I've been sort of half-heartedly following the Paper Chef for a few months now, and have often felt like having a bash at it. I've not been following it closely enough to actually be on time though, until this week.
The ingredients to be used were: corn, chicken, almonds, and fish sauce. I gave myself the further restriction of having to use only my usual shopping and stuff from the pantry. I decided to make a sort of Asian themed salad, with grilled chicken and small corn fritters, and using almond butter to make a vaguely satay-ish but verging more towards a thick salad dressing sauce.
These were the things I had to buy:
but they are things I usually do buy, so that's OK. Those are salad greens in the bag. It's mid-winter here, you understand.
These are a few of the things from my pantry:
I actually ended up throwing out that tin of corn - I think it had been there a bit too long. I used a tin of creamed style corn instead. Those orange things are dried mango and dried papaya. The papaya is soaked in lime juice before it's dried and is very delicious. I often have it on yoghurt.
I used my new juicer to make the almond butter:
The almonds need overnight soaking in water or you get almond flour instead of almond butter. I made way too much, goodness knows what I'll do with the rest.
And here is my finished dinner:
It was really rather scrummy, if I do say so myself. I have enough ingredients to put another together cold - I think it'll make a fine bento.
Tropical Flavours Grilled Chicken Salad
Chicken & marinade:
2 boneless skinless chicken thighs
1 tsp mild oil
1 tbsp fish sauce
1 tsp light soy sauce
2 tsp brown sugar
1 clove garlic, very finely chopped
juice and zest of one lime
(makes a huge amount - enough for a bunch of kids to have for lunch as well)
1 425 g can of creamed corn
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1/2 onion, very finely chopped
decent bunch of coriander leaves, roughly chopped
1 cup tempura flour
oil for deep frying
20 g blanched almonds, soaked in water overnight
1 tsp onion, chopped very finely
1 tbsp fish sauce
1 tsp brown sugar
1 tbsp lime juice
a good pinch of chili powder
6 large 0.5 cm thick slices of kumara (sweet potato with purple skin and dry flesh)
enough mixed salad greens for two people
1 tbsp mild oil
1 tsp lime juice
good bunch of coriander leaves, chopped roughly
bunch of chives, or 1 spring onion, chopped
a few pieces of dried lime papaya (or ordinary papaya, but the lime stuff is delicious), sliced
a few pieces of dried mango, sliced
some slivered almonds
Mix marinade ingredients and marinate chicken overnight. Grill chicken on both sides until cooked (~10 min per side). Oil both sides of the kumara slices and either grill them too, or roast in the oven, until cooked. This grilling can happen while you're doing the rest.
Mix corn fritter ingredients and deep fry teaspoonsful in hot oil (190˚C) until puffy and browned. Drain on paper towels. Keep 10 warm and shovel the rest into the mouths of waiting children. They will then disappear and leave you in peace to cook.
Make almond butter from the drained, soaked almonds. I used my juicer, but you can use a mortar and pestle. Mix in the other sauce ingredients - I used a mortar and pestle for this bit anyway. It wants to be about as thick as mayonnaise. Mash the onions up really well.
Dry fry some slivered almonds with salt and chili powder until the nuts are toasted.
Slice the grilled chicken across into bite sized pieces.
Make a vinaigrette from the remaining portion of oil and lime juice, toss the salad greens and most of the chives and coriander (retaining a little for garnishing) in it. Place 3 slices of kumara around the edges of 2 plates. Divide the greens between the plates, on top of the kumara slices. Sprinkle the sliced dried fruit on top. Put 5 corn fritters around each plate, place one chopped thigh on top of each salad, top the chicken with a good dollop of sauce, and sprinkle the toasted chili almonds and the remaining coriander and chives over the lot.