Sesame Chicken, Avocado and Mandarin Salad

Labour weekend is here – woo hoo, that means we’re we’re heading out to Waiheke, but not before the final episode of Project Runway, with a big ole fingers crossed that New Zealander Sean Kelly wins. (And yes he did – such awesomeness!!!!!!) He attended the same university as my Henry in Massey, (and is like his doppelganger) and he really is incredibly talented. Fashion aside (I love fashion) this is the most delicious salad that I got inspired to make when I walked into my local fruit and veg shop and found some spectacular mandarins. When peeled the segments were glorious and plump with juice…and totally coated in pith, so for photographic purposes, I painstakingly peeled every last little bit of pith off those suckers (I was getting very pithed off by the end of it – Dad joke!) so that you could see how luscious and orange they really are. Right, nuff said, it’s bloody delicious, guaranteed yumminess.

3 chicken breasts

2 tsp sesame oil
1/2 tsp chilli flakes
2 star anise
skin of 1 mandarin
sea salt 
3 small cos lettuces
2 avocados, sliced
3 mandarins, peeled and segmented
2 spring onions, angle sliced
1/2 cup chopped coriander or coriander micro greens
1 tbsp toasted sesame seeds
2/3 cup good quality mayonnaise
juice of 1 big mandarin
1 1/2 tsp sesame oil (I know! Annoying, but that is the right amount!)
1 heaped tsp minced fresh ginger
1/2 tsp chilli flakes 

Pop the chicken breasts snugly in a
pot and cover with water (at least 3cm over chicken), add 
sesame oil,  chilli flakes, star anise, mandarin skin and a big pinch of salt. Cover and
bring to the boil, then
simmer for 8 minutes. Turn off the heat and
leave to cool in poaching liquid (30 minutes), then remove from the pot
and allow to cool as you prepare the rest of the salad. Break up cos lettuce and divide between 6 serving plates. On top arrange the avocados, mandarins, spring onions, coriander, chicken (shredded or sliced). Shake dressing ingredients together then drizzle over salads and top with a sprinkling of almonds and sesame seeds and reserved spring onion. Serves 6 for lunch.


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