Mate With a Plate: Ainsley Johnstone's chicken & haloumi with green salad

Long Lunch 30/07/2018
Photo: Ainsley Johnstone

Chicken & haloumi with green salad by Ainsley Johnstone.

A salad that leaves you satisfied is the best! If you are eating with the family, it can be fun to place a big bowl in the middle of the table for everyone to help themselves. I will often make this with Creamy coconut chicken.

Prep time: 30 minutes
Cooking time: 10 minutes
Serves: 4

2 chicken breasts poached and chopped or shredded
10 snow peas (mangetout)
2 tablespoons olive oil
250g 1 packet haloumi sliced into 5 mm (1/4 inch) fingers
1 baby cos (romaine) lettuce, leaves sliced in half lengthways
2 zucchini (courgettes) julienned or spiralised
1 Lebanese (short) cucumber, julienned
1 small handful snow pea (mangetout) sprouts
1/2 avocado, chopped
2 tablespoons sunflower seeds
1 heaped tablespoon coarsely chopped toasted almonds

If you don’t have any Creamy coconut chicken, poach the chicken in simmering water or coconut cream for about 12 minutes until the chicken is cooked through. Once it has cooled, roughly shred or chop.

Blanch the snow peas in boiling water for 1 minute and then soak in a bowl of icy water to cool. Finely slice lengthways.

Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a frying pan over medium heat and fry the haloumi until brown on each side. Set aside to cool.

In a large serving dish, toss the cos lettuce leaves with the zucchini, cucumber, snow peas, snow pea sprouts and avocado. Add the cooled haloumi and chicken and top with sunflower seeds and almonds. Season with salt and pepper, then drizzle with plenty of the herb dressing.

Herb dressing:
Prep time: 5 minutes
Makes approx. 1 cup

2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons macadamia oil
2 teaspoons caramelised red wine vinegar
2 teaspoons water
1 large handful of mint
1 large handful of parsley
1 small garlic clove
juice of 1/2 lemon

Combine all of the ingredients in your smoothie maker or blender, season with salt and pepper and blitz until smooth. If you do not use it all at once, it can be stored in the fridge but the green colour will not stay as bright.

Creamy coconut chicken:
This is the easiest, yummiest chicken that can be served with salads and vegetables or on crackers for lunch. Make a big batch and freeze in smaller batches to easily add to other meals. You can also store chunks of lemongrass, kaffir lime leaves and ginger in the freezer ready to use at another time. I always have them on hand and ready to go! If you have time to make this recipe a day in advance, all the beautiful flavours will intensify. Look for coconut cream that contains only coconuts so that you are not paying for water and other fillers.

Prep time: 5 minutes
Cooking time: 20 minutes

1 kg chicken breast (about 4 breasts)
2x 270 ml tins coconut cream
8 cm lemongrass stem, crushed
5 kaffir lime leaves
4 cm piece fresh ginger, coarsely chopped
2 garlic cloves

Put all of the ingredients into a large heavy-based saucepan. Make sure there is enough liquid to cover the chicken: you can top up with water if needed. Bring to the boil, then reduce to a simmer, cover and cook for about 15 minutes or until chicken is cooked through.

Let the chicken rest in the poaching liquid for 5 minutes and then transfer the meat to a container and shred into smaller pieces.

The Long Lunch with Wendyl Nissen, 12pm - 3pm on RadioLIVE and streaming live to the rova app on Android and iPhone.