Coconut-Poached Chicken Salad with Thai Iced Tea

Coconut Poached Salad

This light and easy Vietnamese-style noodle salad gets its fantastic flavor and texture from coconut-poached chicken, fresh papaya and crisp vegetables, complemented by silky rice noodles, served with a delicious Coconut Nectar and Lime Dressing. It's made even better with our recipe for Thai Iced Tea.

Serves: 4
Difficulty: easy
Prep time: 10 min
Cook time: 20 min
Special tools: none

Ingredients

Coconut-Poached Chicken Salad
1 1/2 lb chicken breasts, trimmed
14 oz (1 can) coconut milk
6 lime leaves
2 T lime juice
2 t salt, divided
3 T fish sauce
1 qt water
7 oz rice stick (noodles) or Pad Thai noodles
1/4 c cilantro leaves, stems removed
1/4 c Thai basil leaves, stems removed
2 T mint leaves, stems removed
1 small red or green chili (optional), sliced thinly
1/4 c firm papaya, matchstick cut
1 c cucumber, sliced on bias
lime wedges for garnish

Coconut Nectar and Lime Dressing
2 T fish sauce
1/4 c coconut sugar or cane sugar
1/4 c fresh lime juice
1/2 t salt

Thai Iced Tea
5 c water
4 black tea bags
1 star anise pod
1 cinnamon stick
1/3 to 1/2 c coconut nectar, to taste*
1/4 c sweetened condensed milk
1/4 c half and half

Steps

Coconut-Poached Chicken Salad
Place chicken breasts, coconut milk, lime leaves, juice, 1 t salt and fish sauce in small pot. Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer and cook 15 min, turning a few times. Turn off heat and allow chicken to steep in hot coconut milk mixture until internal temp reaches 165 degrees, then chill in liquid.

Meanwhile, bring water to a boil. Add 1 t salt and rice stick noodles. Remove from heat and let noodles soften, approx. 3 min. Drain and reserve noodles.

Remove chicken from coconut milk and slice, approx. 1/4-inch thick. Strain and reserve coconut milk liquid. Toss noodles in liquid, using just enough to moisten and coat well. If desired, reserve remaining mixture for another use (excellent for soup!).

To assemble salad, divide noodles among bowls, adding chicken slices, cilantro, basil, mint, chili (if desired), papaya and cucumber. Serve with lime wedges and Coconut Nectar and Lime Dressing on the side.

Coconut Nectar and Lime Dressing
Combine all ingredients well, taste and adjust, as desired.

Thai Iced Tea
Bring water to a boil. Add tea bags and spices; steep 5 minutes. Remove tea bags and spices. Add coconut nectar and stir to dissolve. Cool tea. Add ice to 4 glasses; pour tea over ice, filling each glass 3/4 full. Add 1 T sweetened condensed milk and 1 T half and half to each glass. Serve immediately.

*Our recipe uses uniquely flavorful coconut nectar, however, white sugar may be substituted.