Thai Mango Chicken Salad

Thai salads are meant to do exactly that, and this Thai Mango Chicken Salad is a prime example. It thrills your tastebuds with an exquisite mingling of flavors, it’s visually beautiful, the smell of the mango and coconut are heavenly, and you’ll hear a pleasant crunch as you indulge in bite after delicious bite. The ‘touch’ sense is found in the salad’s variety of textures: the softness of the mango and chicken coupled with the firmness of the cucumber, red pepper, and sprouts, plus the wispy leafiness of the herbs. And the taste is so good, it’ll leave you craving more! At the same time, it’s remarkably healthy – there is no oil, so almost 0 fat. Try it and become a salad lover again!

 

Ingredients:
1-2 boneless chicken breasts, OR 1-3 cups cooked chicken
1-2 ripe mangoes, cut into cubes (see link for preparation tips)
1 small red pepper, diced
1/2 to 1 medium cucumber, diced
2 cups bean sprouts or pea sprouts
1/4 cup dry shredded unsweetened coconut
1/4 to 1/3 cup peanuts or cashews
3-4 spring onions, sliced, OR 3 Tbsp.finely chopped purple onion
1/4 cup fresh basil
optional: 1-2 cups cubed watermelon or star fruit
DRESSING:
1/3 cup fresh-squeezed lime juice
3 Tbsp. fish sauce
1 Tbsp. soy sauce
2 to 2+1/2 Tbsp. brown sugar, to taste
1-2 tsp. Thai chili sauce, OR 1/3 to 1/2 tsp. chili flakes
MARINADE: (skip for cooked chicken)
4 Tbsp. Thai oyster sauce OR regular oyster sauce
3-4 cloves garlic, minced
1-2 tsp. grated fresh ginger
1 Tbsp. brown sugar
Preparation:

(If using cooked chicken, skip to step 2.) Preheat your oven to 350 degrees, or warm up your grill. Stir together the marinade ingredients and slather over chicken breasts. Set chicken in a baking dish or pan. Add a little water to the bottom of the pan to keep from drying out. Bake 30 to 40 minutes, or until cooked through. Alternately, grill chicken over a hot grill, basting with leftover marinade. When chicken is cool enough, slice into bite-size pieces.
Place coconut in a dry frying pan and stir continuously 2-3 minutes over medium heat, or until it turns light golden brown and fragrant. Transfer to a bowl to cool. Set aside.
Combine all dressing ingredients in a bowl or cup, stirring to dissolve sugar. This dressing should be a mingling of sweet, sour, spicy and salty, but an emphasis on sweet and spicy (note: it will taste strong now, but will be delicious when combined with the salad). Set aside.


To finish, place all salad ingredients together in a large bowl: mango, red pepper, cucumber, sprouts, onion, basil, and chicken.
Pour over the dressing and toss well. Add the toasted coconut and nuts and toss again. Do a taste-test. If you prefer it sweeter, add a little more sugar. If too salty or sweet, add more lime juice. Add more chili for more spice. Serve right in the salad bowl or portion out into individual bowls, and ENJOY!

This recipe may make more salad dressing than you need, depending on how large your salad is. Also note that it’s an oil-free dressing, like most Thai salad dressing, so it will naturally collect at the bottom of your salad bowl. This isn’t a problem – just be sure to re-toss before serving if the salad is sitting for any length of time.

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