Inspiration can come to you in many ways. It might not be directly,  it might be a holiday at the beach like it was for me. We went to Noosa for a week in early January. I had not been  to Noosa for over a year. I had forgotten how special Noosa is. It has this personality that I have not found anywhere else. I took a few photos to try and capture the essence of Noosa but I don’t think my photographs can show you how wonderful it is. You have to go and visit and then you will know what I mean.

I had lunch at a lovely restaurant on Hastings St  called Bistro C. It has a wonderful ambience and looks directly onto Noosa beach. Always popular with locals and tourists Bistro C serves fantastic meals using many local products. I ordered a Coconut Chicken Salad. It was absolutely delicious and when I returned home I tried to copy it. While it didn’t turn out exactly the same, it was very tasty.

Firstly I toasted some coconut in the oven until crunchy and light brown. I marinated the chicken  in ginger and garlic and then poached it in coconut milk. There is lots of chopping and I used my mandolin attachment to shred the carrot, cucumber and ginger.

It makes a wonderful meal for a humid summer evening. I hope the recipe inspires you like Noosa inspired me.

Recipe

Coconut Chicken Salad

Ingredients (serves 4)

  • 2 large (about 500g) chicken breast fillets marinated in ginger and garlic for 2 hours or longer
  • 400g can coconut milk
  • 1 stalk lemon grass, white part only, chopped
  • 1/2 chinese cabbage, finely shredded
  • 1 carrot, peeled, shredded on mandolin
  • 1 capsicum chopped into fine pieces
  • 2 cups (110g) bean sprouts, ends trimmed
  • 2 green onions, trimmed, cut into matchsticks
  • 1 bunch coriander, leaves picked
  • 1 bunch Vietnamese mint, leaves picked
  • 1/2 cup round mint leaves
  • 4 kaffir lime leaves, very finely shredded
  • 1/2 cup of toasted coconut
  • 1/2 cup (80g) unsalted roasted peanuts, coarsely chopped
  • Bought fried shallots, to serve (see notes)
  • Dressing

  • 1/4 cup (60ml) lime juice
  • 1 piece of ginger chopped finely
  • 1/4 cup (45g) shaved palm sugar or caster sugar
  • 1/4 cup of peanut oil
  • 2 tbs fish sauce
  • 6 tbs coconut or rice vinegar (see notes)
  • 1 tbs light soy sauce
  • 1 red birdseye chilli, seeded, finely chopped

Method

  1. After marinating the chicken in garlic and ginger, place chicken, coconut milk and lemon grass in a large frying pan over medium heat. Bring to a simmer, reduce heat to low and cook, turning occasionally, for 10 minutes or until chicken is just cooked through. Remove from heat and set aside for 15 minutes to cool slightly. Transfer to a bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Place in fridge for 2 hours to chill.
  2. To make the dressing, combine the lime juice, sugar, fish sauce, vinegar, soy sauce, peanut oil and chilli in a small bowl.
  3. Drain coconut milk mixture from chicken. Finely shred chicken. Combine the wombok, carrot, bean sprouts, green onion, coriander, mints and lime leaves in a large bowl. Add the chicken and toasted coconut toss to combine. Add the dressing and toss to combine. Divide evenly among serving bowls. Sprinkle with peanuts and coriander to serve.
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