Thai Style Salad
I like salad. So what, you’ll probably say. The strange thing is, I like eating salad when I go out, and I like preparing salad when I’m at home, but then I won’t eat it. I know… weird, but that’s the way it is. When I’m out and having a salad, I wonder why I don’t make it at home more often. Then I get all excited, buy the ingredients, don’t mind standing in the kitchen for any amount of time preparing a salad. All the prepping is very relaxing for me after a day at the office. But when it’s ready to eat I’m not too keen on it.
One factor is probably the dressing. I have lots of recipes for salad dressings but have only ever made one or two. Maybe I’m too uninventive, unimaginative, I don’t know. I just like it better when I can have it ready served at the restaurant.
However, last year I came up with my very own creation – my own Thai Style Salad. I was visiting a friend in Munich, and we went to Soup Mama where just looking at the salad menu made me want to order all of them. I took a takeaway menu home with me for inspiration, looked at the ingredients of each salad to see what I liked and could try at home, then picked several ingredients from different salads, and the result was a darn good creation, if I may say so myself.
Last night one of my best friends came over. I’ve been promising to make this salad for her for almost a year now. As she’ll be leaving soon to live in Dubai, I thought it was high time to deliver on my promise. Apparently she liked it, so E – here’s the recipe to take with you to your new faraway life!
This is an easy recipe, but I have a lot of comments so this will look elaborate – I promise it’s not.
Thai Style Salad
250 g Pan Noodles (or any Asian noodles / pasta of your choice)
500 g chicken breast
spice of your choice to marinate
1 large iceberg lettuce
peanut or walnut oil
chinese five-spice paste
juice and zest of 1 small lime
1 garlic clove
1 small red chilli
freshly ground black pepper
dried coconut strips
Feeds 2 very hungry people as a main course, or 4 as a starter
Cook the pasta. [I cook it before I start on the salad preparations, because I like the pasta to have cooled down before I mix it into the salad.]
Cut the chicken breast in bite sized pieces and marinate with spices of your choice. [I usually mix a little oil with Schwartz Thai 7 Spice, but I ran out of it and you can’t get it in Germany, so I use whatever I have at hand. This time I used BBQ marinade powder from flava-it for the first time; I also love their Garden Mint marinade.]
While the chicken marinates, cut the iceberg lettuce into bite sized pieces. Peel carrots, discard peel, then go on peeling them down to the core to get carrot strips.
For the salad dressing, mix rice vinegar with peanut or walnut oil [2:1 ratio, with a 3 fingers high amount of vinegar]. Add 1 – 2 tsp ginger paste and 1 – 2 tsp Chinese five spice paste. [That’s the amount I’ve come to like best after several trials, just use according to your taste. When I have it, I sometimes add 1 tsp lemongrass paste.] Add lime zest and juice. Chop garlic and the chilli and add to dressing. [I chop them together in my mini blender, then add 1 tsp at a time to determine how hot the chilli is. Leftover mix keeps in the fridge for quite a long time.] Add a turn or two of black pepper.
Fry the chicken until dark and blackened [I like it really dark, but fry to any degree you like it. I use butter for frying.]
Assemble salad – mix together noodles, iceberg, carrots, add dressing, then add chicken pieces.
Chop the dried coconut strips together with fresh mint leaves [I use the mini blender for this as well] and sprinkle over the salad.