Monday, May 29, 2017

Thai Mango Chicken Salad

menumusings.com
Okay, so I may be a little hung up on salads right now. After all, it IS summer and the produce is so nice and cool and refreshing right now.  However... my kiddos don't necessarily share my enthusiasm yet.  I can see a lot of head bobs from the moms out there.  This chicken with Thai peanut sauce does double duty as a fantastic salad and as fun skewers for the kids at your table who may not be down with the salad idea.  The ones at my house finished off every bit of the grilled chicken skewers that were left with rave reviews!  

If you are short on time, don't sweat it, you can always pick up a jar of Thai peanut dressing in the Asian isle of your favorite grocery store.  But for those of you who like to know exactly what's in your food, it really is NOT hard to make at all.  You will seriously be the envy of your office if you bring this salad for lunch.. so bring extra! 


Ingredients: (4 servings)
  • One pack of chicken breasts
    • Monterey chicken seasoning
    • 1/2 cup coconut milk
    • 1 1/2 Tbsp fresh lime juice
    • 1 Tbsp ginger paste
    • 1/4 cup chopped cilantro
  • Thai Peanut Dressing
    • 1 cup light coconut milk
    • 1/2 cup chicken broth
    • 2 tsp red curry paste
    • 1/3 cup creamy peanut butter
    • 2 Tbsp brown sugar
    • 3 Tbsp fresh lime juice
    • 1/2 - 1 tsp sambal oelek
    • 1 tsp corn starch
    • Couple pinches of kosher salt to finish
  • Romaine lettuce
  • Mango chunks, diced
  • Red pepper strips
  • Rice noodles
  • Chopped peanuts
  • Cole slaw mix
  • Cucumber strips
Step-by-Step Photos:
Here's the plan of attack.  Get the chicken marinating in all this goodness.  Make the dressing.  Grill the chicken.  Make the salad.  Bam!  

I.  Marinate the chicken.
This is nothing more complicated than 1 - season, and 2 - mix.  The lime juice and coconut milk with help tenderize the chicken while it marinates and we make the dressing.  Using the Monterey chicken seasoning lets us get away with using only one seasoning rather than several (a real time saver here).
Season liberally with Monterey chicken seasoning

1/2 cup coconut milk
1 1/2 Tbsp fresh lime juice
If you can't find this ginger paste, use finely chopped, peeled ginger.  But I promise you, this Gourmet Garden makes some awesome herb pastes that can save you a ton of time in the kitchen!  *Not a paid promotion by any means.  I'm just a busy chic!  If you need to use fresh ginger, by all means, do so.
1 Tbsp ginger paste
1/4 cup fresh chopped cilantro
Set aside and allow to marinate.
II.  The Dressing. 
All we do here is mix together, bring to a boil and reduce until thickened a bit.  Then let it cool. 
1 cup light coconut milk
1/2 cup chicken broth
1/3 cup creamy peanut butter (I can't lie, I love Peter Pan Honey Roasted.  But use what you prefer.)
2 Tbsp brown sugar
3 Tbsp fresh lime juice
2 tsp red curry paste
1/2 - 1 tsp sambal oelek
1 tsp corn starch 
 Whisk together until smooth.
 Poor into a small saucepan.
 Bring to a nice boil.
Cook until the dressing has reduced (observe the level on the side of the pot) and thickened a bit. Tasted the sauce and see if it tastes "flat."  If so, add a couple pinches of kosher salt to finish.  Set aside to cool.

III.  Grill the Chicken.  
You can obviously do this on your outside grill, but it works equally well on the stovetop.  
Non-stick cooking spray of your choice
Make sure your pan is really nice and hot.  When you put the chicken down, you should be able to hear them!  Also, once you put them down, leave them alone!  They will naturally release from the pan when they are ready.  If they are still "sticking" to the pan, they are NOT ready to be turned.
Grill on both sides until juices run clear when pierced with a sharp knife.  But please do not overcook them.  We want nice, juicy chicken.  Dry chicken is not yummy!  Set aside and allow them to rest without cutting them for a few minutes.   You can be cutting your veggies or something.
**Salad/Skewer Diversion**
Okay, so if you have non-salad eaters at your place, I did mention that you might consider using this recipe for skewers with a peanut sauce.  Yep.  So I made my Littles a pot of rice pilaf to go with it and this was their meal.  It was a home run for them!  
menumusings.com
Thai Chicken Skewers with Peanut Dipping Sauce
IV.  Salad Assembly
Nothing but putting it all together.  No right or wrong way.  Want more or less of something?  Want a different thing?  It's your call.  It's your meal.  

I started with a bed of Romaine and added a nice handful of crunchy coleslaw blend.  The one with the purple cabbage and carrots.  I love lots of color in my salads.  
Not that my chicken has had time to rest, I cut a chicken breast into pretty strips.  
I added the chicken strips to the salad.  I can already tell that this is going to be enough salad for two meals.  OMG!  
Add a handful of sweet, ripe mango chunks.
Add some sweet red pepper strips.
 For fun, I added a few rice noodles.  
Now a few chopped peanuts.  It wouldn't be Thai without peanuts.
Some cool crisp cucumber strips.
Now when ready to serve, drizzle on some of your cooled peanut dressing.
Here we have a salad that is bright and exciting with a balance of flavors, textures and hopefully hits all the different parts of your palate!
 Okay, and for real... share with someone!  LOL!!!

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Written Method:

Step-by-Step Photos:
Here's the plan of attack.  Get the chicken marinating in all this goodness.  Make the dressing.  Grill the chicken.  Make the salad.  Bam!  

I.  Marinate the chicken.
This is nothing more complicated than 1 - season, and 2 - mix.  The lime juice and coconut milk with help tenderize the chicken while it marinates and we make the dressing.  Using the Monterey chicken seasoning lets us get away with using only one seasoning rather than several (a real time saver here).

If you can't find ginger paste, use finely chopped, peeled ginger.
II.  The Dressing. 
All we do here is mix together, bring to a boil and reduce until thickened a bit.  Then let it cool. 
Cook until the dressing has reduced (observe the level on the side of the pot) and thickened a bit. Tasted the sauce and see if it tastes "flat."  If so, add a couple pinches of kosher salt to finish.  Set aside to cool.
III.  Grill the Chicken.  
You can obviously do this on your outside grill, but it works equally well on the stovetop.  
Make sure your pan is really nice and hot.  When you put the chicken down, you should be able to hear them!  Also, once you put them down, leave them alone!  They will naturally release from the pan when they are ready.  If they are still "sticking" to the pan, they are NOT ready to be turned.
Grill on both sides until juices run clear when pierced with a sharp knife.  But please do not overcook them.  We want nice, juicy chicken.  Dry chicken is not yummy!  Set aside and allow them to rest without cutting them for a few minutes.   You can be cutting your veggies or something.
**Salad/Skewer Diversion**
Okay, so if you have non-salad eaters at your place, I did mention that you might consider using this recipe for skewers with a peanut sauce.  
IV.  Salad Assembly
Nothing but putting it all together.  No right or wrong way.  Want more or less of something?  Want a different thing?  It's your call.  It's your meal.  

I started with a bed of Romaine and added a nice handful of crunchy coleslaw blend.  The one with the purple cabbage and carrots.  I love lots of color in my salads.  
Not that my chicken has had time to rest, I cut a chicken breast into pretty strips.  
I added the chicken strips to the salad.
Add a handful of sweet, ripe mango chunks.
Add some sweet red pepper strips.
For fun, I added a few rice noodles.  
Now a few chopped peanuts.  It wouldn't be Thai without peanuts.
Some cool crisp cucumber strips.
Now when ready to serve, drizzle on some of your cooled peanut dressing.
Here we have a salad that is bright and exciting with a balance of flavors, textures and hopefully hits all the different parts of your palate!
Okay, and for real... share with someone!  LOL!!!

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