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Warm Chilli Chicken and Mango Salad

A new way to salad

There’s a certain kind of recipe that we all crave when the wind starts chilling us to the bone – the kind of recipe that is usually dark, dense and best served piping hot.

For example, just last week when London was in the grip of a bitterly cold snap, I cooked chilli con carne, a hearty beef stew, and sausage and mash (with loads of red onion gravy).

But after a full week of eating each of these deliciously comforting dinners for two days in a row (I tend to cook too much for two people), I was keen to have something a bit lighter.

When we think of lighter meals, we often default to salads. But the thing is, I’m no great fan of salads. It’s almost a blasphemous thing to say in this age of the wellness trend, but I have never, ever found myself craving a salad. I don’t order salads at restaurants, and if there’s some side salad on my plate, I’ll push it around a bit before chewing a leaf or two to satisfy any onlookers. It certainly doesn’t delight me the way it delights these ladies.

I often wonder if my aversion to salad is a mark of my Chinese-ness. In my experience, Chinese people usually prefer to eat their vegetables (and most other things) hot, and growing up we very rarely had salads when we could have a crisp and colourful stir fry instead.

Nevertheless, I do recognise that there’s a lot of great nutrients to be gained in eating vegetables in their raw form. And luckily, I’ve found a way to trick myself into eating more raw veg. Enter the warm salad, which perfectly balances raw freshness with the appetising aromas of something cooked to perfection.

The key here is to combine fresh vegetables with a protein (e.g. chicken) that is packed with flavour. In today’s recipe I’ve paired chilli and garlic chicken with mild, slightly creamy spinach and ‘just ripe’ mango that is both sweet and sour.

Give this speedy and simple recipe a go, and I guarantee it will convert even the most staunch of salad opponents.  This recipe also works terrifically well in a wrap with a little lick of mayo. And for another tasty take on a warm salad, try our Warm Honey Soy Pulled Chicken Salad.

Serves
3-4
Ingredients

2 chicken breasts, thinly sliced on the diagonal
1 – 2 ‘just ripe’ mangoes, de-stoned and cut into chunks
3 large handfuls baby leaf spinach
vegetable oil
cracked black pepper, to season
juice of half a lemon

for the marinade
2 cloves of garlic, finely diced
1/4 tsp hot chilli powder, more if you like spice
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 tsp vegetable oil

There’s a certain kind of recipe that we all crave when the wind starts chilling us to the bone – the kind of recipe that is usually dark, dense and best served piping hot.

For example, just last week when London was in the grip of a bitterly cold snap, I cooked chilli con carne, a hearty beef stew, and sausage and mash (with loads of red onion gravy).

But after a full week of eating each of these deliciously comforting dinners for two days in a row (I tend to cook too much for two people), I was keen to have something a bit lighter.

When we think of lighter meals, we often default to salads. But the thing is, I’m no great fan of salads. It’s almost a blasphemous thing to say in this age of the wellness trend, but I have never, ever found myself craving a salad. I don’t order salads at restaurants, and if there’s some side salad on my plate, I’ll push it around a bit before chewing a leaf or two to satisfy any onlookers. It certainly doesn’t delight me the way it delights these ladies.

I often wonder if my aversion to salad is a mark of my Chinese-ness. In my experience, Chinese people usually prefer to eat their vegetables (and most other things) hot, and growing up we very rarely had salads when we could have a crisp and colourful stir fry instead.

Nevertheless, I do recognise that there’s a lot of great nutrients to be gained in eating vegetables in their raw form. And luckily, I’ve found a way to trick myself into eating more raw veg. Enter the warm salad, which perfectly balances raw freshness with the appetising aromas of something cooked to perfection.

The key here is to combine fresh vegetables with a protein (e.g. chicken) that is packed with flavour. In today’s recipe I’ve paired chilli and garlic chicken with mild, slightly creamy spinach and ‘just ripe’ mango that is both sweet and sour.

Give this speedy and simple recipe a go, and I guarantee it will convert even the most staunch of salad opponents.  This recipe also works terrifically well in a wrap with a little lick of mayo. And for another tasty take on a warm salad, try our Warm Honey Soy Pulled Chicken Salad.

GET THE METHOD →

Combine all of the marinade ingredients with the chicken in a large bowl. Cover and refrigerate for 10 minutes.
Heat a small dash of vegetable oil in a frying pan over a medium-high heat. Fry the chicken on both sides for 3-4 minutes, until golden and cooked through.
In a large bowl, toss together the chicken, spinach, mango chunks and lemon juice. Serve in big bowls with a sprinkle of freshly cracked black pepper, or try the salad in a wrap.
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