For an instantaneous journey to an exotic locale, Australian chef Chris Rendell of Flinders Lane in the East Village offers his recipe for Coconut-Poached Chicken Salad. The flavors of Asia figure prominently in Australian cuisine, and Rendell is adept at bringing them together in a delicious way.
Get ready for all the different textures and pops of flavors—from fresh herbs like mint and cilantro, to the sublime coconut dressing (which doubles as a poaching liquid for the chicken) to the salty-sweet caramelized roasted peanuts.
Coconut-Poached Chicken Salad With Mint, Salted Peanuts, and Snow Peas
Prep & Cooking Time: 55 minutes
1 cup peanuts
4 chicken breasts, cleaned and skin off
1 2/3 cups coconut milk
13 teaspoons fish sauce (8 teaspoons for the peanuts, 5 teaspoons to poach the chicken)
8 teaspoons confectioners’ sugar
2.12 ounces palm sugar
1 tablespoon chili jam
5 teaspoons lime juice
2 red chilies, julienned
1/2 medium-sized coconut, white meat removed and grated
1 bunch scallions, cut in rounds
Lime leaf, cut in chiffonade (rolled tight and cut in long strips)
Cilantro leaves, picked
Fresh bean sprouts
Snow peas, blanched and finely julienned
10 red shallots, finely sliced
Lime zest, minced
For the Peanuts:
Marinate the peanuts in fish sauce and confectioners’ sugar, just enough to coat the peanuts (use equal amounts of fish sauce and confectioners’ sugar). Allow to marinate for 20 minutes and roast them in the oven at 300 F until golden, about 15 minutes. (Note: once marinated, they can also be kept in an airtight container).
To Poach the Chicken:
Place the chicken, coconut milk, palm sugar, and fish sauce in a saucepan, and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and poach gently for 10–12 minutes. Reserve the poaching liquid, which will be used as the coconut dressing.
Remove from heat and allow to cool. Remove chicken from saucepan to a cutting board and cut into strips. Stir the chili jam into the coconut milk and taste. Adjust if necessary.
To Assemble the Dish:
To the chicken add julienned chilies, shaved coconut, sliced scallions, lime leaf, blanched and sliced snow peas, minced lime zest, cilantro, mint, bean sprouts, and shallots. Stir to mix well. Top with coconut dressing and roasted peanuts.