Chicken and Avocado Salad with Thai flavors

  When salads are your whole meal, you want to pack a lot of punch in it. At least I do.  Most days for lunch I will have some left over protein from dinner the previous night – usually some fish or chicken and then I just eat that along with some lettuce and celery. I don’t even bother chopping the lettuce or celery since – hey what does it matter, my teeth can do that 🙂

But somedays I get motivated. To create something fancier. Fancy meaning not as in ‘gourmet’ or ‘classy restaurant’.  Fancy as in ‘whatever makes me happy’ 🙂 I had been making broth with chicken legs the previous day and had added some kaffir lime leaves and lemongrass to the pot along with my usual spices of whole black pepper and bay leaves.  The broth came out very tasty and the chicken legs gave out a lot of meat which I saved up for my salad.  Now as I opened the container of the chicken pieces, the smell of kaffir lime and lemongrass was still lingering and reeled my senses. hmm…I got transported to ‘Thai’ world or Thai..land rather!

So I decided to just continue with that theme and make a flavorful and colorful salad out of it.!  I guess I was thinking of the ‘Thai Larb gai’ (which I totally love!) although what I ended up with was not similar to that although you could say that some things were common like the lemongrass and lime flavor.

For my dressing, I just decided to mix Lemon juice, ginger and honey  which further accentuated the already ‘flavorful’ chicken. And Avocados and pomegranate went in to do their ‘colorful’ bit! And voila, within 15 mins I had this beautiful looking and fantastic smelling chicken salad looking at me. Last minute I decided to quickly make some instant pickled onions and throw them as a garnish!  The salad was just perfect!  It seemed like a large plate but oh the flavors were so good I just couldn’t stop eating and cleaned up the entire plate!

Chicken Salad with Thai flavors
Author: 
Recipe type: Salad, paleo
Cuisine: Fusion, Thai
Prep time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 1-2
 
A delicious, flavorful salad consisting of Chicken pieces cooked with thai spices, fresh avocados and pomegranate with a honey ginger lemon dressing
Ingredients
  • 2 cups shredded chicken pieces( see below for cooking method)
  • ½ of a ripe avocado
  • ¼ cup pomegranate arils
  • ½ cup shredded lettuce
For dressing
  • 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tsp honey
  • 1 tsp lemon juice
  • 1 tsp fresh ginger grated or ginger juice
  • handful of pickled red onions (see recipe below)
For cooking chicken:
  • chicken thigh pieces or chicken leg pieces 4-6
  • 6 cups water
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 1 tbsp fresh lemon grass, chopped
  • 2-3 fresh kaffir lime leaves
  • 1 inch by 1 inch fresh ginger, cut into thin rounds
  • 2 large garlic cloves, sliced
  • 4-6 whole black peppercorns
For pickling onions:
  • ½ of a red onion thinly sliced
  • 1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tsp coconut oil, melted
  • pinch salt
Instructions
  1. First cook the chicken by adding all the ingredients listed under 'For cooking chicken' in a large pot and slow cook covered for about 20-30 minutes.
  2. Remove from heat and after cooling, take the chicken pieces out and shred them. Reserve the chicken broth after straining to get rid of the spices.
  3. Mix all the dressing ingredients in a small bowl and keep aside.
  4. Mix all the ingredients listed under 'pickling onions' in a small bowl and using your fingers crush the onion pieces a bit. Keep aside.
  5. For assembling the salad, arrange the chicken pieces with the lettuce, avocado and pomegranate seeds. Drizzle the dressing on top and scatter the pickled onion slices on top!

 

Caribbean Chow/Indian Chaat Style Salad

I think you can guess from the title of my post that I was struggling to come up with a proper name for this creation 🙂 It started with me coming across a caribbean mango cucumber chow recipe on a recipe forum. My sensory buds tingled at the mention of mango. And with cilantro and lime thrown in? Wow, even more mouthwatering stuff.

So that was the inspiration for my salad. So I got myself a mango two weeks ago – yes mangoes have started making an arrival here in our grocers! And note I said ‘ got myself a mango’, which meant that I was NOT willing to share this with anyone else at home. Yes I mean it. When it comes to mangoes, I become an infant …’Its mine!”  OK OK so my family left me alone.  They had the infinite wisdom that once mangoes start making more of an appearance especially at the Indian grocers, mom would get a crate of them and at that point she will be willing to share some with us.

So the recipe I had seen was fairly simple – onion, garlic, green chillies, lime juice and …Culantro.  Yes no typo there, it is Culantro.  I looked it up and it says that culantro or shado beni is a special herb grown in the caribbean.  It is supposedly slightly different from Culantro or shado beni but cilantro is a close substitute.  I am definitely very interested in laying my hands on this herb!  Please let me know if any of you know where I can get it in the US?

Continuing with my salad, I added diced avocado, cucumber and mango together.  For the caribbean chow,  you pound together the onion, garlic, chillies and culantro and add this to the mango/cucumber pieces. Toss with salt and pepper and you are good to go! So I did this and then decided to add some chaat masala since the green chili and cilantro mixture along with lime was so reminiscent of the chaat we used to have back in the streets of Mumbai.  So I added some chaat masala – the salad started tasting so good and I continued to sprinkle more and more of the chaat masala till I felt that it was just perfect – ‘You could eat the whole bowl’ kind of perfect!  Yum!

After that day I started getting mangoes every week and I have made this salad at least three times in the past two weeks!. This last time I made it, i also added cooked beets and sweet potatoes to it.  Tasted wondrous and a perfect side dish to my pan fried salmon.

Chaat masala btw is a blend of several different spices and has a dominant sour/tangy flavor from the dry mango powder and the black salt (pink salt) but it has a little bit of heat also from the other spices and cayenne pepper. I always buy store bought chaat masala but here’s a recipe for it if you would like to see the ingredients – Chaat masala recipe

Linking this delicious salad recipe to Plant-Based Potluck Party Link Up and Saucy Saturdaythis week.

Caribbean Chow/Indian Chaat Style Salad
Author: 
Recipe type: Salad, Paleo, Vegan
Cuisine: Caribbean , Indian, Fusion
Prep time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 1-2
 
A tangy and sweet tropical salad consisting of cucumber, avocados and mango deliciously spiced with cilantro, garlic, lemon juice and chaat masala
Ingredients
  • ½ cup cilantro
  • 1 garlic clove
  • ¼ red onion
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 ripe avocado, peeled and diced
  • ½ ripe mango, cut into medium size chunks
  • ½ cucumber, peeled and diced
  • ½ boiled potato (or sweet potato), diced
  • ½ of a medium beet cooked (optional), diced
  • ½ tsp sea salt
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 2 tsp chaat masala
Instructions
  1. In a mortar or pestle or a small food processor, add the cilantro, garlic, red onion and the lemon juice. Blend well until you get a chunky kind of paste. Keep aside.
  2. In a large bowl, add the avocado, cucumber, mango, potato (or sweet potato) and beet (if adding). Add the cilantro mixture to this. Add the salt, pepper and the chaat masala. Toss well to mix the spices well with the vegetables and fruits. Serve fresh!
Notes
For Paleo version, Use sweet potato instead of potato
For AIP version, Use sweet potato instead of potato and Skip chaat masala

Link up your recipe of the week

Around the World #3: Carrot Sambol and a Round up!

DSC_1214Its time for a round up of all the Sri Lankan recipes that I have made. I have been ogling at and drooling over countless recipes and I did end up making 7 different ones and have more lined up on my pinterest page that I hope to make soon!  My virtual journey has made me even more determined to visit Sri Lanka some day.  The cuisine just resonates with me so much because of the similarities between Kerala and Sri Lankan way of cooking. The liberal use of coconut and the abundance of seafood and spices! Gosh the recipes are so varied – There are simple salads like this carrot sambal that are made using fresh ingredients and serve as a side/ accompaniment to spicy rich dishes.  Then there are stuffed breads,  spicy chicken appetizers like spring rolls/cutlets and delicious curries using coconut milk.  The desserts are amazing too and mostly use rice, cashew nuts and fruits.

So here I share the recipe of Carrot Sambal that I made ! I hope you enjoyed the journey as much as I did. 🙂

Carrot Sambol (Sri Lankan Carrot salad)

Linking this to Throwback Thursdays and Saucy Saturdays.  Also bringing to Fiesta Friday where this week Josette @ thebrookcook and Lily @ little sweet baker are co-hosts.

Carrot Sambol (Sri Lankan Carrot salad)

  • Servings: Makes about 2 cups
  • Time: about 15 minutes
  • Difficulty: Easy
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Recipe adapted from the book Rice & Curry

Ingredients:

  • 2 large carrots, grated
  • 1/2 of a medium red onion, chopped finely
  • 2 green chillies, chopped finely
  • 1/2 of a tomato chopped fine (optional)
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper powder
  • 2 tbsp fresh grated coconut (or frozen that has been thawed)
  • 1 tbsp lime juice

Method:

Mix all the ingredients together in a bowl and toss well to mix. Use fresh or store in the fridge for up to 4 days.

Below I list the recipes I made on my virtual Sri Lankan tour. Also check out Ahila’s website A taste of Sri Lankan cuisine for more wonderful and exotic recipes from Sri Lanka.

Spicy Chicken Spring Rolls

Sri Lankan Chicken Spring rolls

Sri Lankan Stuffed Buns

Stuffed Veggie Buns (Sri Lankan)

Sri Lankan Style Fish Curry

SriLankan Fish curry

Vegetable Kottu Roti

SriLankan Kottu Roti

Sri Lankan Chicken Curry

chicken curry

Aromatic Sri Lankan Curry Powder

Sri Lankan Curry Powder

 

 

A Japanese meal on a weeknight!: Miso soup, salad with Miso Ginger dressing and Vegetable California rolls

DSC_1375 DSC_1372This Monday night at around 5 PM , my husband and I both look at each other and ask the unspoken question -“What are we doing for dinner?” I think for a few seconds and go ‘let’s make something really good’. The ‘really good’ from me was because I am trying to do vegan for a few weeks (not sure how long I will last). So I say ‘let’s make pooris and potato sabzi’! Poori sabzi is one of my favorite vegetarian meals.  Hubby says ‘wonderful, let’s do it’ and he volunteers to make the dough for the pooris while I go for a shower.  I come back in 15 minutes to see hubby trying to hide behind the children.  Finally he says sheepishly ‘Hon I missed the atta (whole wheat flour) from your grocery list. OK so that was the end of the poori sabzi craving 🙂

So it was after that, that I came up with the idea of going Japanese! In my house this is pretty common- to change directions radically especially when it comes to cooking! Hubby being an expert in sushi, I now volunteered him for making the sushi rolls. And I decided to attempt miso soup and miso ginger dressing. The family has always loved this wonderful miso ginger dressing at our local Japanese restaurant and I always wanted to try and make it at home. So today was going to be the day!  I washed and kept the sushi rice in a pot to cook while I googled for a good miso ginger dressing recipe.  I short listed three that I liked and then mixed them a little bit to try to mimic the taste of the dressing at our favorite local Japanese place.  I had to try mixing and changing proportions a little bit until I came pretty close to the benchmark I had set up for myself! Hmm…darned good I must say!

DSC_1372Next the miso soup was a breeze. Just Add spring onions and tofu to a pot of boiling water. And the mix in the miso along with some kombu pieces. I used sesame garlic tofu and so that additionally also added some flavor to the soup. It came out pretty darned good too.!

Hubby dear did a fabulous job as usual with his vegetable california rolls.  I have posted the detailed recipe for making sushi rolls here before.  What a team we make! So thus we delivered yet another successful and far from boring weeknight meal that all four of us loved!

So what are you waiting for? Turn your boring weeknight meal to a fabulous, fantastic one by making this meal!

Bringing this fabulous vegetarian Japanese meal to Throwback thursdays this week where my Chicken Curry from last week made it to the Features – Hurray 🙂 Also linking to Fiesta Friday this week.  Margy @ La Petite Casserole and Su @ Su’s Healthy Living are the co-hosts at FF this week.

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Miso ginger dressing

  • Servings: Makes about 1 cup
  • Time: about 15 minutes
  • Difficulty: Easy
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Ingredients:

  • 1/4 cup rice vinegar
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • 1 tsp sesame oil
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • 1 tbsp miso paste
  • 1 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp sesame seeds
  • 1″ by 2” piece fresh ginger, peeled
  • 2 small carrots, chopped

Method:

Take all the ingredients in a food processor and blend until you get a smooth creamy mixture.

Miso soup

  • Servings: Makes 4-5 servings
  • Time: about 15 minutes
  • Difficulty: Easy
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Ingredients:

5 cups of water

about 1/2 cup chopped scallions (spring onions)

1/2 cup tofu pieces (I used sesame garlic tofu)

4 tbsp miso paste

3-4 kombu pieces

Method:

Boil the water in a cooking pot. Add the scallions and tofu pieces. Cook them for about 2 minutes. Then add the miso paste and the kombu pieces. Turn heat off. Stir well to mix.  Serve warm.

Vegetable California Rolls

Check my recipe that I posted for Spicy shrimp Sushi Rolls here for making sushi rolls. Skip the shrimp and only add cucumber and avocado pieces for a vegetarian version.

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