It’s a been a while between posts thanks to the necessary toil at the salt mine (wouldn’t we all love to dodge that!), but thankfully it hasn’t been at the complete expense of some pretty enjoyable meals with friends and family over the latter stages of the year and the holiday period. It’s one of my New Years resolutions to try working up a couple of recipe posts per month, so will be doing my best to work this out between all of the brewing, gardening and and kids stuff that otherwise takes up the off free moments.
I love the light and fresh flavours that hit you when you work with Vietnamese or Thai influences. I’m not exactly sure which camp this salad should sit in, but for the sake of choosing, I’m electing for more of a Vietnamese styling due to the dressing. You can also give this Thai Salad a go if you’re up for some seafood
Given the time of year, there’s so many additional options with the multitude of beautiful fruits adorning the market shelves. This particular warm salad just happens to play with two of my favourites, rock hard white peaches and a mix of perfect big ripe mangoes and semi green ones. Couple this with some fragrant chicken and range of other light ingredients and you’ve got one of those salads that you can enjoy with no guilty thoughts, and on a hot evening too.
Feeds four to six, and takes about 30 mins to prep.
Fragrant Shredded Chicken
750 gr tenderloins
2 stalks lemongrass – roughly chpopped
8 rough shredded kaffir lime leaves
2 fingers of Ginger – sliced
1 lg bunch watercress
3 white peaches
3 handfuls snowpeas
1 lg ripe mango
8 finely diced kaffir lime leaves
1 bunch of mint
1 bunch of coriander
3 cucumbers julienned
1 spanish onion, very finely diced
2 large red chillies finely julienned
1 punnet of cherry tomatoes
Dressing – Num Pla
5 juiced limes
2 tbl palm sugar
3 tbl fish sauce
1 thumb grated ginger
1 birdseye chilli finely diced
2 tbl sesame oil
Get a pan or pot with a couple of inches of water and bring to the boil. Drop in your ingredients to get the fragrant side of things moving ie your ginger, lemongrass and kaffir lime leaves. Place your steaming basket over the top and then ready your tenderloins. Stick them in the steaming basket and cover for 10 minutes. Once done, place in a plastic container and put the lid on to keep moist.
While your water is coming to the boil, get the dressing sorted as the longer the ingredients have to sit and infuse with one another the better the result overall. Shave your palm sugar into a jar and then juice your limes over the top. Give it a good shake to start to dissolve the palm sugar. Mix in the rest of the ingredients and then give a good and thorough shake. Anytime you’re at a loss for something to do for 10 seconds, shake your dressing.
Now it’s time to build up the salad. Roughly shred the watercress into a large bowl. Next peel your cucumbers, halve and scoop out the seeds and julienne into 5 cm sticks . This is easily done by slicing into 5cm chunks and then slicing lengthways to get the julienne result (this is a bit pedantic I know, but if it’s too much, then slicing is OK). Add the cucumber then repeat the same with the white peaches (don’t peel them though). Drop your cherry toms onto a chopping board and halve and sprinkle around evenly. Deliver half of your torn coriander mint leaves on top.
Next come the mangoes (start with the greener one). Take your mango, stand it on it’s end and slice down as close to the seed as possible. repeat on the other side. Hold the mango in your non knife wielding hand flesh up. Make nice thin slices from end to end in the mango, then one slice across your cuts to get the sizing right. Lastly take a desert spoon and scoop out and then spread evenly across the salad (don’t forget to pee;l off the last of the skin from near the seed and slice this lovely flesh in as well. Repeat with the ripe mango.
Now it’s time to shred the chicken as it should be still just warm, but not hot. Take out your tenderloins and shred in your fingers by pulling apart gently and then sprinkle across the top of the mango pieces.
To finish off and add some colour, slice your spanish onion and spread liberally over the top and then repeat with julienned large chillies (seeds removed for the more sensitive souls amongst us) and the remainder of your herbs.
Dress liberally and then serve.
Enjoy with a lovely Pinot Gris or young cool climate Chardonnay from say the Orange region.