Grilled Chicken & Asparagus Salad with Thai Inspired Dressing

I love Thai flavours. The sweet, sour and spicy of Thai dishes are always so perfectly balanced. With such hot and humid weather these days in Hong Kong, I thought a Thai style salad would be pretty perfect as a light lunch or supper.

One of the key things in Thai salads is that they usually use herbs as their salad leaves, mainly Thai basil and fresh mint. They would have one main vegetable, such as the green papaya, plus the various fresh herbs to make the salad even more vibrant and refreshing.

Here’s my Thai-style salad. Of course, feel free to mix and match the herbs and vegs to your liking.

Batch 5 - Grilled Chicken and Asparagus Salad_2_V2

Ingredients

6-8 thick green asparagus
1 piece chicken breast
1 green chili, seeded and thinly sliced
50g roasted peanuts, crushed
8 pieces cherry tomatoes, sliced
handful of fresh mint and cilantro leaves combined
Salt and black pepper to taste

Grilled Chicken & Asparagus Salad Ingredients

For the Salad Dressing:
1 shallot, finely diced
25ml rice wine vinegar
15g dark brown sugar
1 lime, halved
1 tbsp Dijon mustard
1 thumb size ginger, grated
1 small red chilli pepper, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 tsp sesame oil
60ml olive oil
salt and black pepper to taste

Grilled Chicken and Asparagus Salad Dressing

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 200C. Pat dry the chicken breast, drizzle some olive oil on top and season with salt and black pepper. Place chicken on baking tray and roast in oven for 20 – 25 minutes or until chicken breast is cooked through. Take out and set aside
  2. Bring a pot of salted water to boil. Snap off the tough end of the asparagus, then cut the asparagus into 2 inches pieces. Cut thicker pieces in half, lengthwise. Blanch the asparagus in boiling water for 1 minute. Drain and place in cold water to cool down. Pat dry and set aside.
  3. To make the dressing, mix all the dressing ingredients together and whisk until well combined. Taste and adjust the seasoning.
  4. To make the salad, put the cooked asparagus in a big bowl. Add the chopped green chili, sliced up tomatoes, mint leaves and cilantro leaves. Add a few spoonful of the salad dressing and toss to coat the ingredients.
  5. Arrange asparagus on a serving plate. Tear the roasted chicken breast into strips or you can cut them into thin slices. Scatter chicken over asparagus.
  6. Drizzle more dressing over the salad and top with crushed peanuts. Garnish with fresh herbs and serve immediately.

Batch 5 - Grilled Chicken and Asparagus Salad_v2

For more cooking tips, recipes and kitchen ideas, follow me on Facebook at:
http://www.facebook.com/charmainecooks

You can also watch the cooking video on how to make this salad on my Facebook page!

Photos courtesy of DayDayCook

Tips for Cooking Juicy Pork Chops

I think there is a fear in many when it comes to cooking pork chops. The dilemma comes from wanting a juicy and tender piece of pork chop without over cooking it, yet we are always told to cook the crap out of pork chops because we need to make sure that the meat is fully cooked. It is not like a piece of steak where you can have it medium rare. So if you want to make sure that a piece of pork chop is fully cooked, of course you would cook it longer and that would give you a tough and dry piece of meat at the end.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

There are a few things that you could do to ensure you get a perfectly cooked, perfectly tender piece of pork chop every time.

  • Use the oven. I find the best way to give you juicy pork chops is to first sear the chop in a very hot pan on both sides, about 1 minute per side, and then finish the cooking in a hot oven, preheated to 200C. Pork chops are a tender and quick-cooking cut of meat. Therefore it is very easy to overcook it. By finishing the cooking in the oven, you are allowing even and gentle heat to cook the pork chops, which will be easier to control and also prevents the outside of the chops from getting burnt, tough and dry out before the middle has finished cooking. If you don’t have a frying pan that is oven proofed, you can transfer the pork chops, after searing on the stovetop, to a hot baking tray and roast in the oven.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

  • Buy thicker cuts of pork chops. Because pork chops can have little fat in them they tend to dry out very easily. Try to buy cuts that are at least 1 – 1.5 inches thick (2.5cm – 4cm).
  • Check the internal temperature. For the pork chops to be cooked through and safe to eat, the internal temperature should be between 62C – 72C (145F – 160F). Check the temperature with a meat thermometer if you have one. It is worth getting a meat thermometer if you like to experiment with roast meat or barbeque meats.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

  • Let the meat rest. After cooking the pork chop, let it rest for at least 5 minutes, loosely covering it with tin foil, before cutting into the meat. This will allow the juices of the meat to settle down and not run out when you cut it.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

If you don’t have an oven or even a small toaster oven at home that will fit your pork chops, the best thing to do is to start off with a very hot frying pan to get that nice sear on both sides. Then lower the heat to medium low to slowly cook the chop for 6 – 8 minutes. At the end, you can splash a bit of water or broth in and cover the pan to steam the pork chop for an extra minute.

Click here to see my video on Pork Chops with Rosemary and Seedless Red Grapes.

Follow me on Facebook for more recipes and cooking tips: www.facebook.com/Charmainecooks

Chinese version of the blog post, translated by DayDayCook, click here.

 

My Top Five Chinese Home Cooked Dishes

 

I must admit, cooking Chinese food is not my forte. I love Chinese food but there was never any need for me to cook them as I get them every night from home either from my mom or at occasional times at my grandma’s. The times that I do cook more Asian influenced dishes are during special family celebrations, such as Chinese New Year.  Now that I live by myself, I want to create these Chinese home cooked dishes in my own kitchen. I want simple homey dishes with the familiar tastes that I grew up with. DayDayCook has answered my calls! Here are my top 5 Chinese dishes from DayDayCook that I absolutely loved to make when I want a nutritious and delicious Chinese home cooked dinner.

Red Date Braised Chicken with Chinese Xiao Shing Wine

Chicken Yellow Wine

http://www.daydaycook.com/daydaycook/hk/website/recipe/details.do?id=28251

This was one of the first recipes I followed from DayDayCook. I was having a girls’ dinner at my place and wanted to cook Chinese meal as a few of my girlfriends have not had a proper home cooked Chinese meal in awhile. This Red Date Braised Chicken with Yellow Wine is absolutely divine! Is simple to make and is extremely nourishing for women.

 

Ma Po Tofu

ma po tofu

http://www.daydaycook.com/daydaycook/hk/website/recipe/details.do?id=24401

I now understand why this is one of Norma’s favourite dish to make for Sam. Is simple, delicious and packed full of flavor!

 

Stir Fried Mung Beans

mung beans

http://www.daydaycook.com/daydaycook/hk/website/recipe/details.do?id=2053

I have always love to eat Mung Beans. This dish reminds me of one of the dishes from my hometown, Hoikken Pancakes (福建薄餅), where the filling is filled with various shredded vegetables, dried bean curd and such. This is a short cut version of it, with fewer ingredients but still the same great taste. If there is any leftovers, I love to eat it as a salad the next day.

 

Steamed Pork Patties with Pumpkin Shio Koji

minced pork

http://www.daydaycook.com/daydaycook/hk/website/recipe/details.do?id=38470

DayDayCook’s website is the place where I’ve first heard of “Shio Koji’. When this ingredient was featured as their weekly theme, I was very curious about this ingredient. Shio Koji is very popular in Japan and has many health benefits. It is an all natural seasoning made from fermenting salt and water mixture. I love the taste of Shio Koji. It is less salty and brings a slight sweetness to the dish. This steamed pork dish is one of my favourite out of the 7 under the Shio Koji theme and it has definitely replaced my grandma’s version in my kitchen. (Sorry Grams)!

 

Pumpkin and Clams Congee

pumpkin congee

http://www.daydaycook.com/daydaycook/hk/website/recipe/details.do?id=176991

I was never a congee person as I have this idea that only sick people eat congee as most congees are quite bland. When I do make congee, I’d make it plain or just add a bit of salted egg to it. But after I saw this Pumpkin and Clams Congee, my perception changed. Mixing in pumpkin and clams in to the congee is such a great idea. It instantly elevated the congee, giving it a subtle sweetness and is very nutritious too! I love it!

Photos and recipes from DayDayCook website: http://www.daydaycook.com