You’ll be forgiven for forgetting that it’s summer. With the grey skies, the miserable wet weather, the dads in the garden trying to defy mother nature and keep their smouldering BBQ flames alive.. we’re all trying to keep a stiff upper lip.
Not unlike the BBQ dads, CB and I are desperately trying to keep the idea of summer afloat: from wandering around our flat in shorts (we live in an energy efficient hot box), to Google searches for the nearest beer gardens (BYO umbrella), to braving an open-toe sandal to work (trench foot). But our most successful attempt to keep summer alive is by making absolutely delicious salads, and this is one of our favourites.
Don’t be put off by the fact that there are three elements to this dish: the chicken, the salad, and the dressing. I promise, it really isn’t difficult and you really don’t have to prepare much in advance as you’ll be multi-tasking. You will absolutely need a food processor or blender, though.
Trust me, your work colleagues are going to be cooing over your lunch tomorrow when you rock up with these leftovers. Be sure to lick the contents in case your lunchbox goes walkies (yes, Jeff – everyone knows it’s you. Your summer cold? Let’s just say I was patient zero).
Sriracha Chicken Salad with Orange & Peanut Dressing
2 tbsp fish sauce
2 tbsp brown sugar
2 tbsp rice wine vinegar
1/2 tbsp soy sauce
2 tbsp sriracha
2 tsp sambal olek (chilli paste – or just more sriracha if you don’t have it)
1 tbsp ginger (roughly chopped)
450g diced chicken breast (a tofu substitute here would work too)
1 tbsp vegetable oil
All of this straight into a salad bowl and toss. Cucumber and spring onions can easily be substituted with your veg of choice.
3/4 white cabbage (thinly shredded)
1 carrot (grated)
3/4 cucumber (halved with seeds scooped out so it doesn’t get soggy, chopped)
2 spring onions (trimmed and finely sliced)
1 red pepper (finely chopped)
1 yellow pepper (finely chopped)
herb medley – we recommend a handful chives, a handful of mint leaves, and a small bunch coriander leaves (all finely chopped – basil would work too)
1/2 cup dry-roasted peanuts (or whatever peanuts you can find – crushed)
Orange & Peanut Dressing
All of these ingredients are going into the blender, so your prep only needs to be as good as your blender blades i.e. shitty blades = chop finer.
1 orange (zested and juiced)
juice 1 lime
1 garlic clove (roughly chopped)
1 tbsp ginger (roughly chopped)
1 tsp sriracha
1 tsp sesame oil
2 tbsp honey
1 tsp soy sauce
1 tbsp coriander leaves
2 tbsp dry-roasted peanuts
- To create the chicken marinade blend all the ingredients from fish sauce to the garlic. Check to see if it’s to your taste – add more sugar if too sharp. Pour over the diced chicken in a bowl, and stick this in the fridge for at least 15 mins while you prepare the salad ingredients.
- Prepare all the salad ingredients in a salad bowl. Ensure you toss it so it’s well mixed.
- Grab a large frying pan and heat the vegetable oil over a medium heat until hot. Add in the chicken and marinade and leave to fry, stirring occasionally. This should take at least 10 minutes, potentially 15.
- While the chicken is cooking, prepare the salad dressing ingredients and blend. Have a taste and adjust to your liking.
- Serve the chicken on the bed of salad, and pour over as much of the orange and peanut dressing as you like.