Meaty Summer Salads

asian beef salad


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Meaty Summer Salads & Perfect Poached Chicken

Unfortunately I'm married to a man who thinks a salad isn't a real meal, and if I'm to have any hope of him eating a cool, light, refreshing salad on a hot summer's day, as his main meal, it's got to have plenty of meat in it. To be fair to Ron, he has greatly improved on the variety of dishes he'll eat, but he still thinks lettuce is for rabbits. So, if you have a man in your life, or kids, like Ron, I hope that the delicious salad below will help change their minds about what a main meal should be.

asian beef saladAsian style chicken or beef salad
Served in a bowl, or wrapped in a soft flour tortilla, it's light and refreshing with lots of flavour.
Serve 4 to 6

1 cooked BBQ chicken (or use poached chicken) – sliced (Note: I’ve given details on how to poach chicken below, it’s easy.
OR 1 to 2 tblspns oil 500gm to 750gm rump steak or similar tender steak (eye fillet would be the best) – amount will depend on how much meat you like in your salad, and how many you are feeding

Hoisin Dressing

1/3 cup rice wine vinegar (OR substitute apple cider vinegar (also add a pinch of sugar if you like), OR white wine vinegar, OR 3 parts white vinegar + 1 part water)
1 1/2 tblspns soy sauce
3 tblspns hoisin sauce
½ to 1 tblspn fresh ginger – peeled and grated (or use the readymade minced ginger – try 1 tspn – add more if you want)
2 tspns sesame oil (it's very strong, so you might want to use less to start with and add more if you want to)
3 tblspns vegetable oil

In a small bowl combine the vinegar, soy, hoisin and ginger, then whisk in both oils and set aside. (Or place all the ingredients into a screw top jar and shake vigorously.)

Basic Salad Ingredients

2 sticks celery - sliced or diced
2 to 4 spring onions - sliced
1/4 med Chinese cabbage (wonga bok) – finely sliced (if you can’t get a Chinese cabbage, then use a savoy cabbage finely sliced – the flavour will be stronger)
1 carrot – peeled and shredded
handful of snow peas – finely shredded
2 tblspns each chopped fresh coriander leaves and/or parsley leaves and/or mint - optional, if you don't like them, or haven't got any on hand, leave them out

Chicken Salad:
Mix the salad ingredients with the chicken in large bowl.
Pour in some of the dressing and gently toss to coat all the ingredients.
Add more dressing if you feel it needs it. Serve.

Beef Salad:
Cook your steak in a lightly oiled hot pan or on a BBQ plate until just cooked.
Remove, cover with foil to keep warm and set aside for 5 minutes. (It’s important that you allow the meat to rest. Allowing the meat to stand away from the heat before serving allows the juices, which have been driven to the centre of the meat to redistribute and be reabsorbed. As a result the meat will loose less juice when you cut it and be far more tender and juicy.)
Slice the rested steak into strips and add to the salad ingredients and dressing as above.

Viv's hint: You can add whatever vegetables you like or have on hand: i.e. radishes, baby spinach leaves, watercress, tomatoes, capsicum, cucumber, bean shoots. For added crunch you can also sprinkle over some roasted, chopped peanuts, and some fried spring onions (readily availably in the Chinese section of the supermarket).


Warm Thai Chicken Salad with Coconut Lime Dressing
thai chicken salad with coconut lime dressingA lovely, easy meal, especially if you use a cooked chook.


1 1/2 cups jasmine rice
2 cups chicken stock
400ml can coconut cream - 1 cup for the rice / remainder for dressing
1 BBQ cooked chicken
200gm snow peas - thinly sliced lengthwise
1 carrot - grated
1/2 cup chopped fresh basil leaves
salt, pepper to taste

Coconut Lime Dressing
2 tblspns lime juice
2 tblspns fish sauce (more or less to taste)
2 tblspns sweet chilli sauce
remainder of coconut cream

Combine the reserved coconut cream in a bowl with the dressing ingredients and mix well to combine.

Combine the rice, stock and 1 cup of the coconut cream in a pan.
Bring to the boil, the reduce the heat and simmer, covered, for 15 mins, or until almost all of the liquid is absorbed.
Stand, covered, for 10 minutes.
Meanwhile, remove skin and bones from the chicken and shred the meat coarsely.
Place the warmed cooked rice mixture into a large serving bowl, add the chicken, snow peas, carrot, basil and half of the dressing and toss to combine.
Season to taste.
Stand for 5 minutes before serving.
Add more dressing if you want just before serving.


How to Poach Chicken Pieces perfect for a salad

For moist, tender chicken pieces, you can't go wrong using this simple cooking method:
This method will not work using a whole chicken!!

Chicken (boneless chicken breast, split chicken breast or chicken thighs)
Liquid - water and/or chicken stock
Flavorings of your choice, such as: rosemary, bay leaf, thyme, oregano, lemon zest, ginger, garlic, seasonings such as Mediterranean or Thai, celery, onions, carrots, etc.
The basics though should always include onion, carrot and celery, at the very least.

Place chicken pieces in the bottom of a saucepan. They should fit in a single layer, but fit quite snugly.
Add enough of the liquid to cover the chicken.
Add the vegetables and herbs and season with salt and pepper.
Bring the liquid to a boil and then reduce to a gentle simmer.
Simmer for two minutes.
If using chicken pieces with the bone-in, then you'll need to simmer for an additional 5 minutes.
Remove pan from the heat and cover, and let sit for 30 minutes.
You can leave it for up to an hour or so, it will not overcook.
Slice or shred the chicken.
Don't forget to keep the liquid the chicken has been cooked in, you can use it as a soup base, in risottos, liquid for cooking rice, or gravy.


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