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This Asian chicken salad is posted in homage to the amazing Olivia who cooked for us at work. Her passion and love of food, flavours and textures is a joy to behold! This is changed slightly from the original, cos that’s just what I do … this recipe will make enough for two people as a main meal.
2 chicken breasts, raw (or use 4 chicken thighs)
1 tin coconut milk, 400ml
500ml filtered water
3 star anise
5 curry leaves
1 tablespoon black peppercorns
½ butternut squash, cubed
2 cups green beans, sliced
1 cup chick peas, cooked (no salt)
1 cup bean shoots
½ cup thai basil leaves (or regular basil)
½ cup coriander (cilantro)
2 tablespoons coconut oil
½ cup sesame, sunflower & pumpkin seeds, toasted
3 tablespoons tahini
Juice and rind of one lemon
3 tablespoons water
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
Pre-heat oven to 200ºC.
De-seed butternut squash and remove skin if you want to. Cut into cubes.
Line a large baking tray with baking parchment and rub in a little coconut oil. Place the squash in a single layer and roast in the oven for about 30 minutes until cooked. Remove and allow to cool.
In a large frypan, gently heat the coconut oil and place in green beans. Fry for about 5 minutes until they are al dente. Remove from the pan.
Add the chickpeas to the same pan and fry till starting to get crispy.
In a small saucepan, place the seeds and toast gently until starting to brown. This takes about 5 minutes and you need to be right there and toss the seeds constantly as they start to pop and toast.
In a large saucepan, heat the water and coconut milk with star anise, curry leaves and peppercorns to a simmer. Add chicken and poach for about 20 minutes until the chicken is cooked through. Remove from the heat and allow to cool.
In a small bowl, combine the tahini, water, lemon juice, lemon rind (finely grated) and ground black pepper. Which until smooth. Add more water if it’s too thick.
Remove the basil and coriander from their stalks.
Time to combine all the yumminess … in a large bowl, place everything except the toasted seeds and mix gently. The dressing should just barely coat everything. I feel strongly not to have any soupy dressing at the bottom of the bowl – please don’t drown your lovely salad!
Serve with a generous sprinkle of toasted seeds and some extra chopped herbs … this one is a keeper!! Swap out the chicken for fish or tofu or just have the vegetables. It’s really really really tasty. Fini.
with love, Sarah