Thursday 21 May 2015

Spicy Grilled Chicken Salad + Creamy Coriander Dressing.

Assalamu alaikum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuhu!

In the Name of Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful

This is how you will get me to eat a salad.
By, first, centering it around my favourite: grilled spicy chicken.
And, before we continue, can we just discuss how moreish this spicy, kinda charred, chicken was.

Seriously, I think most of it got eaten in the kitchen whilst assembling this beauty of a salad. Grilled chicken is my new best friend - eaten straight off the grill, in a sandwich, bagel, wrap, on a pizza, with eggs - I could go on.
But the best way is with this salad. So, we were discussing how you would get me to eat one. Grilling chicken is a must and then you'll need only my favourite raw veggies.
I'm sorry but a salad is only worth eating if it contains things that you actually like. One of the recipes that inspired this salad used red onion and avocado. And, whilst slices of  the two are incredibly photogenic, it was never going to be. Me and raw onion have never ever been good friends and any avocado that comes near my plate had better be mashed. 
And, the final way? Steer clear of any dressing made with the strong stuff that is extra-virgin olive oil. I know! My dad is the world's biggest olive oil fan but I find that it can overpower in an instant. Maybe I need to experiment more or be less heavy-handed with bottle, but at the moment, only the light stuff will do for me. Oh, and for more brownie points? A salad dressing that looks suspiciously similar (and so not on purpose, I promise) to my favourite samosa-drowning weapon. 
Yes, guys. This salad is good. And, I'll eat it any day of the week.

Grilled Chicken, previously: Pasta Arrabbiata with Grilled Spicy ChickenBBQ Chicken Salad

Chicken Salad, previously: Punchy Crunchy Chicken Noodle SaladSpicy Chicken with Zesty Rice SaladBBQ Chicken Salad

A Simple List of Ingredients:

1. Chicken Breast

2. Salt
3. Crushed Red Chilli
4. Garlic Powder
5. Paprika
6. Ground Cumin
7. Dried Oregano
8. Ground Coriander
9. Black Pepper
10. Cornflour
11. Vegetable Oil

12. Fresh Coriander
13. Plain Yoghurt
14. Garlic
15. Green Chilli
16. Lime
17. Olive Oil
18. White Wine Vinegar

19. Lettuce
20. Carrots
21. Cucumber
22. Tomatoes
23. Pickled Jalapenos
24. Sweetcorn (which I didn't end up using!)

Bismillah, let's begin!

First job, marinate the chicken. Take 2 Chicken Breasts and slice them length-ways through the middle. This helps them to cook faster - always a plus point!

You could also pound the chicken breasts to make them flatter and of even size - but we find slicing them is easier.

Once the chicken is sliced, it's time to season. First, 1 teaspoon Salt. Or to taste.

Then, to get the spice going in the spicy, 1/2 teaspoon Crushed Red Chilli Flakes.

Feel free to add more or less if you like - we used less because our chilli powder is really strong. We learnt this the hard way.

Then, 1/2 teaspoon Garlic Powder.

And, for colour, paprika. I love this stuff.

In goes, 1 and 1/2 teaspoons Paprika.

Next, my Mother's favourite, 1 teaspoon Ground Cumin.

For another favourite, dried oregano. I remember my Mother would always and still does, sprinkle some over her pizza just before it went into the oven.

Add in 1 teaspoon Dried Oregano.

Then, for a major family favourite, ground coriander. We always add more than any recipe says - the ground stuff is completely different to the fresh, and we love it.

To the chicken, add 1 teaspoon Ground Coriander.

Next, 1/2 teaspoon Black Pepper.

And, 1 teaspoon Cornflour.

Finally, a good glug of Vegetable Oil. Use the vegetable instead of olive here because this chicken is going to be grilled on a hot grill and olive oil won't work too well there.

Plus I think the oil is the secret weapon in this marinade - it is what will get those spices to stick and coat the chicken all over, giving it maximum flavour.

The last thing to do is give everything a good stir. I actually found that it's easier to do this with clean hands or plastic gloves - you want the spices to coat the chicken as evenly as possible.
Random side-note (which I just thought of as I was typing): You could also mix the spices and oil together in a small bowl and pour them over the chicken.
Now, it's time to let this chicken marinade. I left it covered in the fridge overnight but a few hours would do too.

While the chicken is marinading, make the creamy coriander dressing. I used a mini chopper to make it but a food processor would work too.

The star of this dressing .. coriander! Unfortunately, I didn't have any fresh so had to make do with frozen - and I am happy to report that it worked just as well since the next day I actually made the dressing again with fresh and the taste is the same. This one in the photos finished almost instantly - it's that good!

Take about 1 cup (8 ounces/226 grams) Fresh (or frozen) Coriander, roughly chopped.

Throw it into the blender.

And, the second star of the dressing is the creamy part - plain yoghurt. The original recipe used 1/2 avocado instead so feel free to do that. I would have loved to use avocado (it would be blended after all) but I didn't have any. Moral of the story? Make do with what's in the fridge people.

So, to the blender, add 1/2 cup (4 ounces/113 grams) Plain Yoghurt.

Next up, 1 Garlic Clove, peeled and 1 Green Chilli. Feel free to add more green chillies, if you like.

Give the chilli and garlic a rough chop and throw them in.

Next, for a little acidity, the juice of 1/2 Lime.

Then, 1/4 cup (60ml) Olive Oil.

Pour it on in - ps. feel free to use the extra-virgin stuff, if you want.

For a little tang, 1 and 1/2 teaspoons White Wine Vinegar. Normal vinegar would do here too.

Finally, Salt, to taste

And, we're done!

Plug in the blender.

And, blitz!!

Blend until smooth and creamy. Give it a taste, and adjust the seasoning, if needed.

Pour it into a bowl and set aside.

Now, when your chicken has marinaded, it's time to grill. I used a grill pan and heated it over a medium-high heat.

Take your chicken and grill it in batches.

Pop on two pieces and do not touch them. Don't fiddle with them or try to flip them too early. Just let them do their thing.

They themselves will tell you when it's time to flip. Can you see the edges turning white? That is your cue, my friend, to grab those tongs and flip!

Let them cook for about 5-10 minutes more, depending on how thick the chicken piece is.

Set them onto a plate and let them rest for about 5 minutes - cover with foil to keep warm.

This gives you time to assemble your salad. There are no rules - use what you like and what you have in the fridge or cupboard!

I used:
shredded lettuce + grated carrot + diced cucumber + tomato wedges + pickled jalapeno rings.
Why? Simply because I'll actually eat those things.

Then, slice your chicken up and place on top.

And, it's nearly time to eat!

By the way, you could totally make this with leftover roast chicken (like I did 2 days ago) and eat it with your favourite sauce.

But we have made this dressing and it's time to pour it on!

Like so!

Pile your plate high, people, it's time to eat! Also, this salad would be great scooped up into a pitta or wrapped in a wrap. 
So many ideas, so little time!

Full Written Recipe:

Spicy Grilled Chicken Salad + Creamy Coriander Dressing.

Prep Time: About 15 minutes + a few hours for marinating.
Cook Time: About 10-15 minutes.
Serves: About 4 people.


For the Spicy Grilled Chicken
2 large Chicken Breasts, sliced lengthways through the middle
1 teaspoon Salt
½ teaspoon Crushed Red Chilli
½ teaspoon Garlic Powder
1 and ½ teaspoons Paprika
1 teaspoon Ground Cumin
1 teaspoon Dried Oregano
1 teaspoon Ground Coriander
½ teaspoon Black Pepper
1 teaspoon Cornflour
Good glug Vegetable Oil

For the Creamy Coriander Dressing
1 cup (8 ounces/226 grams) Fresh Coriander, roughly chopped
½ cup (4 ounces/113 grams) Plain Yoghurt
1 Garlic Clove, roughly chopped
1 Green Chilli, roughly chopped
Juice of ½ Lime
¼ cup (60ml) Olive Oil
1 and ½ teaspoon White Wine Vinegar
Salt, to taste

For the Salad
Lettuce, sliced
Carrots, grated
Cucumber, sliced
Tomatoes, sliced
Pickled Jalapenos, sliced


To make the grilled spicy chicken, simply mix all the ingredients together. Leave to marinade for a few hours or overnight, if you can.

To grill the chicken, heat a grill pan or a frying pan over a medium heat and cook the chicken in batches until cooked through and golden – about 10 minutes or so. Set aside.

For the dressing, place all the ingredients in a small blender and blitz until smooth. Taste and adjust seasoning, if needed.

For the salad, prep the veggies. Put them onto a platter, slice up the chicken and place on top. Drizzle with dressing and serve up! 

{Adapted and inspired by Laura in the Kitchen and The Garden Grazer}

This Time One Year Ago:
Creamy Chicken + Vegetable Pasta

This Time Two Years Ago:
Courgette + Mushroom + Spring Onion Frittata

Keep me in your duas, please, and enjoy your salad,


Spice Enthusiast
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