A little Asian inspiration was the order of the day for this delicious salad.  I simply adore the balance of flavours and crunch in a dish like this as it leaves you feeling all clean and light but wonderfully satisfied.  Simple to make, quick to cook and light on the purse strings …… emmalicious winner!!

*If you want to really speed up the process use the fine grater attachment on your food processor for the carrots and radishes

Prep time:  30 minutes            Cooking time:  20 minutes           $  Low Budget

Serves 4

8 chicken thigh fillets (no skin or bone)

2 tsp of Chinese 5 spice powder

Sea salt

2 cloves of garlic

5cm piece of ginger

1 stalk of lemon grass

1 red chilli

Juice of 1 lime

1/2 cup of sweet chilli sauce

2 tsp of fish sauce

For the Salad:

1 carrot, peeled and finely julienned

3 radishes, sliced and finely julienned

1 cup of bean sprouts

A handful of snow pea sprouts

12 snow peas, strings removed and finely julienned

2 spring onions, sliced diagonally (some reserved for garnish)

1/2 cup of mint leaves, roughly chopped

1 cup of coriander leaves, roughly chopped (some reserved for garnish)

1/2 cup of vietnamese mint leaves, roughly chopped (optional as it can be difficult to purchase)

1 packet of  Chang’s crispy noodles

For the Dressing:

1/4 cup of olive oil

2 tbs of soy sauce

1 tbs of fish sauce

1 tbs of caster sugar

Juice of 1 lime

To prepare the chicken, tear off a large piece of baking paper and lay the chicken on it.  Sprinkle over the Chinese 5 spice and a good sprinkling of sea salt and rub it into the chicken thighs liberally with your hands.  Tear off another piece of baking paper and lay it on top of the thighs.  Lightly pound the chicken with a rolling pin to flatten it out so that the thighs are the same thickness all over.

I used my Tupperware turbo chef to finely chop the ginger, garlic, lemongrass and chilli (my favourite kitchen appliance) but if you don’t have one use a knife or small processor to finely chop it all together.  Divide the mixture in half and use one half for the chicken and the other half for the dressing.

Heat a large heavy based pan and add a little oil.  Fry the chicken thighs on each side for approximately 6 minutes or until almost cooked through.  Remove the chicken from the pan and set aside on a plate.  In the same pan add the garlic, chilli, ginger and lemon grass mix (1/2 only) and fry for 1 minute or until aromatic.  pour the sweet chilli sauce into the pan along with the lime juice and fish sauce.  Stir well to combine and bring to a simmer.  Return the chicken to the pan and spoon the sauce over the chicken.  Cook for a further 5 minutes and add a little water if the sauce gets too sticky.

In a large bowl combine the carrot, radish, bean sprouts, snow peas, snow pea sprouts, coriander, mint leaves and vietnamese mint.  Toss the ingredients well with your hands.

In a small bowl combine the other half of the chilli mixture, olive oil, fish sauce, soy sauce, lime juice and caster sugar.  Whisk well until the sugar has dissolved.

Right before serving toss the crispy noodles into the salad and pour over 1/2 the dressing.  Mix well with your hands and divide the salad between four plates (you may have too much but it is great for lunch!).  Top the salad with 2 pieces of the chicken and spoon over the sauce.  Garnish with the leftover spring onions and coriander and drizzle over a little more dressing if you wish.  The dressing will keep for at least a week in the fridge…….