Sesame Chicken Tangerine Salad

Resembling the sun with its round shape and bright orange color, the Mandarin orange has long been associated in Chinese culture with the positive and generative force of nature.  The symbolic significance of this sweet, citrus fruit is especially apparent during Chinese New Year when it appears everywhere – as home decorations, prayer offerings, and most commonly as gifts to friends and family and to anyone who visits your home.

What began as a symbolic gesture has quickly become a game of “Hot Potato”.  Wherever you go – haircut, friend’s house, dentist, restaurant, and so on – you get a Mandarin orange.  Before you know it, you’re buried alive in oranges.  The only way to survive Chinese New Year in Penang is to play the Asian version of the game – let’s call it “Hot Orange” – and give away as many oranges as you take, even resorting to hiding Mandarin oranges in the bottom of bags, so the recipient doesn’t realize what they’ve got until they’ve arrived home.  A notorious tactic of Penang moms.

mandarin orange for sesame chicken salad

We are so inundated with Mandarin oranges during Chinese New Year that in Malaysia & Singapore, single Chinese girls take part in the tradition of tossing oranges into the ocean on the 15th day of the festival – Chinese Valentine’s Day.  Each single girl will write a message of love on the Mandarin orange and throw it into the waves hoping their true love will find it, read their message, and come into their life soon.

Just not with the orange in their hand.  Everyone wants true love to knock on their door, but no one wants another Mandarin orange at the end of Chinese New Year…

mandarin oranges at the morning market in Penang
mandarin orange for chinese new year in Penang

I think you know where I’m going with this.

No, I’m not going to post an image of me throwing a Mandarin orange onto a frozen Minnesota lake.

I want to - I need to - give you a gift this Chinese New Year.  A Mandarin Orange of course.  In this recipe for Sesame Chicken Tangerine Salad.

Sesame Chicken Tangerine Salad by

Tangerines are one of the many varieties of Mandarin oranges, with a very sweet, citrus taste.  Perfect for adding a tangy flavor to salads. 

This Sesame Chicken Tangerine Salad is easy to assemble.  Start with a ready packed spring mix salad, to significantly cut the preparation time.  Then add in a handful of crunchy bean sprouts, and top it with sesame-coated chicken.  Finally, garnish it with tangerine slices and dress it with a honey-soy vinaigrette. 

Try tossing in goji berries too for the extra color, flavor, and all those wonderful anti-oxidants the berries are famous for.

And follow a Chinese New Year tradition, and share this Mandarin orange recipe with someone else, before it’s too late:)

Asian Sesame Chicken Tangerine Salad recipe by

Sesame Chicken Tangerine Salad by

Sesame Chicken Tangerine Salad by Season with Spice
Makes two main course salads

2 chicken breast fillets
1 egg white
1/2 cup of white sesame seeds
1 tbsp vegetable oil
Spring mix salad
2 Mandarin oranges – sliced into thin wedges (I prefer tangerines)
1 cup bean sprouts - loosely packed (either raw or blanched)
Goji berries (optional)

Honey-Soy Dressing 
2 tbsp honey
1 tbsp rice vinegar
3 tbsp low-sodium soy sauce
1/2 tsp of Season with Spice's cayenne pepper
Dashes of toasted sesame oil

1. In a small bowl, whisk together all the ingredients for the dressing. Taste and make adjustments if necessary. Set aside.
2. Pour the sesame seeds onto a plate. Then lightly brush the chicken with egg white and press both sides into the sesame seeds. Heat a frying pan over medium fire, add in oil and then the chicken, and cook for 1-2 minutes on each side until golden. Reduce the heat to low, cover, and cook for 5-8 minutes (or until cooked through). Remove from pan and let cool slightly before you cut the chicken into 1/2 inch-thick slices.
3. Arrange the spring mix salad, bean sprouts and Mandarin orange slices on each serving plate. Add goji berries if using. Top with the chicken pieces and drizzle with the dressing. Serve immediately.

- For a variation on the dressing, you can zest it up with freshly grated ginger or minced garlic.
- Halve the chicken fillet if the ones you get is on the thicker side.
- Be sure to use splatter guard or wok cover when frying the chicken to prevent the sesame seeds from splattering.