Recipes | Spicy chicken salad

Recipes

Spicy chicken salad

We normally think of lunchboxes in terms of kids' packed lunches but James Ramsden has come up with this a brilliant book of imaginative dishes you can take to work. Called - appropriately enough - Love your Lunchbox.

Spicy chicken salad

Serves 2

This is based on a south-east Asian salad, larb gai, which is, like much of the food in them parts, pretty fiery. This is a pared-back version, though you could always ramp up the chilli quotient. Should keep your colleagues off your lunch, if nothing else.

Prep time: 20 minutes

Cooking time: 7 minutes

Freezable? Yes

2–3 skinless, boneless chicken thighs

1 shallot, peeled and chopped

stalks from a bunch of coriander (cilantro), finely chopped

½ stalk of lemongrass, finely chopped

zest of ½ lime

1 red chilli, deseeded and finely chopped

1 tbsp Thai fish sauce

1 tbsp groundnut (peanut) or vegetable oil, plus extra for cooking

4 large-ish Little Gem lettuce leaves (outer leaves, as opposed to inner)

coriander (cilantro) leaves

For the dressing

juice of ½ lime

1 tbsp Thai fish sauce

1 tsp soft brown sugar

bottom half of a Thai chilli, finely chopped

AT HOME

Put the chicken, shallot, coriander stalks, lemongrass, lime zest, chilli, fish sauce and 1 tbsp oil in a blender and pulse until the chicken is well minced. Alternatively, finely and thoroughly chop with a knife.

Heat a splash of oil in a sauté pan or saucepan over a medium–high heat and add the chicken mixture. Cook, stirring regularly, for about 7 minutes, until cooked through and crisp in places. Set aside to cool, then store in the fridge for up to 2 days.

Mix the dressing ingredients together and store in a jar.

IN EACH LUNCHBOX

A portion of chicken (in a microwaveable vessel); lettuce leaves, coriander; dressing.

TO FINISH

Reheat the chicken in a microwave on medium for 3–4 minutes. Serve on lettuce leaves with a few coriander leaves and a spoonful of dressing.

What to drink:

Assuming you're taking this to work I'm taking it for granted you're not going to be drinking alcohol but any sharp, citrussy soft drink would be a good match. Even sparkling water with a slice of lemon or lime. If you're making it at home it would go down very well with a glass of Aussie riesling.

Recipe extracted from Love your Lunchbox: 101 Do-ahead recipes to liven up lunchtime by James Ramsden, published by Pavilion. Photograph © Martin Poole

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