This salad is beautifully aromatic and makes me really happy every time I eat it. I’m dedicating this post to a wonderful family friend who is a talented cook and generous host. I seldom get to see her nowadays, but I think of her often especially when I am in the kitchen. She taught me the method I use below to cook the chicken. I love that it is energy saving, and I can leave the kitchen for an hour while it works its magic. You can use it for a variety of dishes where you might otherwise steam the chicken. If you prefer to substitute portions for the whole chicken, I would suggest thighs for their succulence. They could easily be cut into strips and pan-fried as a quicker alternative.
The salad can be served with fluffy long grain or basmati rice and a side of sugar snaps or broccoli.
I have used relatively rough measurements, as much of it depends on the size of the chicken and your taste preference. I love coriander and sesame, so I use lots of it. The preparation and cooking together take up to two hours in total.
Oriental style chicken, coriander and sesame salad
- 1 chicken (corn fed if you can get it)
- 2 bay leaves
- 1/2 teaspoon whole peppercorns
- 5 cups water (enough to cover chicken breast-down in pot)
- handful of sesame seeds, toasted
- 1 cup of coriander leaves (cilantro), roughly chopped
- freshly ground black pepper
- sesame oil
- the juice of ½-1 lime
- soy sauce
Wash the chicken carefully paying attention to the cavity area and removing any clumps of fat. Put the bay leaves and peppercorns in a big pot and place the whole chicken in the pot breast-down. Pour in the water, turn to a high heat and bring to the boil. Boil on a medium heat for a further 5 minutes for a small chicken to 10 minutes for a large one, keeping the pot covered. Then turn off the heat without removing the lid. Set a timer for 60 minutes and leave to steep.
Put your feet up with a cuppa tea and a slice of yummy cake, and read some nice blogs or do something else inspiring.
After 60 minutes, put the chicken back on a high heat and boil for the same amount of time as before. If there is still pink meat, you may need to boil for a little longer. Drain off any water from the chicken back into the pot carefully and put the chicken on a plate. (For ideas on making the nutritious stock go further, keep reading to the end!) Then rub the skin of the chicken gently with some salt. Set aside to rest.
When the chicken is cool enough to handle comfortably, tear off the flesh into strips no thicker than 1cm and place in a serving dish or bowl. Add the chopped coriander and the sesame seeds to the chicken and toss together, seasoning with the remaining ingredients to taste. Serve immediately or chilled.
After removing the meat from the bone you can return the chicken carcass to the stock, adding some root vegetables, and boil up a lovely broth accompaniment. If you are serving the salad with rice, don’t pass up on the opportunity to make it subtly fragrant by using the chicken stock instead of water.
For a truly cool summery twist, you could add some strips of cucumber to the salad, shredded with a vegetable peeler. I have to say that this salad improves overnight in the fridge if you can wait to eat it. I have also been known to attack leftovers with some mayonnaise or Colman’s English mustard for a flavoursome sandwich filling. I find it’s really versatile and I hope that you enjoy it!