Thai chicken salad

Photographer: Emma
Serves 4

This post deserves a special introduction. It is our first guest blog post. Its author, Sarah Woollett, played an important role in the realisation of this project, contributing advice, tasty recipes and unwavering encouragement. Sarah is an incredibly competent and knowledgable cook and here in the studio we were lucky enough to be on the receiving end of her culinary efforts. She would appear, larger than life, bearing brioche fresh from the oven, Turkish delight ice cream, pumpkin scones and if we were really lucky, some of her beautiful handmade chocolates. Though she has now left Fisher & Paykel, we are fortunate enough to have a collection of her recipes that we will post over the coming months. We hope you enjoy them as much as we do!

I was taught this recipe at the old Epicurean Workshop in Auckland before it closed down. I know there are about a million Thai Chicken Salad recipes out there; however, this one is the best of the lot in my opinion. I love that it uses some ingredients that, for me, really epitomise the Thai flavour experience – Galangal, lemon grass and kaffir lime leaves. It is definitely worthwhile going out of your way to find these, as it is what gives the recipe its punch. I tend to buy frozen galangal (related to ginger) from the Asian food store, and grate it frozen otherwise it will go a bit mushy on defrosting. Just put what you don’t use back in the freezer for next time.


4 boneless chicken breasts
2 cloves garlic finely chopped
2 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
½ cup coconut cream
2 tablespoons fish sauce
juice of 1 lime
2 tablespoons palm sugar
100 grams roasted cashews (unsalted)
1 large red onion, finely slice
1 stalk of lemon grass, finely sliced
1 tablespoon galangal, grated
2 tablespoons very finely shredded kaffir lime leaves (main spines removed)
2 spring onions, finely sliced
10-12 mint leaves torn
2 frilly lettuces
1/4 cup coriander leaves


1. Cut off any skin or extra fat from the chicken breast and place in a bowl or baking dish. Rub in the garlic, soy sauce and 1 tablespoon of oil and marinate 1-2 hours or up to 1 day
2. Pan fry the chicken in batches, don’t overcrowd the pan or the chicken will not brown well. Fry 3-4 minutes each side or until cooked through. Remove and set aside to cool.
3. In a small sauce pan, stir together the coconut cream, fish sauce, lime juice and palm sugar. Stir over a low heat until the sugar has dissolved and then remove the pan the from heat.
4. Cut the cooked chicken into strips and, in a large bowl, combine with the cashew nuts, red onion, lemon grass, galangal, kaffir lime leaves, spring onions and mint leaves.
5. Pour the coconut dressing over the chicken, toss and mix well.
6. Serve chicken on a large plate on a bed of lettuce leaves with the coriander sprinkled over the top, as well as a few extra cashews if you have any (I often eat the extras while I am cooking so never have any left!)