Spicy Chicken Bhuna Salad
When you see the word ‘bhuna’ on an Indian menu it generally indicates that the dish has been dry-fried. Before this the meat is often marinated. The recipe below does have a fair few ingredients, but with a little planning it really doesn’t take all that much effort. The vinaigrette should be at the ready in your fridge at all times and the marinade can be assembled at least a day in advance (though not with the chicken in).
|4||skinless chicken breasts, cut into dice (about 8 pieces per breast)|
|1||fresh small coconut|
|1 tsp||garam masala|
|10||mint leaves, chopped|
|½||red onion, peeled and sliced into very fine rings|
|2||little gem lettuces, separated into leaves|
|8||cherry tomatoes, cut in half|
|a few sprigs||of coriander|
|For the mustard vinaigrette:|
|3 tbsp||vegetable oil|
|¾ tbsp||cider or white wine vinegar|
|1 dsp||caster sugar|
|1 dsp||English mustard|
|salt and pepper|
|For the marinade:|
|6 tbsp||natural yoghurt|
|2 cloves||of garlic, peeled and finely crushed|
|1 tsp||ground cardamom|
|1 tsp||ground chilli|
|1 tsp||ground cumin|
Mix all the marinade ingredients together in a bowl. Then add the diced chicken breasts and coat thoroughly with the marinade. Ideally they should have at least an hour in the marinade, so store them in the fridge.
Meanwhile, prepare all the bits for the salad, starting with the courgette. These can be sliced very finely and left raw, or pan-fried, or cooked on a ribbed grill pan. Whichever way you choose, they should have a slight crunch. Next crack the coconut in half by wrapping it in a cloth and giving it a sharp smack with a hammer. Remove the hard outer husk and then, using a potato peeler, take long strips from the flesh. Toast these under a hot grill until they are just beginning to brown, turning every minute or so.
Make the mustard vinaigrette. Place all the ingredients in a jam jar, put the lid on and shake well to create a tangy dressing which goes well with many salads. Adjust the amount of sugar and vinegar to suit your palate.
Just before serving, remove the chicken from the marinade and pan-fry it in batches in a little vegetable oil. Make sure the pan is hot and not overloaded with chicken – that way you will end up with nicely coloured pieces of chicken. As each batch cooks, finish it with a pinch of garam masala and a little chopped mint.
Arrange all the remaining salad bits in a large bowl, add the courgette, coconut, chicken and vinaigrette, then finish by breaking up the poppadoms and scattering them over the top for a bit of crunch.