This week, Rachel from Rachel Cooks Thai is here as our Guest Blogger of the Week!
Rachel’s blog is one of my favorites! It’s always exciting and inspiring to see what dish she is making next on her adventure cooking authentic Thai food in an American kitchen.
When I started following Rachel, not only was I blown away by her beautiful and hunger-pain-inducing photographs but how she approaches each dish methodically and with so much respect to the origin dish.
She even has an pretty comprehensive online Thai Pantry which makes finding specialty ingredients unbelievably easy.
I am so excited to have her here today to share her Thai-Inspired Chicken Salad with Peanut Sauce Dressing!
Thanks again Rachel!
When Alyssa asked me to participate in her Guest Blogger of the Week series, I jumped at the opportunity. I love Everyday Maven, the health-conscious recipes, the gorgeous photography, and especially the concept behind it. And like Alyssa, I am in full support of making great-tasting food that’s good for you! So today I’m honored to share with you a recipe for a deliciously simple Thai-inspired salad.
With the recent arrival of Spring and its wonderfully warm weather, I’ve been feeling like eating salads more and more. Growing up in Louisiana, Spring and Summer were absolutely the best times of year to eat fresh green salads. These were the times when just the thought of a chilled green salad was enough to cool you down, when it was too hot to throw together anything else.
Growing up in Thailand, the boyfriend also had his fair share of warm Spring and Summer weather… But the salads he grew up eating were different. They were composed of things like rice noodles, ground pork, or shredded green mango. Lettuce, however, wasn’t a core ingredient in any of these salads.
So when I told the boyfriend that I was thinking of making a Thai-inspired green salad, he was skeptical. He had seen too many “Thai-inspired” salads in the U.S. made with things like sesame oil, miso paste, and fried chow mein noodles. Fortunately for him, none of these ingredients were on my mind – I wanted instead to create a fusion of Western and Thai ingredients without compromising the integrity or flavors of either.
That said, this Thai-inspired green salad is very simple in concept and execution as well. I just tossed some baby butter leaf lettuce together with apple while the chicken was grilling. Then I dry roasted a few peanuts, made a batch of a traditional Thai peanut sauce, and drizzled both on top. It was quick, easy, and absolutely delicious.
But perhaps the best part was when the boyfriend said he was blown away that a Thai-inspired green salad could taste so good!
That’s the neat thing about getting to know another culture – having the ability to take the best of what it has to offer and combine it with the best of your own culture to create something truly special. I guess that’s really the best part…
- This recipe calls for Thai roasted chili paste (nam prik pao) which can be bought at many Asian grocery stores. I use the Pantainorasingh brand pictured on my Pantry Page. If you’re planning on doing any Thai cooking at all, this roasted chili paste is indispensable, so I’d encourage you to pick up a bottle!
- The Peanut Sauce Dressing makes approximately 8 servings. Store unused portion covered in the refrigerator for up to 10 days.
- I used a 10-ounce chicken breast to calculate the Points Plus. The salad is 8 Points Plus Per Serving without the dressing.
- The Peanut Sauce makes approximately 1 cup. There are eight 2-tablespoon servings, each serving being 3 Points Plus.
- 1 head baby butter leaf lettuce
- 1 large chicken breast, boneless and skinless
- 1 Tablespoon roasted chili paste (nam prik pao)
- ¼ cup peanuts
- 1 red apple
- ¾ cup coconut milk
- 1 Tablespoon roasted chili paste (nam prik pao)
- 3 Tablespoons peanut butter
- 2 Tablespoons sugar
- 1 teaspoon fish sauce
- 1 teaspoon white vinegar
- Wash your chicken breast and then rub 1 tablespoon of roasted chili paste over it.
- Grill the chicken over medium high heat for several minutes on each side, until it is cooked through but still nice and moist.
- While the chicken is grilling, make your peanut sauce. Heat the coconut milk in a saucepan over medium heat. Once it's hot, add the roasted chili paste and let simmer for a minute or two (you should start to see oil from the roasted chili paste come to the surface of the milk). Then add the rest of the ingredients, mix well, and take off the heat. Taste and adjust accordingly. Don’t be afraid to add some water (up to ½ cup) until the sauce is the thickness you prefer.
- Dry roast ¼ cup of peanuts over medium high heat until they’re golden brown.
- Slice your apple thinly and squeeze some lime juice over it if not eating immediately.
- Once all the components are prepared, assemble your salad. Top the lettuce with sliced apple, grilled chicken, and roasted peanuts. Drizzle your peanut sauce dressing on top and enjoy!