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Monday, 30 May 2011

Thai green chicken salad

This is a really lovely salad, perfect for summer lunches.  Its light and refreshing and really delicious.  Serve it on a large plate with the chicken all in one layer, making the whole thing look beautiful and easy for people to help themselves.

Time: 45 mins difficulty: 3/5 Taste 4/5

Approx 5 chicken breasts
2 limes, zested
2cm square piece of ginger (and some galangal if you can get it) peeled and finely chopped/grated
1-2 sticks lemongrass, bashed very hard with a heavy knife and sliced up a little bit if soft enough
2 cloves garlic, crushed
Half an onion, or 3-4 shallots, finely diced
Large handful fresh coriander, roughly chopped
Small handful mint, roughly chopped
3 cardamom pods, split
2 small green chilies, with the seeds removed from one of them (or both, or neither, depending on how hot you like it) and finely sliced
1 can of coconut milk (if you vigorously shake the can before you open it, the solids at the top will integrate with the  liquid below, saving you much work mixing it up with a spoon later)

for the salad:
1 packet of rocket
2 spring onions, finely sliced
small handful fresh coriander, chopped
1 handful cashew nuts, split in half

To make the marinade for the chicken, mix together the lime zest, coriander, shallots, ginger, garlic, mint, cardamom and chilies in a large, shallow non-metallic dish.  Add the sticks of lemon grass and (shaken) coconut milk, stir together and add the chicken, making sure each piece is completely coated in the mixture.  Leave to marinade for a few hours.

About 15 minutes before you are ready to cook the chicken, preheat the oven to 180c (or turn the grill on to medium/high).  Squeeze the juice from 1 of the zested limes into the marinating chicken.  When the oven is hot, arrange the chicken in a roasting dish in a single layer with a little bit of the marinade spooned on top.  Cook for about 25 minutes and check to see if its cooked, and give it another 5 minutes if needed.  Chicken breasts really shouldn’t need more than 30 minutes to cook, unless they are really thick.

You can make the salad with the chicken more or less straight after the oven, or keep the cooked chicken in the fridge until ready to make the salad.  When ready to serve, scatter the serving dish with the rocket.  Slice the chicken and arrange on the plate in a single layer (with the big lumps or marinade goo scraped off), and top with the spring onions, coriander, cashew nuts, and a squeeze of lime juice.  Serve, maybe with some cold noodles or sticky rice and enjoy!

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