This is a good salad recipe to prep ahead of time. You can poach the chicken, cook the rice, blanch the green beans, and make the dressing up to two days ahead. Then toss baby arugula with the cold poached chicken, basmati rice, green beans, yellow pepper, cilantro, mint, and homemade nam jim – a spicy Thai dressing made with lime juice, chilies, sugar, and fish sauce. So refreshing, low-calorie, and beautiful — a perfect patio dinner served with a crisp, cold Sauvignon Blanc.
Chicken and Rice Salad with Nam Jim Dressing
FOR THE SALAD
- 2 boneless, skinless organic chicken breasts
- 6 inch piece lemon grass, cut into chunks
- 3 pieces whole star anise
- 1 inch fresh ginger, peeled and thickly sliced
- 1 cup basmati rice (I used a combination of brown, red & white)
- 20 green beans, sliced diagonally into three pieces each
- 1 medium bell pepper, thinly sliced
- 4 cups baby arugula, stems removed
- 1 cup chopped cilantro
- 1/2 cup chopped mint
FOR THE DRESSING
- 4 inch piece lemon grass, coarsely chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, coarsely chopped
- 1 large serrano pepper, coarsely chopped (remove seeds for less heat)
- 3 Tbsp. lime juice
- 3 Tbsp. vegetable oil
- 2 Tbsp. brown sugar
- 2 Tbsp. fish sauce
- 1 Tbsp. seasoned rice vinegar
POACH THE CHICKEN:
- In a medium sauce pan with a lid, bring 4 cups of water to a boil.
- Reduce heat to low and add lemon grass, star anise, ginger and chicken.
- Place the lid on the pot and poach the chicken for 10 to 15 minutes until it is cooked through.
- Remove the chicken from the poaching liquid to cool, but save the liquid.
- Refrigerate the chicken until you are ready to assemble the salad.
COOK THE RICE:
- Strain the poaching liquid to remove the pieces of lemon grass, anise and ginger.
- Wash the pot, then return it to the stove with the poaching liquid.
- Bring the liquid to a boil, then add the rice and cook until tender, about 15 minutes.
- NOTE – all of the water will not be absorbed. Drain the rice in a colander and set aside to cool.
- Refrigerate the rice until you are ready to assemble the salad.
BLANCH THE GREEN BEANS:
- Bring a small pot of salted water to a boil.
- Add the beans and cook until they are crisp tender.
- Drain and refresh in an ice bath or under cold water to stop the cooking process and preserve their bright green color.
- Refrigerate the beans until you are ready to assemble the salad.
MAKE THE DRESSING:
- Combine all dressing ingredients in a blender and process until smooth. Place dressing in the refrigerator until ready to use.
- MAKE THE SALAD:
- Slice the poached chicken into thin slices.
- Combine the chicken, rice, arugula, green beans, yellow pepper, cilantro, mint in a large bowl. Toss with dressing and serve immediately.