I just love summer salads and tend to eat little else once the weather heats up. Last year I was working as cookery editor for Grazia (UK) magazine and one of my favourite recipes at the time was a delicious poached chicken and pea salad with a coconut and chilli dressing. This has now become one of our favourite salads at home and as fresh peas are abundant at the moment I thought you might like to try this out.
Poaching is a great and somewhat under used cooking method. It is in fact a very healthy way of cooking both meat and fish as you don’t need to add any fat. Not only that, but the poaching liquid ensures the meat will be lovely and moist and full of flavour. Often the stock is used as part of the dish but here the majority of the stock can be frozen for use in another dish.
Poached chicken with fresh pea, coconut and chilli salad
1.5 kg free range chicken
1 onion, roughly chopped
4 garlic cloves, bashed
5 cm piece root ginger, sliced
50 ml light soy sauce
250 ml Shaoxing cooking wine
500 g mixed freshly shelled peas, mange tout and sugar snaps
50 g fresh pea shoots
a few fresh mint leaves
125 ml coconut cream
1 tbs poaching liquid from the chicken
juice 1 1ime
1 tsp freshly grated root ginger
2 tsp grated palm sugar
1 red chilli, seeded and chopped
Trim the chicken and place, breast side down, in a large saucepan with the onion, garlic, ginger, soy sauce, cooking wine and cover with cold water. Bring to the boil, skimming the surface if necessary and simmer gently for 45 minutes. Remove from the heat and leave the chicken to cool in the pan.
When cold, remove the chicken, peel and discard the skin and bones and shred the meat. Set aside 1 tablespoon of the poaching liquid (reserve or freeze the stock to use another time).
Meanwhile, make the dressing. Whisk all the ingredients together in a bowl and season with a little salt, if necessary.
Steam or blanch the peas, mange tout and sugar snaps until al dente, drain well and immediately plunge into cold water. Drain again and dry thoroughly.
Arrange the peas, shredded chicken, pea shoots and herbs on serving plates and serve drizzled with the coconut chilli dressing.
TIP: Shaozing cooking wine is a Chinese rice wine and has a distinctive earthy flavour. It is available from many liquor stores or some larger supermarkets, as well as Chinese food stores.