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Chili paste with garlic (Recipe: spicy Asian grilled chicken and pasta salad)

Asian grilled chicken and pasta salad

My love affair with chili paste with garlic continues, going on thirty years now, with no loss of affection.

It was my first -- first authentic Chinese condiment in the pantry, that is -- and it's still my favorite, the one that makes my heart sing (and, occasionally, burn), the one I can't live without.

My husband Ted, who is not the least bit jealous of this relationship, will tell you that I get twitchy when I pull the last jar off the pantry shelf. I'm happier with a little stash of three or four jars of my favorite Lan Chi brand with their bright-green-and-white labels in Chinese and English.

Nothing, not even chocolate or lemon or Fresca, excites my taste buds in quite the same way.

What is chili paste with garlic?
A mash of chile peppers, salt, soybean oil and garlic. It's super-hot.

How/where to store:
Unopened, in the cupboard; once the jar is opened, store in the refrigerator for up to one year.

More facts about chili paste with garlic, and ingredient photos, in The Perfect Pantry:
Chili paste with garlic (Recipe: rotini with spicy meat sauce)

Spicy Asian grilled chicken and pasta salad 

Spicy Asian grilled chicken and pasta salad

Comfort food on so many levels, this dish contains not one, but two, Chinese hot sauces. And Italian pasta. And mayo! I know it sounds unconventional, but we couldn't stop eating it, and I think you'll have the same experience. Serves 4-6 as a main dish.


3 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves
2 tsp chili paste with garlic
2 Tbsp reduced-sodium soy sauce
2 scallions, cut into one-inch pieces + 1 tsp chopped scallions
1/4 cup water

1/2 lb pasta (I like rotini, cavatappi or cellentani)

For the dressing:
1/4 cup mayonnaise
1 Tbsp reduced-sodium soy sauce, or more to taste
1/4 tsp Sriracha
1 tsp mirin


Marinate the chicken: Combine the chicken breasts, chili paste, 2 Tbsp soy sauce, 2 scallions, and water in a plastic bag. Seal the bag, pressing out as much air as possible. Massage the chicken to make sure the marinade is distributed evenly. Refrigerate for 6 hours, or overnight.

Remove chicken from the marinade, and cook on the grill or under the broiler for approximately 4 minutes per side. This can be done up to three days in advance; keep the chicken refrigerated. When ready to finish the dish, chop the chicken into bite-size pieces, and set aside.

Cook pasta according to the package directions. Drain, rinse under cold water to stop the cooking action, and drain again. Set aside.

In a large mixing bowl, combine the dressing ingredients and mix thoroughly. Add the pasta, chicken, and 1 tsp chopped scallions. Stir, and serve.

More chili paste recipes:
Spicy chicken balls, from The Perfect Pantry
Grilled chile-lime-ponzu chicken, from The Perfect Pantry
Spicy sweet chicken, from Blue Kitchen
Sichuan tofu with garlic sauce, from Fat Free Vegan Kitchen

This spicy Asian grilled chicken and pasta salad is a huge favorite in our house!

Need more ideas for how to create salads with pizzazz? Get Dress Up Your Salad, my e-book packed with easy mix-and-match recipes, full-color photos and a few fun videos. Exciting salad recipes from everyday ingredients can be just one click away, on any computer, tablet or smart phone, with the FREE Kindle Reading app. Click here to learn more.

Disclosure: The Perfect Pantry earns a few pennies on purchases made through the Amazon.com links in this post. Thank you for supporting this site when you start your shopping here.


Simply brilliant...mayo-soy-Siracha dressing...such a gorgeous dish! Thanks for sharing the brand of your chili garlic paste. I've always used Lee Kum Kee brand but I would like to try Lan Chi.

I do the same thing with tuna salad -- mayo and chili paste! So so good.

But sadly, I just ran out of Lan Chi Chili paste... time to hit chinatown.

It sounds unconventional but delicious to me! I don't think I could stop eating it either.

I do have some chili paste in the fridge, summer is here so time to enjoy!!

Again, you've solved the supper problem. Chicken-pasta salad "orientale" tonight! I'll go grab a bag of pre-cooked chicken out of the freezer...

That's an amazing idea. I don't really love normal chicken salad but chili paste with garlic is one of my all time favorite condiments so, um... I want this. Which is rare for me to say about a chicken salad!

Momgateway, I've been stuck on this brand of chili paste with garlic for many years. When I'm out, I use sambal oelek, but it's not the same.

Julia, I'm overdue for a Chinatown shopping trip, too.

Kalyn, I could have eaten the entire batch on my own. It was that good.

Bellini Valli, this would be a great picnic or potluck dish, perfect for summer.

Heidi, invite me to supper!

Nick, I don't love chicken salad that's all mayonnaise and celery. This one is really delicious.

Chili paste is probably too hot for my tastes (I'm a wimp), but your pasta salad looks absolutely delicious!

Chili paste and I go way back too! It's even more highly prized in my house than Sriracha. This salad looks great.

I am so excited by this pasta salad! Chili paste with garlic holds as special place in my heart as well, but I have never considered mixing it with mayo for a pasta salad. Wonderful!

Chili paste, fish sauce, soy sauce, and on and on. My Asian grocery store is a warehouse of finds. I only wish I could read half the packages!


TW, I think I have chili paste in my blood. You can definitely tone down the spice in this dish.

Alta, same with me. If I had to choose one, chili paste would beat Sriracha hands down.

Cookin' Canuck, if you love chipotle mayo (and I know you do), you'll love this spicy chicken salad.

CSC, the great trick about Asian condiments is that they must have ingredients listed in English if they are sold in the US.

This recipe is going right to a new folder I am assembling for my daughter, a student, first time apartment dweller. Perfect for the summer, and easy, great variations on Thai and Italian chicken salads.

Thanks for the mention Lydia. I haven't made those shrimp in ages, but I think it's about time I remedy that!

Made this for dinner tonight. I doubled the pasta and the dressing. Delish! Next time I might add a few veggies, I am not sure what though. Diced red bell peppers?

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