I’ve clearly been away for a while and my blog has been on hiatus! But I have a fair good reason… As Winter season kicked in July, I was off enjoying the beautiful snow in New Zealand as well as our very own local mountain, Mt. Buller. Not only did I have a blast but I also managed to break both my wrists after one pretty bad fall. After that it was 7 weeks of recovery which included surgery and metal plates in both hands. Boy, talk about an adventure!
But not only that, I also found out a few weeks ago that my brother, who has recently moved to Dallas, Texas, has found it hard to adjust to the new eating lifestyle inherited by those down south (i.e – Fried everything). So this recipe is actually a result of the month of recovery and healing that my family has required as well as the celebration of Spring and the ‘light meals’ repertoire.
This recipe really revolves around fresh vegetables. I think often people get stuck on what vegetables are good to eat raw or cooked, and what goes with what. I believe that amost vegetables go well together, it’s about pairing it with the right sauces and making sure that it falls under the ‘theme’ of your dish. Well, this recipe is quite the ‘green’ recipe and has about 6 different vegetables and herbs, but paired with the right protein and dressing and we have ourselves a winner.
One of the things that are commonly missed out in meals too are the herbs. Herbs can really add a whole extra dimension of flavour and you shouldn’t be afraid to mix and match! The herb on the far left is actually a chinese chive. It has a similar flavour to garlic or green onion. I’ve never actually cooked with it before this but I wanted to make sure that my raw salad really had enough flavour to sustain itself as a ‘meal’. Well, it worked! The chinese chive is actually very commonly used in dumplings.
In this recipe I’ve also added in barley. Barley and brown rice can be seen to be quite similar in texture and taste, however after doing some research I have found that barley is better for you – but only by an inch. The way I treat the barley is like a blank canvas. Whilst it has a great texture, it also has a very neutral earthy taste. Hence why when I cook with barley, I do suggest using a flavoured stock – chicken stock is my preference.
I also learnt that coconut oil is a really good substitute for vegetable or olive oil. This is the first time I’ve cooked or even tasted it. The taste of coconut oil is exactly like what it’s name boasts. It’s not the tastiest of oils, but no oil really is. I used it for my Hainanese dressing which is essentially mixing in green onions, grated ginger, coconut oil and some salt. Delicious when paired with a poached or steam chicken!
- Bunch of snow peas, chopped
- Bunch of celery, chopped
- Bunch of bok choy, chopped
- 1 cup of barley
- 2 cups of chicken stock (or veg. stock)
- Bunch of chinese chives
- Bunch of coriander
- 4 tbs sesame oil
- CHICKEN + DRESSING
- 2 x pieces of chicken breast
- Green onions
- 1 ginger knob
- 4 tbs light soy sauce
- 1 tbs sesame oil
- HAINANESE DRESSING
- Green Onions, chopped
- 1 ginger knob, grated
- 2 tbs coconut oil
- 1 pinch salt, to taste
- Place 1 cup of barley into a saucepan and fill with 2 cups of stock and 1 cup of water. Cook for approx. 20-30 minutes. Top up water as required. Barley is supposed to have a bite to it so make sure you taste as you go and avoid overcooking it.
- Chop up all the raw salad mix and place in a bowl.
- Chop coriander and chinese chives. Mix into salad bowl and place in fridge to chill.
- Skin and slice the ginger and chop green onions. Place neatly on a steamer (see image above). Use salt and pepper on both sides of the chicken breasts and place on top of the ginger and green onions. Pour soy sauce and sesame oil. Steam for 10-15 minutes until ready. (If you are not sure, take out the chicken and slice to check if chicken is cooked)
- Once chicken is cooked, remove from steamer and rest for 5 minutes. Slice chicken into 5cm thick slices and set aside.
- To make the hainanese dressing, chop green onion finely. Grate the ginger into a mortar and pestle bowl. Include the green onion and start to beat until combined. Slowly add in the coconut oil and continue beating until it becomes a rough paste. Season with salt to taste.
- Lastly, remove the salad mix from the fridge and mix in the sesame oil. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve and enjoy!