Ideal for a dish with a kick, Caravan share the recipe for this divine Burmese chicken salad with turmeric, chilli, lime & peanuts.
“The origins of this salad come from Burma, via a restaurant in Christchurch, New Zealand, called the Bohdi Tree. Our head chef at Caravan Exmouth Market, Nick Anderson, used to talk about this salad as one of the best things ever. We asked him to come up with a version and this is what happened. It has been on and off our menus for years with slight alterations each time, but this is our favourite version.
If you have trouble finding green papaya or kohlrabi, you can replace these ingredients with cucumber, celery, thinly sliced cabbage or unripe or green mango.”
For the salad:
• 4 skinless chicken breasts, ideally free-range
• 1 tbsp nam pla (fish sauce)
• 40g fresh ginger, peeled and sliced 4 coriander stalks
• 2 large carrots, peeled and jul enned
• 60g spinach leaves, sliced
• 1⁄2 green papaya, julienned 150g kohlrabi, julienned
• 1 red chilli, sliced
• Handful of coriander leaves, roug ly chopped
• Handful of mint leaves, roughly chopped
• 100g toasted peanuts, crushed
For the the dressing:
• 200ml vegetable oil or neutral flavoured oil
• 1 large brown onion, thinly sliced 2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
• 20g fresh ginger, peeled and finely chopped
• 1 tsp ground turmeric
• 1 tsp hot smoked paprika
• Zest of 3 limes
• 150ml lime juice
• 80ml nam pla (fish sauce)
1 First poach the chicken. Place the chicken breasts in a single layer into a pan – ideally the breasts should fit quite snugly on the bottom of the pan. Pour over 750ml water, or enough to just cover the breasts. Add the fish sauce, ginger and coriander stalks.
2 Place over a high heat to bring the contents of the pan to the boil quickly, then reduce the heat to as gentle a simmer as your stove allows. Cover with a lid and allow to simmer gently for 8 minutes. Turn the heat off and set aside with the lid on for a further 20 minutes. Remove the chicken from the liquid and set aside to cool. Once cool, shred the chicken making sure to tear the breasts lengthways to ensure long strips of meat. Set aside.
3 To make the dressing, heat a little of the vegetable oil in a pan over a medium heat and gently sweat the onions, garlic and ginger for 5–10 minutes until everything has completely softened but not browned.
4 Add the remainder of the oil to the pan with the turmeric and paprika and simmer for a few minutes so that the spices lose their ‘raw’ taste. Transfer the contents of the pan to a bowl and allow to cool completely. When completely cooled, add the lime zest and juice and fish sauce to the bowl and mix to combine. Taste and adjust with more lime juice or fish sauce as you see fit. Store the dressing in the fridge until ready to use – it will keep in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 5 days.
5 To assemble the salad, mix the shredded chicken in a large bowl with the carrot, spinach, green papaya and kohlrabi. Add the dressing, chilli and herbs and mix well. Transfer the salad to a serving dish and sprinkle crushed peanuts over the top to serve.
Note: We use a mandolin to prepare our julienned vegetables so that we get super-long spaghetti-style strips. If you don’t have a mandolin, use a vegetable peeler to create long strips, which you can fold in half, end on end, and then finely slice with a sharp knife.
Recipe courtesy of Caravan, extracted from Caravan: Dining All Day.