Cold poached chicken tenderloins w/ginger and green onion sauce

One of my favorite Chinese restaurant dishes we ordered growing up in Hawaii was Ginger and Green Onion Chicken.

It was a whole, poached (skin on) chicken, chilled, cut into small (bone-in) pieces, rubbed with oil and topped with a chopped ginger and green onion sauce. Oh, so good on top of hot rice.

I thought I’d make a version easier to eat by hand, and convenient to make ahead of time for any parties or to take to any potluck gatherings.

Green onions, ginger root, minced ginger root

My sauce is simple: olive oil, finely minced ginger root, finely chopped green onions and a little sea salt.

Make sure you save the ginger root peels to add to the poaching water.

Ginger and Green onion sauce

Ginger and Green Onion Sauce

Don’t be tempted to grate the ginger root rather than mincing it finely, or place this sauce in a food processor.

Doing so will release too much of the ginger juices, which will then cause the chicken to turn mushy over time.

Raw chicken tenderloin skewers

Skewer the chicken tenderloins by weaving them onto 10″ bamboo skewers.

These tenderloins were about 4″ long, 1-1/2″ wide and 1/2″ thick.
Water boiling with ginger skin

In a large saucepan, add ginger root peels and fill with 1-1/2″ to 2″ of water.

Cover and bring to a rolling boil.

Chicken skewers placed in boiling water

Quickly place as many skewers into the water as will fit in a single layer. I was able to fit in 6 skewers at a time in my 11-1/2″ saucepan.

Cover saucepan with a lid, turn off the stove, and move the saucepan off from the heat source.
Chicken skewers done poaching
After 5 minutes, the chicken should be cooked. If not, cover and let cook a little longer until the meat is cooked through.
Remove chicken skewers from the water and let them cool.

Reboil the water and repeat the process to cook the remaining skewers.
Cover cooked chicken skewers tightly and chill well.
Chicken tenderloins cooked unskewered, and skewered

Left side: chicken skewered after cooking;  Right side: chicken skewered before cooking

Although it may seem simpler to poach all the chicken tenderloins at once before skewering them, they end up looking much prettier if you skewer them before cooking them.

Blob-like  vs. longer, smoother, with a little curve.

Cold poached chicken tenderloins w/ginger and green onion sauce, close up
Right before serving, spoon the sauce over the skewers, coating the tops well.

See those skewers in the right side?

I love the curled tips, and how the chicken curves up and down along the skewers.

Cold poached chicken tenderloins w/ginger and green onion sauce, baby yukon gold potatoes, tomatoes
There’s extra sauce for those who want a little more.

Sliced tomatoes and baby yukon gold potatoes make nice decorations, but are even tastier dipped into the sauce.

The baby yukon gold potatoes are best roasted, or cooked by microwave. I find steaming or boiling them leaves them too wet.

Bowl of tomato wedges and baby yukon gold potatoes with ginger and green onion sauce
You may just want to mix the extra ginger and green onion sauce with the tomatoes and potatoes, along with a little splash of rice wine vinegar.

That would make a nice little side salad.
Cold poached chicken tenderloins w/ginger and green onion sauce, baby yukon gold potatoes, tomatoes, top view

Whichever presentation you decide, it’ll be a big burst of color and flavor.

Cold Poached Chicken Tenderloins with Ginger and Green Onion Sauce
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
An easy version of Chinese Green Onion and Ginger Chicken
Recipe type: Appetiser
Serves: 4 to 6
  • 1-1/4 lbs. small chicken tenderloins (approx. 4" long, 1-1/2"wide, ½" thick)
  • 10" bamboo skewers, about 12
  • ¼ c. olive oil
  • 3 T. finely chopped green onions
  • 2 T. finely minced ginger root
  • ½ tsp. sea salt
  1. For the sauce, combine all ingredients in a small bowl and set aside. Save the ginger root peels for the poaching.
  2. Weave the chicken tenderloins onto the skewers.
  3. Place the ginger peels into a large saucepan and fill with 1-1/2" to 2" of water. Cover the pan and bring to a rolling boil. Place as many skewers as will fit in a single layer into the liquid. Cover the pan, turn off the heat, and remove from the heat source. The chicken should be cooked after 5 minutes or so. If not, cover again and recheck until they are cooked through. Remove skewers from the liquid. Reboil the liquid and repeat the process to cook the remaining chicken.
  4. Once chicken skewers have cooled, cover tightly and chill well.
  5. To serve, arrange skewers on a platter and spoon sauce over the tops right before serving.
  6. Note: If you prepare this the day before serving and refrigerate the sauce, the olive oil will turn cloudy and solidify. Simply allow time for the sauce to come to room temperature, or rest the bowl of sauce in a bowl of hot water until the oil is liquid again.