Another super-healthy salad, this is light in both texture and ﬂavour. Be sure to use the freshest herbs you can ﬁnd, and not to overcook the chicken so it stays lovely and tender.
- 400 g chicken breast fillet
- 2 cups (500 ml) water
- vegetable oil, for deep-frying
- 120 g unsalted cashews
- 2 spring onions, julienned
- ¾ stick lemongrass, very thinly sliced
- 2 × 4 cm pieces ginger, julienned
- 4 large fresh red chillies, julienned
- 20 g (1 small bunch) coriander leaves
- 3 large cloves garlic, crushed
- 5 red birds-eye chillies, crushed
- 2½ tbsp soft palm sugar
- ⅓ cup (80 ml) fish sauce
- ¼ cup (60 ml) lime juice
Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.
Resting time 40 minutes
For the dressing, place the garlic, chillies and palm sugar in a mortar and use the pestle to pound to a coarse paste. Stir in the ﬁsh sauce and lime juice and set aside.
Place the chicken in a heavy-based saucepan and cover with the water. Bring to the boil over medium heat, then reduce the heat to low and simmer, covered, for 5 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat and leave the chicken to rest in the liquid for 40 minutes to cook completely, then remove, drain well and shred into thin strips.
Meanwhile, heat vegetable oil for deep-frying in a heavy-based saucepan. Add the cashews to the hot oil and deep-fry for 1 minute or until golden brown; watch carefully as they become bitter when overcooked. Remove immediately with a mesh skimmer and leave to drain on paper towel.
Place the chicken in a bowl with the spring onion, lemongrass and three-quarters each of the ginger, chilli and coriander.
Roughly crush two-thirds of the cashews using a mortar and pestle (or with the ﬂat side of a cleaver on a chopping board), then add to the chicken mixture. Pour over three-quarters of the dressing and toss well.
Place the salad on a serving plate and scatter with the remaining cashews. Drizzle with a little more salad dressing and scatter with the remainder of the ginger, chilli and coriander. Serve with the remaining dressing in a bowl to the side.
Recipe from Spice I Am by Sujet Saenkham, with photographs by Rob Palmer. Published by Lantern.