I have always considered myself quite a nice person. I like food of all shapes, flavours and colours. From every country and continent. I don’t discriminate, I am an equal opportunity eater. It’s only the doctors who say I’m intolerant. And certain foods who refuse to tolerate me. They certainly refuse to recognise and respect my right to eat them without major physical discomfort and distress.

Gluten and lactose are not my friends.

Despite the negative attitudes surrounding me from many of those I love best, (cakes, ice cream, hot toast) I decided to become a chef. Not always easy when you live in a bread and milk filled world. I like to think that this has helped me become a better person as I embrace my differences and refuse to let the gluten get me down. I believe InTolerance. I am the InTolerant Chef.

Food should not be about what you can’t eat, but what you can and what you enjoy eating. This blog is about my journey of cooking and eating and discovery. It’s not a definitive guide to allergy awareness nor do my intolerances make me an expert. Your body is your responsibility, not mine. I only know what works for me.

I can tell you this..... No glutens were harmed in the making of this website.

October 24, 2010

Asian Style Poached Chicken Salad

As promised, here is the second salad from my catering weekend. This time it's an Asian Style Poached Chicken Salad with Rice Noodles.

This salad is gluten and dairy free and also very yummy! I make a very blingy version of this salad with seared beef for my family and it is our ultimate favourite dish ever. I add lots of chilli for us, but to keep it friendly for the masses I kindly forgo the bitey bits.

The first job on hand is to poach the chicken.

I allow 100g per lunch serve, that's plenty for this type of thing when it's bulked up with the rest of the salad ingredients. You can be really simple and just poach in water, but I like to infuse the chicken with some yummy asian inspired flavours. I use a tin or 2 of coconut milk, some ginger, a stalk or 2 of lemongrass that I've bashed around to release it's yumminess, and a couple of scrumpled up kaffir lime leaves too. Leave the chicken in whole breasts to avoid it drying out and place it into the simmering poaching liquid, just make sure there's enough for the chicken to be covered by and a bit more for evaporation. Leave on the heat and keep at a simmer for about 10mins, then turn off the heat, cover, and leave it for about an hour to finish cooking. Don't peek, just check at the end of this time and they should be perfect. If by some chance they're not, bring them back to the simmer for about 5 more minutes. Drain the meat and don't forget to save the liquid for stock, you could turn it into a very yummy wonton soup or something, or if you can't be bothered, take out the chunky bits and feed it to the dog, ours is so happy when mummy has run out of fridge room!

Once the chicken has chilled, chop or shred it into pieces that can easily be stabbed with a fork. Remember this salad is being balanced in one hand and eaten with the other. This will probably take longer to read than to get this going at this point!

Have I mentioned before that I love the products by Changs? I am not paid to advertise their stuff, I just love it very much. They are so kind to us InTolerants, and I just want to share the love!

The base of this salad is a nice rice noodle. These little packets come in 4 little cake portions and 1 cake will do 2 serves for a lunch box, or 1 serve for dinner. Just pour some boiling water over the little cake and let it sit for about 10mins. The noodles will swell, so make sure they are totally submerged and the bowl is big enough.

Now prepare yourself for lots of chopping.The good news is that once the chopping is done, the salad comes together in record time.

Finely slice or shred equal quantities of some iceberg lettuce - you need this type of lettuce for the crunch it delivers, don't try and use a soft butter leaf , and some chinese cabbage- we call it wombok.

Also a big handful of mint and for home I also use corriander. I always say that herbs should be used as ingredients not garnishes so be generous and you will really appreciate the freshness they bring.

Also a big pinch of shredded carrot per person, a few slices of lebanese cucumber and about 3 halved cherry tomatoes for the squirt of sweetness they bring.

Layer all these ingredients together in the lunch box, or toss it all together in a big bowl.

For the dressing, I combine equal quantities of vinegar and water and bring to a boil with a good spoon of castor sugar- just enough to take the harshness off. Add in a good spoon of lime juice and fish sauce. You are trying to get a nice balance of sweet, salty and sour so adjust accordingly.

Simmer until just a little reduced and a little syrupy. When it's cool add about a third of its amount with a neutral oil like peanut or ricebran, and a good splash of sesame oil for richness and nuttiness.
Put a good tablespoon of dressing on top of the mix in each salad box.

Toss this all together, the trick is to get everyone to shake,shake,shake their boxes up to mix it and distribute the dressing evenly through it all.
Grab a fork and dig in! There should be a nice freshness from the herbs and slight tang from the dressing, but a lightness overall without any heaviness on your palate or in your tummy!

So Readers, what is your families favourite salad?


  1. that loos delicious! I don't think. My family eats much salad but Hubby and I do. I love it all, it's hard to pick a favorite! ;)

  2. I looove vermicelli noodles! I'm a bit obsessed with them at the moment, so will have to try this recipe! Thanks Chef!

  3. Whee, I love it! I have to make it! Whee whee whee! And you're so right in what you said about herbs - they're ingedrients, yes they are! Not just garnish! Please you plenty of herbs everybody!

    Hm, my family's favorite salad ... Maybe a cucumber salad with dill and a lemon and yoghurt dressing. But that's rather a side dish, not a whole meal. It goes well with fish, and because my dad fishes a lot we often had it at home for lunch.

  4. Your salad is yummy.. fresh and crisp.. :)

  5. Gorgeous - just my type of salad. So fresh and yummy!

  6. Yummy! So fresh! I love a good tuna salad for everyday. For special salad occasions ;) I love one with some roasted root vegetables (maybe sweet potato or beetroot), spinach leaves, candied walnuts and goats cheese.
    Heidi xo

  7. OH YUMMO!!! I love that you poached the chicken in coconut milk - thats one of my methods too!

  8. I love Changs too bit hard to find here though - our favorite salads would be anything dregded or put into garlic yogurt. Beetroot-celery root-carrot-fried veggies and cucumbers.

  9. oh, I haven't poached in coconut milk before, but have in a masterstock- it's delicious!

  10. Hello Readers,
    You all havie it so right, this salad is fresh, fresh,fresh!
    I love poaching in masterstock, but this works well when you want something a bit milder and lighter.
    I love the sound of your salads, I love dill too, and roasted root vegies add such a sweetness to a salad. Anything that has garlic in it is a winner for me as well Simcha.
    Hmmm... I'm getting hungry!

  11. This looks so delicious, I love rice noodles with an absolute passion and am wholeheartedly in agreement with your views on fresh herbs. Lovely.

  12. That salad looks great. I personally like arugula salads - there's one with strawberries, goat cheese, and toasted sliced almonds; and a second one with sauteed pears, blue cheese, and candied pecans.

  13. Good idea to infuse the chicken in coconut milk and other seasoning+spice prior to making the salad. Refreshingly delicious.

  14. I love the your poaching ingredients with this one Chef, such a simple but ever so tasty asian salad. Now, be a nice girl and pass one of the lunchboxes to me OK? Pleeeaaase ;)

  15. I've just started exploring poached chicken, thanks to Celia, and this looks completely delicious - I am going to hunt down some vermicelli noodles and come back and study this again. Lovely blog you have here Chef!