The added bonus of cooking this way for guests is that most of the work can be done well ahead, leaving the meat in the liquid just to be reheated at serving time . A lot of the poaching or braising liquids can be frozen for future use.
This poaching liquid is almost like a laksa, served over the noodles with the salad on the side.
The salad and indeed the whole dish reminds me of the many meals I had in Thailand. Beautifully light and so tasty, perfect for our summer weather. You can serve this with any barbequed meat or fish really, and play around with the ingredients. The quantities below are for 4 people but can easily be increased.
2 cups coconut cream
2 cups chicken stock
2 tablespoons light soy sauce
1/4 cup fish sauce
4 slightly crushed garlic cloves
1 red chilli finely sliced or a spoon of minced chilli
4 coriander roots slightly bruised
8 kaffir lime leaves torn
2 tablespoons lime juice
1 tablespoon palm sugar
1 kilo of chicken I have used breast and thigh
rice noodles 500 gram
Thai basil torn
1/4 Chinese cabbage, finely sliced
1 carrot grated or use a vegetable peeler to slice fine strips
12 snow peas sliced into 3 or 4 strips
1/4 finely slice red capsicum
4 sliced shallots
1/4 red onion finely sliced
1 small chilli finely sliced (optional )
2 tablespoons roasted peanuts
1/4 cup chopped coriander
1 clove minced garlic
4 tablespoons fish sauce
4 tablespoons rice vinegar
4 tablespoon castor sugar
4 tablespoons lime juice
Prepare the dressing, by combining the fish sauce, rice vinegar, lime juice, garlic and sugar together and stir until the sugar is dissolved. Cover and set aside until serving. This will keep in the fridge in a screw top jar for weeks. Prepare all of the salad ingredients and place in a bowl and toss to mix. Set aside until ready to serve.
In a large saucepan or wok combine the stock, coconut cream, fish and soy sauces, garlic, lime leaves coriander and chilli. Bring to a boil and simmer for a couple of minutes to infuse the flavours. Gently add the whole breasts or thighs and poach for about 10 minutes or until just cooked. Remove with a slotted spoon and cover and set aside. If you have a while until serving, leave the chicken in the poaching liquid.
Cover the rice noodles with boiling water and soak for 5-10 minutes to soften, or throw into a pot of boiling water for 3 minutes and drain.
After removing the chicken, from the poaching liquid add the sugar and lime juice and simmer for a further 10 minutes. Remove the garlic cloves, coriander root and lime leaves before serving.
At serving slice or shred the chicken. Place a quantity of noodles in each bowl. Add the sliced chicken and ladle over the hot poaching liquid. Scatter with coriander, mint and Thai basil.
Dress the salad and serve separately.