A great weekday lunch or casual weekend brunch/lunch idea. The chicken works best is you marinade it overnight, alternatively if you want to make this a dinner option, quickly marinade the meat in the morning before work (takes less than 5 mines) and chill in the fridge while you’re at work, then you can take leftovers in tupperware containers for lunch the following day. I’ve added just 1/2 teaspoon of hot green habanero sauce, but this is up to you, up it or lower it depending on your personal taste preference. It’s a great summery dish which would also make for a wonderful weekend lunch for mates served alongside some chilled beer or margaritas.
8 free-range skinless chicken thighs, excess fat removed
For the marinade:
- 4 tablespoons EVOO
- Zest of 1 and juice of 3 limes
- 1/2 cup of coconut cream
- 1 green chilli de-seeded & very finely diced
- Small handful of fresh coriander, finely chopped
- Leaves from 4 stems of fresh mint, finely chopped
- 1/2 teaspoon of hot green habanero sauce
For the salsa:
- Light olive oil spray
- 1 cup mung beans
- Juice of 1 lime
- 1 teaspoon dark agave nectar
- 1 Lebanese cucumber
- 1 long green pepper, seeds and white pith removed
- 1 punnet (1 large handful), baby heirloom tomatoes, halved or quartered
- 2 spring onions (scallions), finely sliced including part of the green tops
- 1/2 green chilli, seeds removed very finely diced
For the dressing:
- 2 tablespoons of coconut cream
- Juice of 1 lime
- 2 tablespoons light sour cream
- Sea salt flakes and freshly ground black pepper
- 2 limes for cooking with the chicken
- Green chilli, seeds removed very finely diced
- Olive oil for cooking
To marinade the chicken, add all ingredients into a mixing bowl and combine thoroughly, add the trimmed chicken, coat well, cover bowl with cling wrap and chill in fridge over night or for at least 2 hours.
Spray a non-stick frying pan with a little olive oil, warm gently over medium heat then add the mung beans. Fry gently for 1 to 2 minutes seasoning with a little salt and pepper. Then add the lime juice and agave nectar and carefully toss/stir everything together. Continue to fry over a medium heat for 2 to 3 minutes, until the beans are crispy and golden. Allow beans to cool on kitchen paper before adding to a mixing bowl then set aside.
To prepare the cucumber cut off the two ends and slice length ways down the middle. Using a teaspoon (or as I find my half teaspoon cooking measure very useful) scrape down the centre of each half to remove the seeds, discarding as you go. Cut each half again into long thin strips then turn the opposite way and dice into small cubes. Repeat the process with the long green pepper ~ cut off the stem, slice down the centre, remove white pith, slice both halves into long thin strips, then in turn into small cubes. Add the cucumber and green pepper cubes into the bowl with the mung beans, followed by the baby heirloom tomatoes, spring onions and finely diced green chilli. Stir all together to combine, season to taste with salt and freshly ground black pepper.
To make the dressing; add all ingredients together in a screw top jar and shake to combine.
To cook the chicken warm a griddle pan over high heat until almost smoking, fry the marinaded chicken thighs until chargrilled and cooked through. When they are half hay through cooking, squeeze the juice of 1 lime over the meat ~ this will add extra flavour and a glossy, golden colour to the meat. Repeat with a second lime towards the end of the cooking time. Remove chicken from pan, allow to rest for 5-6 minutes, then cut into bite-sized pieces.
Serve the chicken in wholemeal pita pockets with some extra finely sliced green chilli (optional) or in wrap bread along with the salsa and creamy dressing. To use this as a work lunch option, store the dressing in a small jar, salsa and chicken combined in a box and assemble at lunchtime (to avoid sogginess!).