Coconut-poached Thai chicken noodle salad
This recipe is from my fourth cookbook, Scrumptious. It’s a really lovely fresh, tasty, healthy salad. Poaching the chicken in the coconut milk and aromatics first really does add to the flavour, and it’s worth the little extra time rather than just using a cooked chook. You can poach it well in advance and have the chicken sitting in the milk mixture in the fridge until you need it. The dressing can be made ahead, too.
Prep time – 30 minutes (or overnight)
Cooking time – 10 minutes
500g chicken breasts or thighs, skinless & boneless
½ onion or 3 shallots, chopped
1 tbsp peanut oil (or rice bran oil)
2 tbsp roughly chopped fresh ginger
1 stick lemongrass, pounded and chopped
1 tbsp ground cumin
1 x 400ml can coconut milk
¾ cup shredded coconut
¾ cup peanuts, chopped or whole
100g vermicelli noodles
2 cups chopped shanghai leaves (or pak choy, won bok, bok choy, or spinach)
2 large carrots, peeled and grated or julienned
2-3 sticks celery, finely chopped
¾ cup fresh coriander, chopped (leaves and stalks)
1 red chilli, finely chopped (optional)
2 tbsp fish sauce
2 tbsp brown sugar
1 ½ tbsp fresh lime juice
1 clove garlic, crushed
½ tsp sesame oil
Big pinch chilli flakes
Add the oil to a medium saucepan and place over a medium heat. Add the shallot/onion, ginger, lemongrass and cumin and cook, stirring, for a few minutes until fragrant.
Add the coconut milk and the chicken and increase the heat to high and bring to a gentle simmer. Simmer gently for 6-8 minutes, turning the chicken over once, until the chicken is cooked through (it should be white and opaque all the way through the thickest part – not pink or translucent). Remove from the heat and allow to cool a little. Transfer the chicken and the sauce into a bowl or container and refrigerate until needed – the longer the better for infusing flavour into the chicken (up to 2 days).
When ready to serve, shred the chicken into thin pieces with your fingers and set aside in a large bowl. Discard the liquid.
Preheat the oven to 180c regular bake.
Whisk the dressing ingredients together in a small bowl and set aside to infuse.
Add the coconut and peanuts to a small roasting tray and bake in the oven for 5-10 minutes, or until just turning golden (keep an eye on them). Set aside.
Add the noodles to a large bowl with the chopped Asian greens. Pour over boiling water to cover and leave for a few minutes until soft. Drain, and leave in the colander to cool for 10 minutes. Add to the chicken with the carrot, celery, coriander, chilli (if using) coconut and peanuts. Toss through the dressing and serve.
- Keeps for a day in an airtight container in the fridge.