Wednesday, August 04, 2010

Grilled Miso Chicken Salad

Grilled Miso Chicken Salad [photo]

Ke nako! Can you feel it? Spring is (almost) here! Okay, it's quite a stretch, I mean we've barely started August, but the worst of winter is definitely over. The sun rises earlier (honestly whoever decided that waking up while it is still dark is an acceptable practice?), the days stretch longer and the ambient temperature is much milder. Here and there eager spring blossoms are bursting forth and the air seems heavy with promise.

Also, I'm getting fed up with the endless wintry soups (of which I've made a *lot*) and stews. As much as I love wrapping up with a bowl of warmth, after a few months it gets a bit old. Thank goodness for different seasons, eh? Truth be told, these interim bits between the seasons are pretty special. I mean, you get the best of both worlds. In one week you could have a picnic and an evening in front of the fireplace, fortifying your frozen innards with sherry.

Grilled Miso Chicken [photo]

You could opt for a sunny Sunday afternoon stroll after a friendly braai (bbq) and the very next day be huddled under your duvet, armed with steaming hot chocolate. Actually the second bit sounds a whole lot nicer at the moment, doesn't it?

The magic of spring for me also lies in the crunch of a raw cabbage leaf* under your teeth, the burst of colours adorning your plate and the fact that supper can be done and dusted in mere minutes. This chicken salad recipe takes the ordinary mayo-laden version and transforms it into something simpler and eminently more flavourful. The miso gives a lovely asian twist to this salad and adds a dash of savoury umami which happily ties everything together. The miso marinade incidentally is also fabulous on it's own - I'm thinking miso grilled chicken or prawns on the bbq come summer.

Grilled Miso Chicken Salad [photo]

*Is it normal to really really like raw cabbage the way I do? Sans dressing or partner ingredients even?

Grilled Miso Chicken Salad 
Adapted from Food & Wine
Serves 4 (generously)
500g (1 lb) skinless, boneless chicken breasts
3 tbsp vegetable oil
2 tbsp lemon juice
1/2 cabbage, shredded
4 carrots, cut into matchsticks
2 x 75g packets instant (ramen) noodles, cooked* 
a big handful fresh coriander (cilantro), finely chopped

For the miso sauce:
1 1/2 tbsp finely grated fresh ginger
1 1/2 tbsp miso paste
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 tbsp Asian chili garlic sauce
1/2 tbsp brown sugar
1/2 tbsp sesame oil
2 tsp lemon juice

1. Start by making the marinade for the chicken by mixing together all the ingredients for the miso sauce.
2. Slash each chicken breast about three times, keeping the cuts fairly shallow. Rub about 1/3 of the miso sauce over the chicken breasts, reserving the remainder to make the dressing.
3. Place chicken breast under the grill for 7 - 10 minutes, or until just cooked through and still juicy. Remove and allow to cool down before cutting into strips.
4. Meanwhile, make the dressing for the salad by mixing together the remainder of the miso sauce with the vegetable oil and lemon juice.
5. To assemble the salad toss the cabbage, carrot, noodles, coriander and chicken strips together and pour the miso dressing over. Toss again to mix and serve at once.

* Discard the flavouring packets. Alternatively use quick cooking asian noodles of your choice.

Nutritional info (per serving): Calories 353.3, Total fat 16.5 g, Saturated fat 1.8 g, Polyunsaturated fat 5.5 g, Monounsaturated fat 8.2 g, Cholesterol 72.5 mg, Sodium 131.8 mg, Potassium 658.5 mg, Total carbohydrate 20.1 g, Dietary fiber 3.3 g, Sugars 1.9 g, Protein 31.2 g

Good source of: Niacin 72.8 %, Vitamin C 72.5 %, Vitamin B6 42.8 %, Selenium 36.9 %, Vitamin A 34.1 %, Phosphorus 29.7 %


nina on August 04, 2010 5:20 am said...

Outstanding photography Marisa, you have hit this one on the head. Stunning, I will have to pull up my socks seriously!!

Joanne on August 04, 2010 5:49 am said...

I always forget that your world is topsy turvy compared to mine (or at least the seasons are!) and then I read posts like these. I'm sorry you're experiencing some winter blues but spring will come, I promise! In the meantime, this chicken dish looks fantastic. All of the flavors you could ever want and more.

Anonymous said...

I love raw cabbage! Can you believe it is going to be 27 deg in Paarl today

Marisa on August 04, 2010 7:48 am said...

Nina - Thank you! That means a lot to me coming from you. But don't worry, you definitely still have the edge. :-)

Joanne - Yes that's true, and while I'm waiting for spring you're probably hoping summer never ends! Maybe we should devise a way for both sides of the world to have good weather at once, huh?

Nicola on August 04, 2010 9:27 am said...

Miso chicken, mmmm...

Wonderful pics Marisa, how did you get such great colours when photographing at nighttime? I think you need to do a post to share your tips and tricks.

Marisa on August 04, 2010 9:54 am said...

Thanks Nicola! Basically my two tips/tricks are using a cool daylight bulb in combination with a lightbox. I just use a normal 100W bulb you can buy at any supermarket, but do check that it says "cool daylight", otherwise your pics will look horrid (been there, done that).

You can get away sans lightbox, although your shadows will be a bit harsher (can use white cardboard or foil to bounce some of the light back though).

Homemade Heaven on August 04, 2010 11:48 am said...

One ingredient I have never tried is miso - this is an inspiring way for me to try a new ingredient. Thanks. While I love the idea of spring being around the corner, I am very worried about the lack of rain we've had this year.

Koek! on August 04, 2010 1:49 pm said...

Oh Marisa, your pot really is creative! This looks just delicious...

Jeanne @ CookSister! on August 04, 2010 4:42 pm said...

Love the pics - and that chicken looks just divine! Perfect light and healthy meal :)

Elizabeth on August 04, 2010 8:17 pm said...

I have a thing for miso...and this looks right up my alley! Beautiful pictures!

Gaby866 on August 05, 2010 9:28 am said...

this is just what i need ! spring is here and comfort foods needs to go into the bin !! and that you also give the calories with it is brilliant thanks so much

Marisa on August 05, 2010 9:52 am said...

Rose - The lack of rain is a bit worrisome! I noticed it too.

Koek - Why thank you Ms Robyn!

Jeanne - It's lovely for spring-y days, isn't it?

Elizabeth - Thanks Elizabeth! Am also glad to discover a new use for miso (usually just make miso soup).

Gaby - Enjoy it! And viva spring.

Valerie Gamine on August 05, 2010 3:39 pm said...

Beautiful presentation! I'm having some serious camera, and chopstick envy. This salad is so bright and happy looking. :D

I'm with you on the raw cabbage issue. Like most vegetables, I think it's best enjoyed in it's natural form.

browniegirl on August 05, 2010 8:48 pm said...

Really yummy sounding. I will definitely try it. And I am another one of those who love raw cabbage straight up :) Lovely photos xx

Table Talk on August 06, 2010 5:45 pm said...

Definitely love the flavors in this salad. Just what I want to eat when it is so incredibly hot outside. Yum!

Anonymous said...

This salad was so good! The dressing was a bit spicy for my boyfriend but just perfect for me. I added in edamame, avocado, and thinly sliced red pepper to load the meal with more veggies. Peanuts would add a nice crunch, too. Thanks for the recipe!

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