Mighty Thai-sty

Thai Piquant Chicken Salad in a Lettuce Cup
To say that I love Thai food would be the understatement of the year. I dream about the spicy and silky coconut infused curries. I crave the sweet and crunchy Pad Thai noodles. A steaming, fragrant bowl of Tom Kha Kai soup will melt away the last of my worries. When I’ve had one of those days and I’m in need of a pick-me-up, a bright, crisp Thai salad will usually do the trick.
One of my favourite Thai salads is the Piquant Chicken Salad. My mom first made this when we were living in Holland, and it quickly became a mainstay. Shredded chicken is married in blissful harmony with a dressing of chili powder, lime juice, sugar and fish sauce. The way that the intensely savoury fish sauce plays off of the bright lime juice to me is the very definition of balance. Crunch is added by way of nutty toasted rice and thinly sliced shallots. A final spattering of chives and mint take the freshness to new heights. Scooped into lettuce cups, dressing oozing down your arm and a icy cold Thai iced tea to wash it all down with, now that’s mighty tasty.
Thai Piquant Chicken Salad
  • 2 tbs glutinous rice
  • 10 small shallots or 6 medium
  • 30g chives
  • 40 leaves of fresh mint
  • 1 lb chicken breasts
  • 2 tsp chili powder
  • 4 tbs fish sauce
  • 4 tbs lime juice
  • 1 tsp sugar

Dry toast the rice in a pan until golden and then finely grind in a mortar and pestle or food processor. Set aside. Thinly slice the shallots and chop the chives into 1 inch lengths. Stack the mint leaves one on top of the other, roll up and chiffonade into thin strips.

Bring a large pot of water to the boil and add the chicken breats. Reduce the heat and simmer the chicken until cooked through, about 15 minutes. Remove the breasts from the water and allow to cool slightly before finely shredding it using two forks. Add the shredded chicken to a large salad bowl and toss together with the rice, shallots, chives and mint. Now add the chili powder, lime juice, sugar and fish sauce and mix well to coat the chicken. Cover and allow to marinate for an hour. Garnish with mint leaves and serve with lettuce cups and steamed rice.

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