nothing else can match the fresh, explosive flavour of a thai salad… and the one i had at chinwag in christchurch on a hot, blustery dry summers day was just that… and it hit the spot.
boy was it spicy… (which i love) but not at the expense of all the other trademark thai flavours. perfectly balanced and satisfying, i had to give it a whirl.
there are a few deviations from chinwags offering – i didnt have lemongrass at home, so used ginger in the dressing instead. and i couldnt get fresh squid, so there is chicken which i bathed in its own sticky marinade so it would get a great flavour crust on it. the chicken ended up contrasting with the chilli in in the dressing perfectly.
this is something you can smash together in about 45mins if you need to. it will take longer if you want the chicken to marinate longer.
for the dressing
125ml lime juice (from fresh limes)
100ml fish sauce
1 ½ tblsp coconut sugar
2 garlic cloves, crushed
2 birds eye chillis, cut finely (reduce this if you don’t like it hot!)
2 tblsp grated ginger
for the chicken
6 chicken thigh fillets
½ cup soy sauce
2 birds eye chillis, cut finely
3 tblsp grated ginger
4 garlic cloves, crushed
2x limes, juice and rind
1 tblsp fish sauce
2 tblsp coconut sugar
for the salad
1 cup cut coriander
1 cup cut mint
1 cucumber, use a vege peeler to slice long and very thinly into slices (stop when you get to the seeds)
3 spring onions, finely sliced on a diagonal
1 cup cashew nuts, toasted and roughly cut
- for the chicken, put all the ingredients in a tray and coat the chicken in the marinade. cover, and put in fridge until ready to cook. If you plan far enough in advance, put it in the marinade the night before – the flavours will be even better!
- for the dressing, put all the ingredients into a bowl, stir to dissolve the sugar. taste the dressing – you should be able to taste hot, sour, sweet, sour. when happy, set aside in fridge. check this balance again just before serving as flavours may develop and it may have changed.
- for the salad, place the cucumber in a large bowl and put into the fridge until ready to serve.
putting it all together
- heat a fry pan to high heat. add the chicken to the hot pan and leave until the chicken browns and gets a nice crust on the outside. turn over and repeat on the other side until cooked through.
- add the dressing to the cucumber and toss. add the majority of the coriander and mint to the cucumber and all the spring onion and nuts.
- cut the chicken into chunks and assemble on the plate with the cucumber. drizzle the finished plate with a bit more dressing if desired. top with the remaining coriander and mint.