Monday, February 08, 2010

Spa Salad with Chicken & Coconut

Does the end ever justify the means? Here's a (not entirely hypothetical) example: 

A (not very likeable, semi-useless) colleague applies for a new job. Said colleague really likes the new job, but would need more money to cover their running expenses. Colleague then asks for your advice regarding salary negotiations. Do you: 

a) Say, yes of course, ask for more - you deserve it!
b) Point out that the salary on offer is actually quite reasonable for the work expected and he/she can't really ask for much more.

Rock & a hard place, right? Option b is technically the correct answer, but option a will get the irritating colleague out of your hair (and soon!)- a case of good bye and good riddance!

Any guesses as to which option I chose? Cue guilty look...

Unlike my lovely colleague, chicken salad is something that I definitely do not want to banish from my life. In fact, I don't think you can ever really get enough of a good chicken salad.

This particular incarnation is one I've been making for a few years now. First gleaned from the pages of an old Marie Claire magazine, I've chopped and changed a little bit since then. The flavours are clean and fresh and reminds me of the type of food that you would eat at a spa (or at least what I imagine spa food would be like!), hence the name.

Spa Salad with Chicken & Coconut 
Adapted from Marie Claire magazine

Serves 3

2 chicken breasts 
1 tsp sunflower oil
3 tbsp lemon juice
3/4 cup low fat coconut milk
1 tsp sugar
2 tbsp finely chopped lemongrass (optional)
200g green beans, trimmed & halved
1/3 large cucumber, pips scooped out & sliced 
100g mangetout (snowpeas), halved lengthways
1/4 cup fresh mint, torn
1/2 tsp dried chili flakes
1 tbsp dried coconut flakes
2 tbsp sesame seeds 
salt, to taste.

1. Preheat the oven to 180C. Mix sunflower oil with 1 tbsp lemon juice. Pour over chicken breasts and toss to coat. Place chicken in a small baking dish, cover with foil and bake for 30 minutes, or until cooked through. Remove from oven and allow chicken to cool off completely. 
2. Meanwhile, make a dressing by combining the remaining lemon juice with coconut milk, sugar and lemongrass (if using). Simmer for 5 minutes, stirring to allow the sugar to dissolve. Remove pan from heat and allow dressing to cool.
3. Steam/blanch the beans until just starting to soften (it should still retain some crispness). Refresh under cold water to stop the cooking process.
4. Roughly shred the chicken and combine with the dressing in a salad bowl. Add the beans, cucumber, mangetout, mint, chili flakes, coconut and sesame seeds and toss well. Season to taste and serve with lime wedges.

Nutritional info (per serving): Calories 254.8, Total fat 12.2 g, Saturated fat 6.7 g, Polyunsaturated fat 2.3 g, Monounsaturated fat 1.5 g, Cholesterol 38.0 mg, Sodium 193.1 mg, Potassium 254.9 mg, Total carbohydrate 15.6 g, Dietary fiber 3.5 g, Sugars 6.3 g, Protein 18.6 g

Good source of: Vitamin C 64.3 %, Iron 21.0 %, Calcium 15.6 %


nina on February 08, 2010 8:03 pm said...

If you find a spa where they serve this food, let me know and I am booked immediately!!! Looks light and so refreshing!!!

Joanne on February 08, 2010 8:56 pm said...

Annoying colleagues are the worst. I have a whole med school class full of them. I would just do whatever it took to get the coworker out of my office. But maybe I'm just selfish like that...

You took chicken salad to a whole new level with this! I could see it becoming a personal favorite of mine. I love that it doesn't have any mayo!

Marisa on February 09, 2010 8:18 am said...

Will keep you posted Nina! :-)

Don't worry Joanne - the circumstances swung my vote to the selfish side too. Enjoy the salad!

Jeanne @ Cooksister! on February 10, 2010 4:47 pm said...

I agree with Nina - if this is what spa food is like, I'm there like a bear!

Marisa on February 10, 2010 5:14 pm said...

:-) Agreed! Perhaps we should start our own spa with this type of food?

arcadia on February 10, 2010 7:10 pm said...

perfek vir die somer! en ek is saam met jou oor die wonder van hoenderslaai, dit bly net 'n treffer.

Marisa on February 11, 2010 8:47 am said...

Net so!

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