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. While growing up in Nepal, I didn't eat "fresh, green, leafy salad" like we do in the West, so I just associate "sadeko" or marinating anything with with spices and tempering with oil as a salad. We enjoy a variety of fruits (grapefruits and oranges (bhogate sadeko), potatoes, and meat dishes using the technique of "sadeko".
Chicken sadeko was my mom's go to dish to make for quick lunch or on days she knew I wouldn't enjoy vegetables she was cooking for that day. I really enjoy making chicken sadeko now regularly maybe because it is part of my childhood memories, or the fact that it comes together so effortlessly on any given day.
The salad is refreshingly light, freshly chopped onions, cilantro, and tomatoes not only add bright colors but brings freshness and crunch to the dish. If possible, use freshly squeezed lemon juice along with freshly roasted cumin powder & chili powder to your liking. This is a very humble and versatile salad.
Chicken sadeko can be eaten alone or on a bed of your favorite greens, used in a sandwich or fill a pita pocket. The boyfriend uses it as a filling for taco with some salsa. I like it alongside warm rice
Traditionally, most sadeko dishes are finished off by tempering with little mustard seeds and mustard oil. If mustard oil (or any neutral oil) and mustard seeds are not part of your everyday, you can skip it.
Chicken Sadeko (Shredded Chicken Salad)
For 4-6 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
- For Tempering: 1 tablespoon mustard oil, ¼ teaspoon mustard seeds, and pinch of turmeric powder
- In a bowl combine chicken, onion, tomato, chil.
- 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.
- If tempering, heat oil in a small pan then add mustard seeds until it stands dancing. Remove from heat and add a pinch of turmeric powder then pour over the. mixture into the bowl with chicken. Mix everything and enjoy.
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?