Wednesday, 20 July 2011

Kinda Vietnamese Chicken Salad for Grown Ups

I've included this here because although this is probably a complete no-go for kids; the chilli and the salt from the fish sauce makes it a very difficult sell nutritionally, however, for adults, it's actually pretty healthy (salt aside, hey, cut down tomorrow.)

Anyway, this is a good idea because it's difficult to prepare food to serve quickly.  I am sure there are millions of other households like ours where bedtime is around 7pm, so it's too early to eat before you start the bedtime routine (also it's too difficult and hard for everyone to be home in time) so you end up eating something quickly prepared and not always all that nutritious.  So this is where the 'stick it in the oven' meal comes in.  Most cookers have a timer on them where you can set the overall cook time as well as the overall finish time; so, for example, you can set the oven to come on for 30 mins to finish cooking at 7:15pm without having to be there to switch it on at 6:45pm.  Check your oven instructions if you're not sure.

So I do this all of the time, there's no real big risk to letting some raw meat sit in an oven for 15 minutes before it starts cooking, just be aware that as the oven will be cold when the cooking time starts, you might need to extend it a little; just check.

Anyway, this kind of cooking you would think would lend itself to heavy, wintery dishes but here's something a bit more summery.  The other thing is it can cook on for a bit longer if bedtime takes longer than you think or even be served cold (I cooked extra tonight for my lunch tomorrow.)

Vietnamese Chicken Salad - serves 2 grown ups after a long, hard day


Boneless chicken thighs (4-5)
4 tbsp (or to your taste) fish sauce
2 cloves garlic (finely chopped)
1 red chilli, finely chopped (remove the seeds unless you like it very hot)
1-2 tbsp sugar (to your taste)
Juice of a lime

To serve

Shredded raw vegetables of your choice; I used carrot, onion, sugar snap peas, red pepper and cucumber.  Radish is also good.
Fresh coriander leaf
Unsalted peanuts (I just buy salted which are cheaper and rinse off the salt)


Mix the fish sauce, garlic, chilli, sugar and lime together and pour over the chicken thighs.  You can leave them to marinade or not, to be honest I don't think it makes that much difference but I often prepare this in the morning as my son is eating his breakfast and stick it in the fridge until later in the day.

Bake the whole dish, marinade and all in the oven at 220oC for 40-45 minutes.  Serve on the shredded vegetables with the peanuts and coriander and some of the cooked marinade spooned over.  If you're having it cold, especially if you're serving it a while later or taking it to work for lunch, let the chicken and marinade cool first and refrigerate until you want to eat.

spice trail badge square
I've sent this in for approval for "the spice trail" challenge which for November 2013 is on chillis!

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