’s cultures.

Letโ€™s take salt for example. In addition to regular, standard iodized table salt, I have sea salt, pink Himalayan salt, smoked salt (hickory and alderwood), Kosher salt, fluer de sal, grey sea salt, red Hawaiian sea salt, black Hawaiian sea salt and truffle salt. Plus I have numerous salts blended with various herbs and spices.

Grilled Ginger-Sesame Chicken Salad

Just in case you are wondering which of the salts is my favorite, it is the pink Himalayan salt. And yes, I understand that chemically speaking, salt is salt. However, there are various flavor nuances with the different salts which makes each of them unique.

I love that the internet has helped us become so multi-cultural and I love that the most prevalent methods for expressing our diversity is through food. I crave Indian food made with ghee, enjoy za’tar with Jerusalem bagels, will pretty much devour Mexican or Italian anything, and I still long for the shwarmas and Arab-style rice that I had when I used to live in Saudi Arabia.

Grilled Ginger-Sesame Chicken Salad

I am a huge genealogy/family history buff and love, love, love finding my ancestors…and lots of other people’s ancestors as well. Because of that love, I am drawn to vintage recipes in their unspoiled simplicity. I have a few vintage recipes on my site. As a matter of fact, I began this blog with my great grandmother’s recipe for Sour Cream Pound Cake which she used to bake in a wood burning stove. See the end of this post for other vintage recipes on this site.

While I appreciate recipes from the past, I also happily embrace much of today’s recipe revolution. However, the structure of many of today’s recipes are based on recipes from the past. Yesterday’s Sumi Salad is today’s Grilled Ginger-Sesame Chicken Salad.

Grilled Ginger-Sesame Chicken Salad


Grilled Ginger-Sesame Chicken Salad

Prep Time: 1 hour, 10 minutes

Cook Time: 30 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour, 50 minutes

Yield: 6 salads

Fresh ginger, hoisin, soy sauce, and sesame oil, this salad is brimming with the rich, distinctive flavors of Asian cuisine. Manage the heat with the amount of Sriracha added to the dressing.


    Marinade and dressing:
  • 1/4 cup reduced-sodium soy sauce
  • 1/4 cup very finely peeled, chopped fresh ginger
  • 1/3 cup canola oil
  • 3 tablespoons hoisin sauce (see suggested substitution in notes)
  • 2 tablespoons toasted sesame oil
  • 2-3 teaspoons sriracha, per heat preference
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 pound boneless, skinless chicken-breast halves
  • 1/3 cup rice vinegar
  • 1/3 cup minced green onions (white and green parts)
  • Salad:
  • 1 head savoy cabbage, halved lengthwise, thinly sliced crosswise
  • 3 carrots, shredded or cut into matchstick-size strips
  • 4 green onions (white and green parts), thinly sliced on a sharp diagonal
  • 1 cup lightly packed fresh cilantro leaves
  • 3/4 cup slivered almonds, toasted See notes.
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons white sesame seeds, toasted See notes.
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons black sesame seeds (optional)


  1. In a medium bowl, whisk soy sauce, ginger, canola oil, hoisin sauce, sesame oil, sriracha, and salt to blend.
  2. Place chicken breasts in a zip-style plastic bag. Add 1/3 cup marinade to the bag, gently express the air out of the bag and seal closed. Place bag with chicken in the refrigerator. Marinate chicken for at least 1 hour, turning bag over after 30 minutes.
  3. Dressing:
  4. To the remaining marinade, whisk in the vinegar and green onions. Set aside.
  5. Chicken:
  6. Remove chicken from marinade and cook in a grill pan over medium high heat, about 4-5 minutes per side or until thickest part of chicken is no longer pink. Place cooked chicken on a cutting board and loosely cover chicken with foil. Let rest 15 minutes.
  7. Cut chicken crosswise into 1/4-inch-thick slices or cube as desired..
  8. Salad:
  9. In a large bowl, toss together the chicken, cabbage, carrots, green onions, cilantro, and half of the almonds. Lightly coat salad with some of the dressing.
  10. Mound salad in center of 6 plates. Re-whisk dressing and drizzle a little over salad. Sprinkle with the remaining almonds and the sesame seeds. Pass remaining salad dressing, if any.


To toast almonds: Preheat oven to 350-degrees F. In a shallow baking pan or dish, place almonds in a single layer. Cook for 10-15 minutes until light golden brown, shaking pan after 7 minutes. Remove almonds from pan and put into a room temperature bowl or plate to stop the cooking process.

To toast sesame seeds: Preheat oven to 350-degress F. In a small, shallow baking pan, place sesame seeds in a single layer. Bake for about 5 minutes or until sesame seeds just begin to turn a very light golden brown. Do not over-cook. Remove pan from oven and pour seeds into a small, room temperature bowl to stop the cooking process.

Substitution for hoisin: In place of the hoisin, add an additional 2 tablespoons low salt soy sauce, 1/2-1 teaspoon sugar, and 1 teaspoon of minced garlic.

Recipe adapted from Redbook Magazine

Vintage Recipes on this Site:




  1. Carol says

    I too have made a slightly different version of your “Sumi Salad” for years-it’s always a hit here. I’m lovin’ the looks of this twist on it-what a great one dish meal for a hot summer night.

    Terri-you’re not the only one with the expanding spice drawer. I too started with the basic cooking and baking spices that fit in a TINY cabinet………now? One shelf for baking spices (in a cabinet that holds ONLY ingredients for baking) and 2 shelves in another cabinet for spices, seasonings and rubs for cooking. I’d say our tastes have DEFINITELY expanded! It started for me watching Food Network and reading blogs………I’d inevitably need a certain spice to make a recipe so my collection just kept growing!

    Aren’t vintage recipes fun? There’s nothing like the classics-they NEVER go out of style.

    Can’t wait to try this chicken salad-it looks and sounds delicious. ๐Ÿ™‚

    • says

      Carol, your spice cabinets/shelves sound like they take up as much room as do mine. Ditto on the baking cabinet, too!

      Although there are some herbs and spices that I only use occasionally, I am not willing to part with any of them. Each item is unique and has earned a place in the collection.

  2. Cordelia Roberts says

    Hi Terri,
    Love reading your blogs. Even though I don’t always make the recipes, I enjoy reading about them and getting ideas. My reminder from this blog is to use more ginger in my life. Ginger is one of my favorite spices and I forget to use it. Along with dark chocolate (70-85%), my favorite candy is from the Ginger People ( “Ginger Chews” found at health food stores and (best price) Trader Joe’s. It is simply cane sugar and ginger with tapioca starch to keep the candy from sticking to the wrapper.
    The Trader also has other wonderful ginger products including triple ginger cookies which are a family favorite. We have to stock up when we visit family since Northern Wyoming has great scenery and wildlife but not a lot of gourmet/spice stores.
    I also miss the shwarmas and Arab-style rice of our years of living in Taif, S.A. Do you have any good recipes for Souq Rice, as we called it? I know I am a hoarder/pack rat, but I can’t bear to throw away the spices we brought back from the Middle East. I am not sure if is the beautiful Arab writing on the jars and packages or just the memories……..

    • says

      I agree with you about the ginger chews from Trader Joe’s; we think they are great!

      As for an Arab rice recipe, I have been looking for quite a while to find one that seems “right”. I’ve finally located a store in the Salt Lake area that has the spice blend I need, so I’m pretty excited about that prospect. The right spices are 99% of the battle in developing a good recipe. There was a particular kind of rice that was always served at the “goat grabs” where I lived and I remember that it had pine nuts and raisins in it. I LOVED that stuff. There was a street vendor in Al Khobar that sold shwarmas and they were absolutely amazing. Even after all these years I still remember all of those great flavors.

      • Cordelia Roberts says

        Terri, Thanks for the reply.
        My husband is going to do photography for a Body Paint in SLC in a couple of weeks. Would you mind sharing the store and the spice blend for the Souq Rice so that he could pick some up. I also remember the pine nuts and the sultanas (golden raisins) along with cardamom pods being in the yellow rice. Did it have butter/ ghee also? It was so flavorful!
        Thanks Again!

        • says

          Hi Cordelia. The name of the market is Shahrazad Market & Restaurant. They have two locations in the Salt Lake valley area: 1615 West 2100 South, Salt Lake City, Utah and 239 West 9000 South, Sandy, Utah. I don’t know if you are familiar with the way Utah names it streets, but they are named on a grid system and the addresses are a set of coordinates based on an intersection in the center of town. For the Salt Lake valley, 0 0 is at Temple Square. There is one thing for certain, Brigham Young was very forward thinking–he developed GPS over 150 years before anyone else. lol Anyway, this was probably way more information than you wanted.

          As for the name of the spice, it is commonly referred to as Arab 7-Spice. There are a number of recipes for it on the internet now and generally, the recipes use common spices which are probably sitting in your cupboard right now. I have been gathering information lately and will be trying out a few recipes to post here sometime towards the end of August. Some of the recipes for Arab rice contain dried whole limes or dried whole lime powder. I have never used them in my cooking, so I don’t know what they taste like. One more thing to check out at Sharhazad. I know that they can be ordered on-line, but are a bit pricey. Anyway, I suspect that the rice I used to get did not have dried limes, but I’ll have to experiment with flavors.

          Thanks for reminding me that the raisins in the rice were golden raisins. I don’t know why that little piece of information had escaped my mind. Did you eat the rice with your hands? At the Arab meals I attended, we ate everything with our hands from a huge common platter. We’d sit on big Arab pillows on the floor and have quite a feast. Such good food!

  3. says

    Oh this looks so yummy! And I have everything but that hoison sauce. I don’t want to buy it because I never use it…maybe I should try that sumi salad instead! Your recipes all look so yummy~~

    • says

      Hi Gina. Just make this salad and leave out the hoisin sauce. In place of the hoisin, add an additional 2 tablespoons low salt soy sauce, 1/2-1 teaspoon sugar, and 1 teaspoon of minced garlic. I’m going to make that note in the recipe because I am sure that there are others who may not want to have a bottle of hoisin hanging out in their fridge with no other way to use it. ๐Ÿ™‚ ~Terri

  4. says

    I love this marinade and dressing already from the ingredients. I eat a lot of salads… this Asian spin look like a winner. ๐Ÿ™‚

  5. Dalila G. says

    Salads are always a hit in my home, hubby loves them. ๐Ÿ™‚
    This one has me hooked with the ginger, tasty!
    I really like your ‘vintage’ recipes, especially the Fried Green Tomatoes.
    I plan on checking some out and making them as soon as I’m able to.
    Thanks Terri!

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