I hope you all had a great bank holiday weekend. I love bank holidays. Having an extra day off is always a blessing, even though Tuesday inevitably feels like Monday.
Having cooked a roast dinner on Sunday, I always cook chicken soup on Monday with the leftover chicken, veggies and homemade stock. I’ve done this every week since January so felt it was time for a change. Flicking through my recipe books, of which there are many, I found a recipe that has always looked tempting and yesterday I decided to give it a try. I definitely wasn’t disappointed.
I don’t normally eat salads. I know I should but I’ve never really enjoyed the taste or felt satisfied after eating one… that is, until I tried Asian Chicken Salad. This isn’t your typical salad containing lettuce, cucumber and tomato. This dish mixes Asian flavours with rainbow-coloured ingredients giving a simple dish an exotic taste. Brightly coloured foods contain phytochemicals which play an important role in protecting our health and staving off chronic diseases. Eating this predominantly plant-based dish will help to keep you healthy and ensure you feel satisfied.
While my previous recipe was based on the premise of being underprepared, this recipe requires a little forward planning to ensure you have everything you need. In spite of the long list of ingredients which often puts people off, myself included, once you have them the dish is quick and simple to make, just as a salad should be. This recipe from Amelia Freer’s book ‘Cook. Nourish. Glow.’ is a culinary masterpiece, a host of vibrant colours that leap off the plate and beg you to eat it, which I did a little too quickly. Here’s how to make it:
For the chicken:
- 2 x 150g chicken breasts (I used our leftover chicken which was roughly about the same weight)
- 2 stalks of lemongrass, bashed (a little too ferociously by my daughter!)
- 4 sprigs of fresh coriander
- 1 thumb-sized piece of ginger, sliced
- 2 cloves of garlic, smashed (again, done enthusiastically by my daughter)
- 2 red or green chillies cut in half lengthways
For the salad:
- 1 small papaya or mango, peeled, seeds removed and cut into 1cm slices
- 1/4 of red or white cabbage, finely shredded
- 1 small carrot, washed and cut into ribbons using a peeler
- 1/2 cucumber, cut into ribbons
For the dressing:
- 6 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
- juice of 1 lime
- freshly ground salt and pepper
- Put the chicken breasts into a pan and cover with cold water. Add the lemongrass, coriander, ginger, garlic, chillies and a pinch of salt. Bring to a simmer, switch off the heat and immediately cover the pan with a lid.
- Allow the chicken to sit in the hot poaching liquid for 20 minutes. Once cooked remove from the pan and allow to cool. Shred the chicken into fine strips.
- Put the papaya or mango slices, shredded cabbage, carrot and cucumber into a large bowl. Add the shredded chicken.
- Whisk the olive oil, vinegar, lime juice and seasoning together then pour over the salad in the bowl and toss.
- Divide the salad between two plates and sprinkle over some crushed cashew nuts and some fresh coriander leaves.