Thai Chicken Salad

As of this past Saturday I’m now 36 weeks pregnant. I really do think I’m one of the luckiest pregnant women in the world as you may have heard a lot of pregnant women have unusual cravings during pregnancy. Amongst the strange cravings I’ve heard pregnant women have include wood and coal.

But so far my cravings have been really good. This pregnancy has to an extent put me off red meat but I absolutely love fresh fruit, vegetables and sour dressings. The only unusual craving I’ve had is ice cubes which I absolutely love! My husband has been laughing at me as I’m not normally a cold drink kind of person but with great fortune Edinburgh as of early February is one of the warmest places in the UK and we haven’t snow yet.

One of my other cravings right now is sour food so I made this Thai Chicken Salad. I got inspiration for this salad from a holiday I had in Thailand a few years ago and I absolutely love Thai food. Also since going on maternity leave I’ve been cooking every day and cooking everything from Italian to Chinese to Scottish food, but not Thai.

This recipe probably isn’t that authentic but it’s really delicious, fresh, sour and really healthy, absolutely perfect for my pregnancy.

thai chicken salad

 

Thai Chicken Salad

Course Main Dish
Prep Time 40 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 50 minutes
Servings 3 people

Ingredients

Ingredients

  • 6 chicken thigh fillets
  • 1 handful Salad leaves I used a mixed salad bag from my local supermarket
  • 8 cherry tomatoes
  • 1 handful roast cashew nuts or peanuts, chop roughly
  • 2 spring onions chop finely
  • 1 lemon grass chop finely
  • 1 tsp galangal fresh and chopped finely
  • 1 red chili chop finely
  • 15 mint leaves chop finely

Ingredients for chicken thigh fillets marinade

  • 2 cloves garlic chop finely
  • 3 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 tsp light brown sugar
  • 1 tbsp sunflower seed oil or olive oil

Ingredients for coconut and lime dresssing

  • 2 lime leaves
  • 240 ml coconut cream
  • 1.5 fresh limes only use juice
  • 3 tbsp light brown sugar
  • 2 tbsp fish sauce
  • 1/2 tsp salt

Instructions

Procedure for coconut and lime dressing **

  1. Put all the ingredients except the lime juice into a small sauce pan. Boil at first then simmer for 15~20 minutes. Stir often to prevent the ingredients burning at the bottom of the pan.
  2. Add lime juice and bring it to boil again. Use a sift to pass the dressing and leave the dressing to cool down.

Thai Chicken Salad Procedures

  1. Marinade chicken thigh fillets for 30 minutes.
  2. Use a griddle to char grill the chicken and leave it aside to cool down a little bit. Cut the chicken into strips and mix with spring onion, lemon grass, galangal, mint and chilli.
  3. Place salad leaves and tomato on a plate and place the chicken on top. Sprinkle cashew nuts and dressing on top and it’s ready to serve.

Recipe Notes

** I will make dressing first then start the other preparation works.

 

Spanish Chickpea, Chorizo and Prawn Soup Recipe

spanish chickpea chorizo and prawn soup recipe

As promised in my first blog of the year I’ve decided to start adding Western foods to my website. Some of the foods I have learnt through working as a chef, some through friends or family, and some have been influenced by my travels.

Today I’m sharing a Spanish Chickpea, Chorizo and Prawn Soup recipe. When I travelled to Madrid last year we went to a really famous market called Mercado de San Miguel which offers really beautiful foods and at a couple places that offered food that can be compared to fine dining. We tried a Prawn and Egg on toast dish, which Chris really liked, but our favourite thing was a Spanish soup called “Garbanzos con Langostinos Y Jamon”. This fabulous dish costs 10 Euros a bowl and consisted of a tomato soup with chickpeas, jamon and langoustines.

I personally don’t like copying recipes exactly so here is my variation of this dish. I put chorizo in it instead of Jamon, so it’s a bit spicier and the taste is richer and I used prawns instead of langoustines. As much as I like langoustines they’re a bit difficult to get hold of, even in Scotland!

If you travel to Madrid I really recommend travelling to this market. I’ve included a few pictures of the market below and trust me the food there is beautiful but I hope you enjoy my recipe also.

I’ve also written a recipe for “Chorizo Foraccia” which I’ve included in the photos here.

Credit: A number of these photos and the final photos for this dish were taken by Chris Radley Photography

Spanish Chickpea Chorizo and Prawn Soup Recipe
Spanish Chickpea Chorizo and Prawn Soup Recipe
Mercado de San Miguel baker
Mercado de San Miguel food
Mercado de San Miguel Ice Cream
mercado de san miguel stall
garbanzos con langostinos y jamon
mercado de san miguel food
mercado de san miguel madrid pastry
mercado de san miguel architecture
mercado de san miguel crowd
mercado de san miguel jamon
mercado de san miguel pastries
mercado de san miguel produce
mercado de san miguel sweets
mercado de san miguel vegetables

 

Spanish Chickpea Chorizo and Prawn Soup Recipe

Course Main Dish
Prep Time 2 hours
Total Time 2 hours
Servings 4 people

Ingredients

  • 1 medium sized onion
  • 450 g freshly chopped tomatoes
  • 400 g tinned tomatoes
  • 2 small carrots diced
  • 800 g tinned tomatoes
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 150 g chorizo
  • 225 g Prawns
  • 2 tsp rosemary chopped
  • 1 ltr stock you can use chicken or vegetable stock
  • 1 pinch saffron

Instructions

  1. Chop the onion and garlic finely then heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a stock pan.
  2. Sauté the onion and garlic first. Sweat these in the pan then add the carrots and sauté for another 2-3 minutes.
  3. Add the freshly chopped tomatoes and rosemary and sauté for another 2-3 minutes. Then add the tinned tomatoes and 1 litre of stock. Bring to the boil then simmer for 30 minutes.
  4. Remove the chickpeas from their packaging and rinse under cold water to refresh them. Cut the chorizo into thin slices and remove the shells from the prawns.
  5. After 30 minutes puree the soup with a pinch of saffron to add colour and leave aside.
  6. Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a normal pan and sauté the chorizo first until the fat from the chorizo comes out. Once the fat starts to come out of the chorizo add the chickpeas and mix together. Keep mixing/frying for 3 minutes to let the chickpeas blend their flavour with the chorizo.
  7. Combine the chickpeas and chorizo with the soup in a suitable size stockpot and simmer for another 30 minutes.
  8. Add the prawns and cook for another five minutes (the prawns should only take about 5 minutes to cook) then it’s ready to serve. Season with salt and pepper to suit you taste. I used some rosemary to garnish the dish but that’s entirely optional.

 

Project Food Blog The Classics, Souvlaki with Tzatzki

After I passed the first challenge I had a lot of ideas for the second challenge but struggled to decide what I want to do. My main cuisine is most definitely Eastern food but I’m also quite competent with British food (as I work as a chef here). Even though the restaurant I work serves dishes like Beef Wellington I’ve never had the chance to make it.

I also thought about doing something like roasted grouse with black pudding, a traditional Scottish main course) but because of my work schedule and the very limited time between these food challenges I couldn’t get to a butcher. Therefore I wasn’t sure what to do.

One of my favourite chefs in the UK is Jamie Oliver and I was looking through his website and I saw something called Navajo Flatbreads. I absolutely love flatbreads like pita but my baking isn’t great. I also thought about one of my favourite type of foods, the kebab, although I really didn’t have a clue how to make this. So, with a bit of research I found a recipe for “souvlaki”.

souvlaki with tzatzki

The recipe I found was again by Jamie Oliver but he used pork but from what I’ve read real kebabs should be made with lamb. I’ve always been a fan of Greek food but have never made anything Greek so this, for me, was well out of my comfort zone.

Two things are really different about my souvlaki compared to Jamie Oliver’s recipe. One is he uses red wine vinegar but I don’t like vinegar with my meat and also I used lemon juice to give the food a tangy taste.

For the tzatziki I used a recipe which I learnt while working in a fine dining restaurant in Birmingham.

I know a lot of people think kebabs is not healthy but I believe a good home made kebab could be healthy than you think if you have plenty of salad with kebabs. So I also made a sweet corn salad with the kebab. The inspiration came from Olive magazine but I’ve changed the dressing part to personal taste.

I hope you enjoy this blog as much as I enjoyed making the food but it was fun making something completely different to what I normally cook.

souvlaki
fresh corn

 

Souvlaki with Tzatzki

Course Main Dish
Prep Time 2 hours
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 2 hours 10 minutes
Servings 4 people

Ingredients

Ingredients for Souvlaki Kebab

  • 800 g lamb shoulder cut into 2cm dice
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1 lemon only use juice
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 1 tbsp fresh thyme
  • 1 tbsp chopped fresh mint
  • Salt and pepper

Ingredients for flatbed

  • 2 cups white bread flour
  • 1/2 cup warm water
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1 tsp Salt
  • 1 tbsp fresh thyme
  • 1 tbsp fresh mint chop finely (you can use any fresh or dried herbs you like)

Ingredients for sweetcorn salad

  • 2 corn on the cobs
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 1/2 tsp Salt
  • 10 cherry tomatoes cut into half
  • 1/2 red onion thin slice it
  • 1 tbsp fresh parsley chopped
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp rice vinegar
  • 1 tsp Salt
  • 1/2 tbsp Sugar
  • 1 pinch Black Pepper

Ingredients for Tzatzki

  • 250 g Greek yoghurt
  • 1 cucumber
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 handful fresh mint chop finely
  • 1 lemon only use juice
  • 1 tsp Salt
  • 1 pinch black pepper powder

Instructions

Procedures for Souvlaki Kebab

  1. Marinade the diced lamb shoulder with all of the ingredients and leave it for a couple hours to marinade.
  2. BBQ it or use griddle pan to cook it.

Procedures for flatbread

  1. Mix flour, salt, baking powder and herbs evenly with a fork or whisk.
  2. Add warm water and olive oil into step 1 and knead it until it’s nice and soft.
  3. Leave it with cling film or wet tea towel cover on top to allow it relax for 20~30 minutes.
  4. Divide the dough into 5~6 equal-sized balls, then flatten them with your hands and keep each flatbread about 1cm in thickness.
  5. BBQ the flatbread or cook them in a dry frying pan. It’s cooked when you see both side has nice light brown colour on it. I used a griddle pan as I love the griddle marks it leaves but also the taste.

Procedures for sweetcorn salad

  1. Cook the corn in boiling water with 1 tablespoon butter and ½ tablespoon salt for 10 minutes. Slice from the cob.
  2. Mix all the ingredients together and leave it on aside at least 15 minutes before you serve.

Procedures for Tzatzki

  1. Cut the cucumber in half lengthways and remove seeds with a small teaspoon, as illustrated below.
  2. Grate the cucumber first and place it into a colander. Sprinkle a good pinch of salt on it and mix evenly. Leave it aside for at least 30 minutes and squeeze out as much water as you can. Throw the water away and put the cucumber into a clean bowl.
  3. Grate the garlic and add it into step 1.
  4. Mix all the ingredients together and it’s ready to serve.

 

Shaoxing Wine or Rice Wine?

There are two very common rice wines that we use in both Chinese and Taiwanese cooking of which you can buy both of them easily in Chinese supermarkets in the United Kingdom.

One is “rice wine” (米酒) which has no colour and looks like water. We use it in most of our Chinese and Taiwanese dishes. It’s made by normal rice while the other is “Shaoxing rice wine” (紹興酒) which usually has brown colour. It’s made by glutinous rice.

These two wines have a different taste and flavour but they both can be used in different dishes. It depends on personal taste. I personally use rice wine for most of my eastern dishes because it tastes mild with a refreshing fragrance and use Shaoxing rice wine when I cook drunken chicken, drunken prawn, Dongpo pork and other slow cook meat dishes. Shaoxing rice wine usually has a stronger taste and flavour. It tastes a little bit spicy so not every dish is suitable for Shaoxing wine.

Here is a true story about Shaoxing wine to share with everyone. Shaoxing wine is from a city in China called Shaoxing. Shaoxing wine has many different variations and one of these is called “nu’er hong” (女兒紅). Every family in Shaoxing will make Shaoxing wine when their daughter is one month old and bury it underground until the day their daughter’s wedding date when they will open it and drink it to celebrate. “Nu’er” means daughter in Chinese and “hong” means red. Because red is a very lucky colour in both Chinese and Taiwanese culture and this wine is used to celebrate, so using “red” in the name adds a lucky meaning to it.

Superior Dark or Superior Light Soy Sauce??

I remember the first time I saw “superior Dark” (also called lao chou 老抽 and “superior light” (also called sheng chou 生抽) soy sauce that I felt very confused. So, I asked my mother: “What’s different between Dark and light soy sauce?? How to use it?”

My mother basically said: superior dark soy sauce is for enhance the colour of food. It will make the colour of our dishes have more caramel kind of colour. We often add some dark soy sauce when we cook stew type of dishes in Chinese cooking.

Normally, just use couple drops of dark soy sauce to enhance your dishes if you put too much dark soy sauce will cause your dishes looks too dark and damage the presentation.

“How about light soy sauce? How we use it for our dishes?” Well, normally we use light sauce for season our dishes, especially stir-fry, making chinese style salad, marinating and dipping. So, you must be careful when you use light soy sauce for your dishes because light soy sauce taste very salty.

Do you feel more confident to choose soy sauce yourself in Chinese supermarket now? I hope this article can help you in somehow.