This non-tradition grilled Cajun chicken salad is not made of salad mix or any kind of leafy mix. Instead, it is a combination of white onion, cilantro or Vietnamese coriander with a hint of fish sauce vinaigrette. Sounds weird, isn't it? But hey, there is a first time of everything so let give this fusion salad a try, you won't be disappointed, I promise.
You might wonder right at this moment, if the dish does not have salad mix in it, how can I called it "a salad" right? Well, technically, it has a mix of other vegetables so it's definitely qualify as a salad. Just not a traditional one. This chicken salad recipe is the famous one in Vietnamese cuisine. However, the chicken normally is boiled rather than grilled. Regardless, this amazing grilled Cajun chicken salad will make a perfect starter for any kind of meal.
I haven't mentioned that this grilled Cajun chicken salad recipe is super easy and fast to make, have I? Because it only includes 4 ingredients, and chances are you've already had 3 out of 4 in your refrigerator.
- Chicken thighs: I love eating dark part of chicken so most of my picks for chicken recipe will be chicken thighs. However, this completely depends on your choice, if you want chicken breast then go for it. Just be aware of cooking time, it takes less time compared to chicken thighs or drumsticks.
- White onion: the star of this easy grilled chicken salad. You need to thinly slice these onion then immediately put them slices into cold water to keep their crunchy texture.
- The secret of slicing in any commercial kitchen is we use the amazing Japanese Benriner mandolin. It is magically sharp, durable, and does the job perfectly compared to other brands. So if you can afford one of these in your home kitchen, then you are on top of the kitchen gadget game my friend.
- Vietnamese coriander (rau răm): if you haven't come by this herb, you won't know what I am talking about. But as I mentioned above, there is a first time for everything. This little herb has a unique taste and smell, you can always find it in any Asian market. It is also super easy to grow. Just put a branch of Vietnamese coriander in a bottle water until its little roots start coming out, then it is good to grow in soil.
- Cilantro: this ingredient needs no introduction, doesn't it? I love cilantro, you love cilantro, everybody loves cilantro. Well, except for the Koreans, all of my Korean friends for some reason, they all hate the amazing cilantro. If you can't find any Vietnamese coriander, you can increase the amount of cilantro in this recipe. Just don't overdo it.
You should know by now that I am nuts about Cajun food and anything related to it. The Cajun sauce I used in this recipe is the same one in this Garlic Cajun Boiling Seafood. I don't want to brag but this recipe is on top of the most trending recipes on my blog for more than 60 days. Besides this, I also has this wonderful grilled semi dry squid recipe that also includes the little herb Vietnamese coriander aforementioned.
If you're looking for another grilled Cajun chicken recipe, this Thunder Bird sandwich is one of them. Layer the chicken with fresh avocado and Emmental cheese, you have a sandwich from heaven.
This salad recipe comes with fish sauce vinaigrette which helps to tone down the bitterness of white onion. However, if you're a fish sauce lover, you might want a dipping sauce on the side and this perfect garlic fish sauce is the one you should use.
What to do with left-over vinaigrette and Cajun sauce?
The recipe is called for big batch of Cajun sauce, any left-over of the sauce can be stored in an air tight container for up to a month. And these Mason jars can help you do the job perfectly. As for the vinaigrette, it can be kept for up to 2 weeks in the same condition.
Grilled Cajun Chicken Salad
- 1 Mason jar to make and store vinaigrette
- 4 chicken thighs pat dry, skin on
- 1 big white onion thinly sliced
- 5 sprigs Vietnamese coriander washed, picked
- 3 sprigs cilantro washed, picked
- garlic chili fish sauce dipping sauce served on the side, recipe below
Fish sauce vinaigrette
- ¼ c sugar
- ¼ c vinegar
- 1 tbsp fish sauce
- ½ tsp olive oil
- 1 dash white pepper
- 1 dash black pepper
- In a heavy bottom medium cooking pot or large cooking pan, melt unsalted butter over medium heat. When butter has melted completely, add the minced garlic and saute for 5 minutes. Be careful, DO NOT burn the garlic.
- Add the seasoning mixture to the melted butter, constantly stir for another 5-8 minutes. After that, turn off the heat. Remove the pot from heating source and let it cool down. Refrigerate in an air tight container for up to 2 months.
Grilled Cajun chicken
- Pre heat oven to 390F
- Lightly salt & pepper chicken thighs. In a double bottom pan, heat few tbsp of vegetable oil on medium high heat. When the oil is hot enough, quickly sear chicken thighs, skin side first. Sear each side for 3 minutes.
- Drain chicken thighs on oil absorb paper to get rid of excess oil. Then baste chicken all over with Cajun sauce
- Arrange chicken thighs neatly, skin side down on baking pan, and grill for 10 minutes.
- Turn the chicken thighs skin side up then grill for another 8 minutes. The chicken should be done by now. If not, keep cooking them for another 2-3 minutes. You can check whether it is done by insert a knife into the part near the bone, if there is blood coming out, it means you need to cook more.
- Take grilled chicken out of the oven and let them cool down for 10-15 minutes (to room temperature). Then use 2 forks to separate the meats into small pieces.
Fish sauce vinaigrette
- In a Mason jar, combine all ingredients and give a few shake. Keep refrigerated for up to 2 weeks.
- In a medium mixing bowl, add shredded grilled Cajun chicken, sliced white onion, Vietnamese coriander and 3-4 tbsp of fish sauce vinaigrette. Lightly mix until the vinaigrette coats all ingredients evenly. Take the salad out and put on serving dish, garnished with picked cilantro and served with chili garlic dipping sauce on the side (as desired).