Wednesday, October 23, 2013

chicken salad with grilled zucchini, raw sweet potato and onions in a coconut cream dressing | Thai flavors in a salad meal


A chicken salad with a few of my favorite vegetables and the flavors of coconut, lemon grass and galangal. Grilled slices of zucchini and slices of raw sweet potato make this salad absolutely adorable for me as I love multiple textures and flavors in a single bowl. The creamy coconut dressing is almost like a silken foil to the main ingredients, highlights of lemony flavors make sure you keep digging in till the salad lasts. I used fresh hot red chilies form the garden to give this salad a hot kick it required, balancing the sweetness of coconut milk and sweet potatoes and complementing the triple lime. Thai flavors in a refreshing salad.

Triple lime? That is my way of overcoming the lack of fresh greens in my salads. Lemon grass is abundant in my garden and now I have galangal as well. Lemon flavors come from the lime zest and a few chopped tender grapefruit leaves. My secret ingredients.

And then there is one more ingredient that is the star here. Ruchira Hoon of Coockaroo is someone who is a walking food encyclopedia, loves all sorts of exotic food and ingredients she sources from all over the places. It has been some time when she relocated to Islamabad and that is when she showered all of us blogger friends with surprises. Among the many surprises I got, was this lovely jar of Himalayan pink salt. Interestingly, I remember my grandmother calling this salt as Pakistani namak (Pakistani salt) or Sindhi namak (Sindh is also a state in Pakistan) and now Ruchira will be reading this post from Pakistan, a few coincidences keep happening in life. This jar of salt is manufactured in Pakistan.

A memory is revived and another created alright Ruchira? Maine tumhara namak khaya hai ;-)
You are special even if there was no salt involved darling :-)

I know you love these flavors and would recreate this recipe in your isloo kitchen for sure.


Himalayan pink salt is considered to be rich in minerals and hence it has a natural pink colour. I find it more flavorful and we use it for fasting recipes as well. We have been using this salt for my salads and raitas using this salt mostly, wherever the food is being eaten raw, this salt is great to use.

We use this salt for a few home remedies as well. Here are a few things I have myself tried with Himalayan pink salt.

  • Sipping about a quarter cup of hot water with 1/2 tsp of Himalayan pink salt helps in loosening cough and phlegm from the sinus and throat. I have personal experience of this remedy and it works every single time, just take care to keep sipping the salt water really slowly over 5-7 minutes.
  • Having a warm bath with a handful of this salt dissolved in bath water. Or just soak up in tub with a generous handful of this salt. Some essential minerals found in trace amounts are absorbed directly by skin and give you a relaxing bath. It is known to ease out muscle stiffness and pain. Almost as good as Epsom salt bath or soak. Magnesium is the mineral that work mostly but more minerals in trace amount also help. See how many minerals are found in pink salt.
  • Mixing this salt with pure extra virgin coconut oil and some lime zest to make a body scrub is a great way to have a nice soothing and cleansing spa experience. I use this scrub in winters more, followed by a warm bath.
Presence of 82 minerals in trace amounts is supposed to be a healthy supplement for an optimal metabolism in traditional medicine disciplines. Balancing the doshas, keeping the electrolyte balance right and everything related to it. The salt is also used for cleansing the digestive tract by using warm water solution but those methods are highly specialised and need to be done in supervision.

Replacing regular table salt with pink salt for daily consumption is a good idea, or at least having it in everything raw we eat.

This salad makes a meal with this salt as a supplement. Let's talk about the flavors that are still lingering in my memory. I am craving this bowl of salad now after a long arduous trek in Himalayas that we did last week. It would be a truly rejuvenating kinda meal for us.


ingredients:
(2 servings)

chicken breast poached* and shredded 1 cup
half a large zucchini sliced thinly
half a large sweet potato sliced thinly with skin (after washing it nicely)
sliced red onions 1/2 cup

For the dressing
2 tender grapefruit leaves thinly chopped (chiffonade)
one fat lemongrass root thrashed in mortar and pestle
2 cm piece of galangal thrashed in mortar and pestle
just a few squiggles of lime zest
one small fresh red chilly finely chopped or to taste
coconut cream 1/2 cup (I used a brand from Kerala called Dinesh Kera milk)
salt and pepper to taste

procedure:

Mix all the ingredients of the dressing and start preparing for other ingredients. A 20-30 minute soak is good enough to get the flavors shine while you poach and shred the chicken breast, slice and grill the zucchini etc.

*The chicken breast is poached for about 15 minutes in lightly salted water and a large handful of lemongrass leaves, 2 grapefruit leaves and a small piece of galangal. The stock can be used to make a soup so save it and freeze if required. Shred the chicken breast when cold and use as per the recipe.

Grill the sliced zucchini in oven or on gas flame over a steel grid. No need to season them. It tales just a few minutes to grill them once placed over the grid.

Mix everything together and serve right away. There will be a competition to have more helpings of this salad by everyone who is on the table trust me. Both of us have those moments with such salad meals as we dig from the bowl right away, not serving ourselves in proper plates. Fun meals I would say.

You might be reluctant to use raw slices of sweet potatoes but try it once and see how it adds another sweet dimension to such a salad and an extra crunch as well. Grilled zucchini is a smoky soft goodness with nothing gourd like about it. I would like a few slices of grilled aubergine slices as well in this salad next time.

Tell me if you try this salad. Such meals are cherished by the family, the aromatic herbs make sure everyone feels connected at meal time. There is something magical about aromatic herbs I tell you. Use them more.


2 comments:

  1. Like I told you before, i love your salad recipes and can't wait to try this one out.

    I use Pink Salt a lot too and Shan is indeed a very good brand. their Biryani and tandoori masalas are awesome too.

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  2. So interesting. Love the variety of textures and flavours. yay for Himalayan salt... yummy salad!

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