July 10, 2012

Thai Chicken Salad

In my continuing effort to avoid turning my kitchen into the sweltering fires of hell,  I decided that this time I would cheat a little.  Just a little,  and it's for the greater good.   The heat index is hovering in the triple digits while beads of sweat are pooling at the nape of my neck.  The least entertaining thought at this moment is "let's fire up the oven".

Store-bought roast chicken: In the winter months, this would be considered sacrilege... but in the blistering heat of summer, it is sweet salvation! 

As if buying the chicken wasn't enough, the food processor is going to do the majority of the work!  Yep, this might be the perfect summer recipe.  The amount of work involved barely even registers.  If you don't own a food processor it isn't the end of the world, just a bit of chopping & grating.

For this recipe I only used the breast meat,  reserve the rest for sandwiches or soups,  the carcass for stock, etc.

For the dressing:
  • 3 tbsp rice vinegar
  • zest and juice of 2 limes
  • 4 tbsp vegetable, canola or grapeseed oil
  • 1/2 shallot, finely sliced
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 1/2 tbsp sugar
  • 1 red Thai chili (green if you can't find red), minced 
  • salt & freshly ground black pepper to taste

I went to 5, yes FIVE stores trying to find a red chili but with no luck, so I ended up with green.  The main difference is the heat level.  I couldn't find a pepper with a decent amount of heat to it, so I had to use what I could find.  If this happens to you as well and you like a little heat in your food, you can add a dash of sriracha or any other hot sauce that you like.

Combine all ingredients and set aside.  Let dressing sit for at least 30 minutes.  The acid will help break down and mellow garlic & shallot and the flavors along with the chili pepper will infuse dressing.   I like the acidic bite of vinegar & lime juice however, if you find it's too much cut the limes to one.

Thai Chicken Salad
  • 1 small head green cabbage
  • 2 - 3 medium carrots
  • 2 cooked chicken breasts, shredded or finely sliced
  • small handful of salted peanuts, roughly chopped
  • 1 bunch scallions (green onion), sliced on bias
  • 1 cup snow peas, thinly sliced on bias
  • 1 tbsp cilantro, chopped
  • 2 tbsp Thai basil, chopped
  • 2 tbsp mint, chopped
  • salt & pepper to taste

Shred cabbage and carrots in food processor. 

Combine all ingredients in large bowl, pour dressing over top and mix thoroughly.
How's that for easy?!

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