As the guests arrive on the day, a large, long table is carefully adorned with the most delicious of creations. Some dishes are old family favourites that have a starring role each Christmas, and other dishes make their first appearance, but never disappoint due to the calibre of the cook that has prepared them! They meet the scrutiny of 60 plus people, and if we are lucky will return the following year.
There is always an amazing spread of cold meats (turkey, ham, rare beef, chicken and even tongue for the more adventurous), with luxurious homemade condiments and simple, yet exquisite sides such as minted peas and glazed carrots among an assortment of gourmet salads from green salad, caprese, watermelon & mint, green bean & pine nuts and my favourites this year . . marinated citrus chicken, roast pumpkin rocket & fetta, pancetta & broad beans, Moroccan pearl couscous & chickpea, and coconut chicken salad . . . needless to say every plate was piled high and you were certainly the odd one out if you didn't come back for seconds or even thirds!
We finished with two large glorious homemade steamed Christmas puds, one recipe handed down through generations . . served up with thick creamy vanilla custard and a lashing of hard sauce.
The recipe below is my Thermomix version of the lovely Thai-style Coconut chicken salad or Yum Gai - which my gorgeous sister-in-law contributed to the festive feast. She was generous enough to share her recipe and I have made just a couple of tweaks. It is a perfect fresh flavoured Summer salad. I took it along to a friend's BBQ dinner and my girlfriend commented "this is a salad to impress". I hope you enjoy it as much as my family and friends do . . .
Thai-style coconut chicken salad
2 chicken breast fillets, skin off, quartered
1 pink lady apple, cored
1 large pink shallot (or sml red onion)
2 handfuls of fresh mint leaves
1 large carrot
1 punnet cherry or baby roma tomatoes
100g baby spinach leaves
100g cashews (raw or roasted - optional)
juice of 1-2 lemons (4 tbsp)
3 tbsp fish sauce
1 tsp sambal olek (hot chill paste) - or to taste
4 tbsp coconut milk
2 spring onions, cut into 5cm pieces
2-3 fresh kaffir lime leaves
1 handful fresh coriander leaves
1. Add 500g boiling water to the TM bowl and chicken pieces into the Varoma dish. Set the Varoma into position and steam the chicken for approximately 15 minutes on speed 1 or 2 or until cooked through. Remove the Varoma tray, set aside and allow the chicken to cool. Rinse out the TM bowl ready to prepare the salad dressing.
2. Add all dressing ingredients to the TM bowl and blend for 10 seconds on speed 7 with the MC lid in place - you could also add the shallot here if you prefer to blend it in with the dressing. Decant and set aside.
3. Add the cooked chicken pieces to the TM bowl and shred for about 3 seconds on reverse speed 4. Remove the shredded chicken into a large bowl. Isn't this just so impressive!
4. Prepare your carrot with the apple etc. in step 5 below, or for a fussier look you could cut julienne-style or use a spiraliser, and then add to the large bowl with the chicken.
5. Add the apple, shallot (or red onion) and mint leaves to the TM bowl and chop roughly on speed 4 for 5-6 seconds. Decant and add to the large bowl with the other ingredients.
6. Shred the baby spinach with a knife or keep whole, add to the other ingredients and pour over the salad dressing. Use your spatula or salad servers to toss the salad to combine all ingredients and dish onto a large serving plate to serve. Sprinkle with cashews (optional) and garnish with a sprig of mint. Enjoy!
- add red capsicum instead of cherry tomatoes
- use fresh chilli in place of chilli paste
- try chopping the baby spinach with the apple, onion and mint at step 5.
- Boil or steam chicken fillets on the stovetop & shred using two forks (oh no!)
- Finely chop the spring onions and lime leaves and combine with the other dressing ingredients for a chunkier style dressing
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