I love this dish because it is so fresh and full of flavour!
I know that salads can sometimes sound boring. I actually didn’t start eating salads until I was 19! Yes 19, how silly of me. This was mostly because I grew up thinking salad was simply iceberg lettuce, cucumber and tomato which did not appeal to me whatsoever. But once I moved out of home and college and actually started cooking for myself, I realised that salads don’t have to be boring. I love a salad full of texture and bold flavours. You feel good eating it and it’s so satisfying on the tastebuds.
This Vietnamese inspired salad is also really easy to modify, depending on what you have in the fridge. Anything goes. I like to mix it up with cucumber, carrot, broad beans, peas, green beans and cabbage. I also like to keep all the salad ingredients in separate little bowls/plates and then everyone can build their own bowls! It’s a great idea for dinner at home with friends.
OK here’s the recipe!
Ingredients (for the flavour)
- 1 stick of lemongrass (white part only)
- 5 cm piece of ginger
- 1 large fresh red chilli
- 1½ tablespoons sesame oil
- 1 tablespoon low-salt soy sauce
- 2 tablespoons runny honey
- 2 tablespoons hoisin sauce
- 2 limes
- 1 tablespoon rice wine vinegar
Ingredients (for the salad)
- 4 free-range skinless chicken thighs
- 1 x 225 g packet of brown rice vermicelli
- 2 large shallots
- 2 spring onions
- ½ a bunch of fresh coriander
- ½ a bunch of fresh mint
- 3 tablespoons peanut oil
- 100 g frozen edamame beans
- 200 g baby spinach
- 150g sugar snap peas
- Pre-heat oven to 200ºC (395ºF).
- Remove and discard the tough outer leaves from the lemongrass, then finely chop (white parts only). Peel and grate the ginger, then finely chop the chilli (remove seeds if you don’t want it too hot).
- Place lemongrass, ginger and chilli in a large bowl with the sesame oil, soy sauce, honey, hoisin sauce, the zest from 1 lime and the juice from 2 limes. Mix well, then pour half into a small bowl.
- Add rice wine vinegar to the small bowl. This will be your salad dressing.
- Add the chicken (keep the chicken thighs whole) to the other bowl. Give it a stir and leave to marinate while you prepare the rest of the dish.
- Cook edamame beans as per packet instructions. Drain and rinse under cold water. Set aside.
- Place the chicken in a small roasting tin and pop in the oven for 30 minutes, or until cooked through.
- Heat 1 tbsp of peanut oil in a large pan and add the chicken. Cook for 1 minute each side so they are nice and golden. Chop into large chunks.
- Peel and slice the shallots. Trim and chop the spring onions. Then pick the mint and coriander leaves.
- Heat the oil in a small pan over a medium-high heat. Once hot, add the shallots and cook for 3 to 5 minutes, or until golden brown. Remove and set aside on a tray lined with paper towel.
- Cook vermicelli noodles according to packet instructions.
- Combine the noodles with the remaining dressing, baby spinach, spring onion, raw sugar snap peas, edamame and herbs. Top with the chicken and garnish with the shallots.
Recipe serves 4 people.