The other day, my friends and I were talking about heading over to our favorite Thai restaurant in town for dinner. Sure enough, the restaurant is closed on the day we wanted to go. But, since I was already drooling over the thought of peanut sauce and spicy chicken dishes, I decided to walk over to the local Asian market and buy a bunch of ingredients that are used in Thai and other Asian cuisines. This includes two of my favorite flavors in Thai cooking: fish sauce and Thai basil leaves.
So about this recipe. I decided to make an Asian inspired marinade for my grilled chicken. Why grilled chicken? Because I’ve been on a grilling kick since the weather has been so awesome. Why Asian inspired? See my comments above about drooling + awesome Asian ingredients. I took this chicken, topped it off with a simple peanut dressing, and served it all over a bed of fresh greens. And that’s how I came up with light and healthy, Asian inspired chicken salad!
A note on fish sauce. When you buy it from the grocery store, it’ll most likely come in a sized bottle that’s way more than you need for this dish. I actually found a really small bottle (2 oz), but I didn’t even come close to using all of it in this recipe!
Also, remember I mentioned that I bought Thai basil leaves? I actually don’t use them here. But stay tuned – I’ll give you a recipe where you can use some of that fish sauce that’s left over as well as those gorgeous basil leaves soon! Don’t throw the fish sauce out, I promise you’re going to love the next recipe on here that calls for fish sauce, and the next, and so on, and so forth. Fish sauce is great.
Feel free to use this entire recipe the way it is, or use parts of it. The chicken is flavorful enough to have on its own with a side of steamed veggies, so don’t feel obligated to put it over salad. Use the dressing as a dipping sauce if you want. This is basically a 2 for 1 recipe, so don’t be shy and mix and match however you’d like!
- 1/3 cup fresh basil leaves
- 1/3 cup fresh mint leaves
- 1/3 cup cilantro
- 3 tablespoons peeled fresh ginger, diced
- 4 garlic cloves
- 1 1/2 tablespoons soy sauce
- 1 1/2 tablespoons fish sauce
- 1 1/2 tablespoons canola oil
- 1 1/2 tablespoons (packed) dark brown sugar
- 1 Serrano chili, stemmed, chopped
- 6 skinless boneless chicken breast halves (about 2 1/2 pounds total)
- 2-3 cups mixed greens
- ½ cucumber, shredded
- 2 carrots, shredded
- ½ bell pepper, sliced thinly
- ½ cup all natural peanut butter (crunchy or smooth, both work!)
- ¼ cup hoisin sauce
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 1 tablespoon honey
- 1 tablespoon Sriracha
- Add everything in a food processor and chop until smooth and well blended (about 3-4 minutes).
- Cover the chicken in the marinade, and let it marinate in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour (I did it overnight).
- When ready to eat, throw chicken on the grill at about 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Cook 5 minutes on each side.
- Take the chicken off the heat. Let it rest for 5 minutes before cutting it up.
- Whisk all ingredients in a bowl until well combined and smooth
- I would recommend using a micro pane to mince the garlic, so that you don’t get large pieces in your dressing.
- Toss all ingredients together for the salad!
- For the basil in the chicken, I didn’t try this with Thai basil, but if you feel like experimenting, try it and let me know how it goes!