Indonesian Chicken & Prawn Salad

This Indonesian cold salad dish was absolutely amazing. A melange (good word!) of complex flavours that work in unison to create a dish that isn’t too much of anything – isn’t too sweet, too salty, to sour or too spicy. It’s an intricate blend of everything that leaves an overall taste that is perfectly balanced. It tastes fresh and healthy too which is quite something for Indonesian food as it can often feel a little, how do I say this tactfully? heart clogging. I’m also quite surprised just how well chicken and prawn work together – not two proteins you’d naturally put together, but they get along splendidly. Are you up for a different kind of salad?

INGREDIENTS:
Salad Paste:

25g fresh galangal (chopped)
1 lemon grass stalk (white part only)
15g fresh turmeric (chopped)
2 birds eye chillies (seeded and chopped)
2 candlenuts (or macadamia nuts) (roughly chopped)
2 shallots (chopped)
2 garlic cloves (chopped)

Other Ingredients:
4 tablespoons peanut oil
1 teaspoon shrimp paste
1 tablespoon palm sugar
2 tablespoons fresh mint (chopped)
2 tablespoons fresh coriander (chopped)
2 tomatoes (peeled, seeded and chopped)
1 large lime (juice of)
500g chicken thighs
250g raw prawns (tails on)
red chillies (for garnish, optional)

DIRECTIONS:
To make the paste:
Pound in a pestle & mortar the galangal for 3 minutes, add the next ingredient and pound for 2 minutes, then the next and so on until you’ve pounded all the ingredients. You should have a smooth orange paste.

Heat the oil in a wok until hot over a moderate heat. Add the paste and sizzle, stirring for 1 minute. Add the shrimp paste and sugar and cook for 2-3 minutes until browned. Add the tomatoes, mint, coriander and lime juice and sizzle for a further 7-10 minutes, stirring regularly until the sauce is very thick. Remove form the heat and cool to room temperature.

Heat a steamer pan then steam the chicken thighs for 20 minutes. Remove from the steamer and cool to room temperature, meanwhile cook the prawns in the steamer for 5 minutes. Remove from the pan and refresh in ice water to stop them cooking then drain. Shred the chicken into pieces with your hands. Place the chicken and prawns in a large bowl then tip in the paste. Stir together well and serve.

SERVING:
Serve with whole red chillies to crunch on with the salad.

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