Thai Chicken Salad with Peanut Sauce

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Thai Chicken Salad with Peanut Sauce

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Published prior to 2008

The flavors of peanut, lime and coconut, which so many of us have come to associate with Thai-style food, are the hallmarks of this filling.

Chicken Marinade
2 tablespoons rice vinegar
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 tablespoon honey
2 tablespoons coconut milk (unsweetened)
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1 tablespoon lime zest (the zest from one lime) OR 1/4 teaspoon lime oil
1 tablespoon lime juice
dash Tabasco sauce, or 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper (optional)
1 to 1 1/2 pounds (raw weight) chicken breast or boneless chicken thighs

Peanut Sauce
2 tablespoons rice vinegar
1 tablespoon lime juice
2 tablespoons soy sauce
2 to 3 cloves garlic, peeled
2 tablespoons toasted sesame oil
1 jalapeño pepper OR 2 teaspoons red pepper flakes
1/2 cup (4 ounces) coconut milk (unsweetened)
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
2 tablespoons toasted sesame seeds
1/2 cup (4 1/2 ounces) smooth peanut butter

3 cups (13 ounces, 2 medium) cucumbers, seeded and diced into 1/4-inch pieces*
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup (1 ounce, 12 to 15 large leaves) fresh basil, shredded
1 cup (3 ounces) shredded carrot (about 2 medium carrots)
2 1/4 cups (4 1/2 ounces) shredded Napa cabbage (1 small cabbage)
1 cup (3 3/4 ounces) red pepper, diced

*Use a "gourmet" or English cucumber if you want to eliminate the peeling and seeding.

Chicken: Marinate the chicken breast or thighs for several hours. Grill or saute the chicken, then set it aside to cool. (You may also simply use leftover roast chicken, although then you'll be missing the flavors of the marinade.)

Peanut Sauce: Place all of the ingredients except the peanut butter into a blender or food processor. Blend to chop the pepper and garlic. Add the peanut butter 1 tablespoon at a time, processing until everything is well-combined. (If you don't have a blender or processor, mince the garlic and pepper, then whisk these together with the remaining ingredients, stirring until smooth.) Refrigerate the sauce for several hours, to let the flavors meld.

Salad: Place the diced cucumber in a colander, and sprinkle it with the salt. Let it drain for 1/2 hour or longer to remove some of the liquid. Chop or slice the remaining vegetables for the salad, then refrigerate them until ready to serve.

Just before serving, toss the salad ingredients with the peanut sauce. Slice the chicken meat, and add to the salad. Top wraps with 1/2 cup of salad, and roll up. Yield: about 3 1/4 pounds salad, enough to fill 12 to 14 wraps with 1/2 cup salad each.

Nutrition information per serving (1/2 cup salad without wrap, 139g): 176 cal, 11g fat, 12g protein, 7g complex carbohydrates, 2g sugar, 2g dietary fiber, 19mg cholesterol, 921mg sodium, 372mg potassium, 332RE vitamin A, 25mg vitamin C, 2mg iron, 42mg calcium, 189mg phosphorus.

This recipe reprinted from The Baking Sheet Newsletter, Vol. XI, No. 5, Summer 2000 issue.