Coconut chicken and banana blossom salad
Recipe type: salads
This Thai-style chicken salad is served on banana leaves for added authenticity.
- ¼ cup (60ml) peanut oil
- 3 eschalots, finely chopped
- 3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
- 2½ tsp dried chilli flakes
- ⅓ cup (80ml) fish sauce
- ½ cup (75g) finely chopped palm sugar
- ⅓ cup (80ml) lime juice
- 4 (about 1kg) chicken breast fillets
- 800ml coconut milk
- 2 bunches asparagus, ends trimmed, cut in half on an angle
- 2 (about 1.6kg) banana flowers (see note)
- 1 green banana chilli, seeded, thinly sliced
- 1½ cups (about 1 bunch) Thai basil leaves
- 4 kaffir lime leaves, finely shredded
- 100g shaved fresh dry coconut
- To make dressing, heat peanut oil in a small saucepan over medium heat. Add eschalot and garlic and cook, stirring, for 5 minutes or until golden. Add chilli flakes and cook for 1 minute or until aromatic. Add fish sauce and palm sugar and stir until sugar dissolves. Remove from heat and set aside to cool. Stir in lime juice and set aside.
- Combine chicken and coconut milk in a saucepan over medium heat. Bring to the boil. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer for 15 minutes or until chicken is cooked through. Remove chicken and set aside to cool. Discard coconut milk. Finely shred chicken and place in a large bowl.
- Meanwhile, cook asparagus in a medium saucepan of salted boiling water for 2 minutes or until bright green and tender yet crisp. Refresh in iced water. Drain well. Cut in half lengthways and set aside.
- To prepare banana flowers, remove dark outer leaves to expose pale inner core. Rinse 8 dark outer leaves in cold water and reserve. Continue peeling pale inner leaves, one leaf at a time, discarding stamens between leaves and placing leaves in a bowl of acidulated water (see note). Gather leaves together and thinly slice.
- Add asparagus and sliced banana flower to shredded chicken. Drizzle with dressing and toss to combine. Add chilli, Thai basil, kaffir lime leaves and coconut and gently toss to combine. Spoon salad among reserved banana leaves, arrange on plates and serve immediately.
Banana flowers are available from selected greengrocers. Acidulated water is water with lemon juice added. It will prevent banana flower from discolouring.