Chicken Sadeko | Shredded Chicken Salad

In Nepali language, sadeko roughly means marinated. 

Please don’t ask me why I am calling marinated chicken a salad..for lack of a better word maybe. In Nepal,  there was no concept of salad while growing up so I just associate “sadeko” or marinating with spices and tempering with oil as salad. Grapefruits and oranges (bhogate sadeko), potato salad, chicken/duck/goat meat, peanuts, or soybeans are some common things enjoyed sadeko..

Chicken sadeko was my mom’s go to dish to make for me on day’s she made vegetables I disliked and that included almost everything but cauliflower, potatoes, mustard greens & peas. I don’t think I was a very picky eater except when it came to vegetables..Just so you know we like our vegetables fully cooked, almost mushy or deep fried..That is why I avoided most vegetables and happily settled in with chicken sadeko…and it still remains my go-to chicken dish when I crave for something refreshingly delicious  – maybe its my childhood memories, or the fact that it comes together so effortlessly on any given day and time, I never get tired of it. 

The salad is refreshingly light, freshly chopped onions, cilantro, and tomatoes not only add bright colors but brings freshness and crunch to the dish. I urge you to use freshly squeezed lemon juice to add the flavorful punch it needs along with a dash of cumin & chili powder. This is a very humble salad at its best. 

Not to mention, it’s versatility. It can be eaten alone or on a bed of your favorite greens, used in a sandwich or fill a pita pocket. The boyfriend likes to make a taco with some salsa. I like it alongside warm rice (try with this tomato masala rice). Do whatever your heart desires but do it…

Traditionally, most sadeko dishes are finished off by tempering with little mustard seeds and mustard oil. We are not doing so today but if you want a little authentic taste, feel free to try it. 
Chicken Sadeko (Shredded Chicken Salad)
For 4-5 servings 

2.5 cups boneless chicken, cooked and shredded (rotisserie chicken works too) 
1 small onion, chopped
1 small tomato, chopped
2-3 red or green chili, chopped
5-6 cilantro leaves, chopped
1 tablespoon oil (traditionally mustard oil is used but I used canola)
1.5 teaspoon cumin powder
1 teaspoon chili powder (skip this if you like mild flavor)
3 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice 
salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste 

– In a bowl combine chicken, onion, tomato, chili
– In a small bowl, mix oil, cumin powder, chili powder and lemon juice.
– Pour it over chicken mixture then add cilantro leaves.
– Adjust seasonings and leave it in the refrigerator covered for about 30 minutes so it marinates better. 

Make-ahead Tip:

– It tends to get watery if left in the refrigerator overnight. I would suggest adding onion, cilantro, and tomatoes only couple hours before serving. 

– Do you have a go-to food rooted from your childhood?

– Did you like vegetables while growing up? Any favorite veggies?


  1. says

    Haha our idea of eating veggies as a kid seem to be on par- deep fried or covered in butter and/or puff pastry otherwise it wasn’t happening! I must be making up for lost time now ;)!

  2. says

    I think it can totally be called a salad! After all, chicken salad is, and this looks way better since it’s filled with real flavor and not globs of mayo!

  3. says

    I weirdly loved veggies but hated meat. Wasn’t a vegetarian but it was definitely a challenge for my parents to meet my daily protein intake.
    The Chicken Sadeko looks delish! As does the rice! You are such a talented photographer :)

  4. says

    every 2 weeks we get a CSA chicken and our pick up is this Friday. i’m always on the lookout for new & exciting chicken salad recipes. beyond the mayo version. this looks wonderful & it just might pop up soon! :)

    i was never a peas fan growing up but when i tried it fresh from the farm last summer i was hooked. now i know it’s frozen peas i don’t care for but fresh peas: they are a revelation.
    my fave childhood chicken dish is a vietnamese version of Hainese Chicken. the hainese version has a green scallion sauce, while the vietnamese version has a ginger chili sauce. the thai version, which is also a fave has a fermented bean sauce. when i make this chicken & rice dish i tend to have all 3 sauces on the table.

  5. says

    actually you need to be careful in adding the lime juice to this salad in my opinion because it kind of does not go together for me. for me the tomatoes gives enough tartiness. Also I add hot oil to the salad and add a pinch of turmeric and some diced green chillies to the hot oil, it gives great color to the salad and also adds some heat….

    • says

      I am sorry the lemon juice and tomatoes didnt go well for you but I have always loved it with it..maybe its a taste thing but free to omit it :) I agree adding oil at the end is a common thing and it adds a lovely taste.

  6. says

    Im sure I’ve told you this many time (probably just last week), but it’s true.. I want to come live with you (only for a few days), just so I can be fed delicious food day after day! :) :)

  7. says

    Chicken salad sounds so good! Cumin and chilli do something magical to chicken! I definitely need to “eat more chicken” (like the chik-fil-a adds) and this recipe could seriously help me do just that!
    Thank you!

  8. says

    I think humble salads are the best! They can be enjoyed so many different ways (in tacos or over rice, like you say) and be delicious! I love the addition of cilantro, and we do have mustard seed so I’d definitely add that.

    The food that reminds me of childhood is chicken cacciatore – my dad makes a mean one :)

  9. Kritika says

    What about Ginger? Would that be a good addition? Visited Nepal two years ago and absolutely loved Chicken Sadeko! Have been wanting to recreate it ever since :) thanks for this!!

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