Thai chicken noodle salad

 

Even though I enjoy cooking and count it as one of my hobbies/passions I, like everyone else, have days where I just really don’t feel like cooking. Whether it has been a long day at work, my neck is playing up (which has been the case for the last few weeks), or it is just a stinking hot day (which we get quite a few of here in Perth), there are days where I just don’t want to spend much time (if any) in the kitchen.

So I love finding recipes like this one that are full of flavour but require very little time or effort in the kitchen. This is a great recipe for summer when it is hot and you don’t want to warm the house up by using the oven/stove top for too long (you can use the bbq instead if you want). You can even ‘cheat’ and use bought roast/bbq chicken or leftover chicken. I have made this recipe both ways and it was just as tasty with bought roast/bbq chicken as it was marinading and cooking the chicken myself. Although the marinaded chicken is beautifully moist and tender.

I have adapted the recipe to add some green vegetables, but you can omit them or replace them with any you prefer. I also like adding a small amount of the coconut milk to the dressing, however this wasn’t in the original recipe and you can omit it if you prefer.

This is a great, flavoursome recipe. Filling while also being light and refreshing. Best of all, it takes hardly any time or effort to make. 

Thai coconut chicken and noodle salad

 Serves 4

 Ingredients

  • 270ml can coconut milk (not coconut cream)
  • 2 teaspoons finely grated lime zest (zest of approximately 1 lime)
  • 1/3 cup of lime juice (2-3 limes depending on size)
  • 2 teaspoons fish sauce
  • 2 teaspoons brown sugar
  • 1 red chilli – finely chopped (remove the seeds if you prefer less heat)
  • 2-4 chicken breasts (depending on size) or left over chicken/bbq chicken
  • 250g packet of rice stick noodles (not vermicelli, you don’t want them too thin)
  • ½ bunch coriander leaves (about a large handful) or chives (chopped into 2cm ‘batons’). Original recipe calls for coriander, but as I don’t like it I used chives. You could also use thai basil.
  • ½ bunch torn mint leaves (about a large handful)
  • 200g cherry/grape tomatoes – halved or quartered (depending on the size)
  • 1-2 cups of baby spinach leaves -optional
  • 4-8 asparagus spears – thinly sliced into ribbons (I used a vegetable peeler to do this) – optional
  • extra lime, cut into wedges, to serve

Method

If using chicken breast

1. If using chicken breast, combine most of the coconut milk (save about 50ml to add to the dressing – optional) with half of the lime juice, fish sauce, sugar and chilli into a glass or ceramic (non-reactive) dish large enough to hold the chicken.

2. Halve the chicken horizontally to make thin pieces. Add to the marinade and mix to coat. Cover with cling film and refrigerate. I try to marinate it for at least 30 minutes, but you don’t have to leave it this long (the original recipe didn’t).

3. When you are ready to cook the chicken, preheat a large frying pan or grill on a medium high heat (you can also use the bbq). Boil the water needed for the noodles.

4. Place the noodles and asparagus ribbons (if using) in a heatproof bowl and cover with boiling water. Stir the noodles around with a fork to separate then stand for 5 minutes (or more depending on how thick your noodles are – check the packet instructions). When cooked, place the baby spinach at the base of the colander before draining the noodles to wilt the spinach as you drain the noodles. Rinse under cold water, drain and transfer to a large bowl. Add the remaining ingredients (herbs, lime zest, rest of the lime juice, coconut milk, fish sauce, sugar and chilli). Toss to combine.

5. Meanwhile, drain the chicken and cook for approximately 4 minutes on each side or until golden and cooked through. Once cooked slice and serve with the salad and a wedge of lime.

If using pre-cooked chicken

1. Boil the water you will need to cook the noodles.

2. In a large bowl combine all of the lime juice, zest, fish sauce, sugar, chilli and at least 50ml of the coconut milk. Taste the dressing and add more juice, fish sauce, coconut milk etc if needed to your taste. Shred or slice the chicken and add to the dressing.

3. Place the noodles and asparagus ribbons (if using) in a heatproof bowl and cover with boiling water. Stir the noodles around with a fork to separate then stand for 5 minutes (or more depending on how thick your noodles are – check the packet instructions). When cooked, place the baby spinach at the base of the colander before draining the noodles using the colander to wilt the spinach as you drain the noodles. Rinse under cold water, drain and transfer to a large bowl. Add to the chicken/dressing mix along with the herbs and tomatoes. Toss to combine and serve the salad with a wedge of lime.

Adapted (I’ve made quite a lot of changes) from Coles Magazine – Thai Coconut Chicken with Noodle Salad