This recipe tastes authentically Chinese. The toasted sesame and warm cucumber work well together, and the umami dressing adds an earthy, delicate flavor that is just as delicious cold as it is served warm.

Double Duty Recipe: Double the recipe to serve over Napa Cabbage for another meal later in the week. Mix 1 1/2 tablespoons Basic Dressing with 1 teaspoon tahini. Pour over chopped Napa cabbage, top with cold Chinese chicken salad, toss, and enjoy.


  • 1 pound skinless, boneless chicken breasts
  • 1 medium cucumber (about 2 1/2 cups)
  • 1 fresh, red Fresno chile
  • 2 tablespoons sesame oil
  • 2 teaspoons Sichuan or other peppercorns
  • 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1/4 cup chopped cilantro
  • Sea salt to taste
  • Warm brown rice for serving


  • 3 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 2 teaspoons sesame oil
  • 2 tablespoons peanut oil
  • 1 teaspoon agave nectar, optional
  • 1/4 cup sesame seeds, toasted


  1. In a medium pot with lid, cover chicken with water and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to simmer and cook for 10-12 minutes or until chicken is no longer pink in the middle. Remove from the heat, uncover, and allow the chicken and broth to cool.
  2. Meanwhile, rinse the cucumber, slice off the ends, cut it in half, and scoop out the seeds. Keep the peel on and cut each half into thin strips.
  3. In a small bowl, mix the dressing ingredients together and set aside.
  4. Cut off and discard the stem of the chile pepper, then dice the pepper and set aside.
  5. In a medium pan, heat the sesame oil over medium-high heat. Add the diced pepper, Sichuan peppercorns and red pepper flakes to the pan and sauté for 1 minute. Add the cucumber strips and sauté for 3-5 minutes.
  6. Season with sea salt, remove from the heat, and allow to cool. Remove chicken from the liquid. Save the liquid broth for another use. Tear chicken apart into strips using a serrated knife or two forks.
  7. Arrange the cucumber mixture on a platter and layer on the chicken. Top with the sesame dressing. Serve with warm brown rice.


Use a serrated knife at an angle to cut the chicken to produce slightly shredded meat that better absorbs the dressing and looks like the real thing⁠—authentic Chinese!