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Eat Pretty: Thai Chicken With Spicy Coconut Sauce

June 27, 2014

This, friends, was a dinner creation that ended up being too good not to share: Thai-style grilled chicken with charred sugar snap peas and tangerines tossed in a spicy mint dressing and garnished with charred chopped peanuts.

Its 15 easy, common-to-most ingredients (soy sauce, brown sugar, lime, ginger, etc.) and ready in about half an hour. Also, rather than making a mayo-based dressing, I use reduced coconut milk to make it healthier. It’s also one of those great salads that tastes even better the next day, cold (perfect to pack for lunch).


Grilled Thai Chicken:

-¼ cup low-sodium soy sauce

-3 tbsp brown sugar

-2 tbsp lime juice (reserve zest for dressing)

-1 tbsp turmeric

-2 tbsp pure sesame oil

-6-8 cloves garlic, minced

-2 tsp ginger, minced

-2 tsp white pepper

-4 boneless skinless chicken breasts (around 1.5 lbs chicken)

Spicy Basil & Coconut Dressing:

-¾ cup unsweetened coconut milk

-2 tsp lime juice

-1 tbsp lime zest

-2 tsp ginger, minced

-2 tsp basil, minced

-½ tbsp fish sauce (optional)

-2-4 birds eye chilies, thinly sliced (or use any hot pepper, adjusting quantity to taste)

-drizzle of pure sesame oil

-pinch salt & sugar

Charred Sugar Snap Pea & Orange Salad:

-1 naval orange

-½ lb sugar snap peas

-2 tsp pure sesame oil

-1 tsp torn mint leaves

-salt & pepper


1. Combine marinade ingredients for grilled chicken in a medium mixing bowl. Place chicken in a shallow dish and coat completely with marinade. Place in refrigerator to marinate while preparing dressing and salad. (Please, be careful when handling this marinade as it contains turmeric, which will leave behind a yellow stain on plastic Tupperware, your manicure, kitchen towels, etc.)

2. Combine dressing ingredients in a small saucepan and heat over moderately low heat, whisking frequently, until the dressing has thickened, 3-5 minutes. Transfer dressing to a bowl or container to cool while preparing salad.

3. Take chicken out of refrigerator and heat lightly oiled grill pan over moderately high heat until hot but not smoking. Grill chicken, turning over once, until just cooked through, 14 to 16 minutes total. While chicken grills, prepare the salad.

4. Using a sharp knife, peel the orange taking care to remove the bitter white pith. Halve the orange lengthwise and slice it crosswise 1/8 inch thick. Transfer slices to a medium bowl.

5. In a medium skillet, heat 2 tsp. sesame oil and add the sugar snap peas in a single layer, working in batches if necessary. Cook over moderately high heat, without stirring, until nicely charred, about 2-3 minutes. Transfer peas to the bowl of orange slices and season lightly with salt and cracked black pepper. Sprinkle with torn mint leaves and toss lightly.

6. Transfer grilled chicken to a cutting board and cut into ½ inch slices. Divide salad onto four plates and drizzle with dressing. Top the salad with chicken slices and garnish if desired. Enjoy immediately, or save for lunch. (Just let the chicken cool first, it’ll keep for up to three days.) —Amy Kothari

Amy Kothari is the founder of the artisan jam and jelly company Big City, Small Batches and shares her recipes and food photography on her blog, Tastes Like Chicken.