Jerk Chicken Quinoa Citrus Salad

Jerk Chicken Citrus Quinoa Salad (1 of 21)

PROTEIN PACKED SALAD | A hearty and healthy chicken salad with creamy avocado, nutty quinoa, fresh parsley and lots of bright citrus flavours.

Fancy a touch of the Carribean? Well, look no further than Jerk Chicken. First, let’s clarify: “Jerk” doesn’t mean what you think it means. It means Jamaican BBQ. This well rounded flavour of sweet, hot, herbal and spicy chicken can be served with rice, beans or pasta. In this particular instance, I chose quinoa as I fancied a light dinner after the repetitive days of gluttony over the recent Lunar New Year.

I love quinoa not only due to its health benefits, but because it is so versatile and easy to prepare. Did you know that quinoa is one of the most protein-rich foods we can eat? It is a complete protein containing all nine essential amino acids. Furthermore, it is chock full of fibre (good for relieving constipation) and is high in iron and magnesium. For more information about the health benefits of quinoa, click here.

The prime burst of flavor in this salad comes from the jerk chicken. Jerk seasoning boasts elements of sweetness, hotness, herbal-ness and spicy-ness – what a terrific combination to titillate your taste buds. Now, many of you may be wondering whether you can make your own jerk seasoning? Short answer, yes. Can I be bothered tonight? No. Problem with Hong Kong is that jerk seasoning is not easy to find. Thanks to my dear friend Noah though, he managed to grab me some on one of his (many) business trips to the British Virgin Islands.

Jerk Chicken Citrus Quinoa Salad (17 of 21)

Jerk Seasoning…not for “jerks”. Jerk seasoning typically comprises of a mixture of onion, vinegar, cayenne pepper, all spice, cinnamon, black pepper and oil.

As for how I chose to cook the chicken, I opted for the sous vide (my latest cooking gadget addiction) which inevitably takes longer (but results in chicken that is more moist and juicy). Feel free to pan-fry your chicken tenderloins/breast instead if you only have 10-15 minutes to spare (after you marinade it).

Now, for a little light dressing, simply whisk together lime juice, orange juice, olive oil, and a dash of honey. This citrus dressing is so refreshing and light that it won’t overpower the intense flavours from the jerk chicken.

Jerk Chicken Citrus Quinoa Salad (3 of 21)

Jerk Chicken Quinoa Citrus Salad

INACTIVE TIME: 1.5 hours | ACTIVE TIME: 4 minutes | SERVES: 1

INGREDIENTS:

  • 2 small chicken tenderloin fillets (or 0.5 pound chicken breast fillet if you prefer)
  • 1 tablespoon jerk seasoning
  • 1 bunch of Italian parsley
  • 1 limes
  • 1 orange
  • 1/2 tablespoon of liquid honey
  • 1/2 cup uncooked quinoaJerk Chicken Citrus Quinoa Salad (13 of 21)

METHOD:

  1. Preheat pot of water with the sous vide to the desired temperature. In this case, I set it to 140°F/60°C for cooking the chicken tenderloins. Jerk Chicken Citrus Quinoa Salad (11 of 21)
  2. Marinade chicken tenderloins with the jerk seasoning and place in zip-lock bag. Jerk Chicken Citrus Quinoa Salad (19 of 21)Jerk Chicken Citrus Quinoa Salad (18 of 21)
  3. Once desired temperature is reached, immerse zip lock bag into the pot of water, removing all air via the water immersion method. Leave in the water for 1-1.5 hours.
  4. While chicken is cooking via the sous vide method, prepare the quinoa. Simply place half a cup of uncooked quinoa into a pot set on medium-high and pour in 1 cup of water. Leave to boil, stirring occasionally for 10-15 minutes until cooked. Set aside and leave to cool.Jerk Chicken Citrus Quinoa Salad (12 of 21)Jerk Chicken Citrus Quinoa Salad (9 of 21)
  5. Prepare the salad dressing. Juice one lime and half an orange. In a small bowl, combine these juices together and whisk in half a tablespoon of honey. Set aside.Jerk Chicken Citrus Quinoa Salad (8 of 21)Jerk Chicken Citrus Quinoa Salad (7 of 21)
  6. Chop up the coriander and the remaining half of the orange into small chunks. Dice the avocado into small bite sized chunks. Combine everything with the cooled down quinoa, mixing in the salad dressing.
  7. Once chicken is done in the sous vide, remove from the zip lock bag and pat dry. Heat a heavy cast iron skillet or pan on medium-high heat and coat with a light drizzle of oil. Once oil shimmers throw the chicken tenderloins in and pan-fry until golden brown (~2 minutes each side).  Jerk Chicken Citrus Quinoa Salad (6 of 21)
  8. Remove chicken from pan and slice into smaller bite-sized pieces.Jerk Chicken Citrus Quinoa Salad (14 of 21)
  9. Transfer quinoa salad base into a bowl for serving. Top with the freshly cooked chicken slices and serve while warm.Jerk Chicken Citrus Quinoa Salad (4 of 21)
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Cherry Tomato and Roasted Lemon Salad

Roasted Candied Lemon With Mixed Tomato Salad (3 of 32)

I am a sucker for colours. Precisely because of that, I was immediately captivated by the vivid kaleidoscope of colours that deck out the pages in Plenty More, Ottolenghi’s vegetarian cookbookOne usually does not equate healthy produce with good taste but trust me, he somehow manages to make vegetables taste phenomenal as if they have undergone some sort of transformative renaissance.

Flipping through the pages, the tomato and roasted lemon salad caught my eye. Who would have thought one could incorporate lemon rind into a salad? So I’ve made an adaptation to Ottolenghi’s “Tomato, Onion, and Roasted Lemon Salad” since (a) I am not a fan of raw red onions, and (b) nor was I able to lay my hands on pomegranate molasses in Hong Kong (okay, I confess, was too ‘lazy’ to make my own). I simply substituted maple syrup for the molasses.

As the man advises, seek out the sweetest tomatoes you can find to balance out the bitterness of the lemon. I personally don’t find that the local tomatoes in Hong Kong deliver enough taste or sweetness so I bought some juicy cherry tomatoes imported from Holland.

Roasted Candied Lemon With Mixed Tomato Salad (8 of 32)

INGREDIENTS:

  • 2 medium lemons, halved lengthwise, pips removed and cut withways into 2mm eslices (260g)
  • 3 tablespoon oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon caster sugar
  • 8 sages leaves, finely shredded
  • 400g baby tomatoes, yelllow or red or a mixture of both, halved
  • 1/3 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 10g parsley leaves
  • 15g mint leaves
  • Seeds of 1 small pomegranate (120g)
  • 11/2 tablespoon pomegranate molasses (NB: I used maple syrup instead)
  • 1/2  small red onion, finely sliced (50g)
  • Salt and black pepperRoasted Candied Lemon With Mixed Tomato Salad (28 of 32)

METHOD:

  1. Preheat the oven to 170 degrees celsius.
  2. Bring a small saucepan of water to the boil, add the lemon slices and blanch for 2 minutes. Drain well and then place the lemon in a bowl and pour over 1 tablespoon of the oil, 1/2 teaspoon of salt, the sugar and sage. Gently mix and then spread out exerting on a parchment lined baking tray.  Place in the oven and cook for 20 minutes, until the lemons have died out a little. Remove and set aside and cool.Roasted Candied Lemon With Mixed Tomato Salad (22 of 32)Roasted Candied Lemon With Mixed Tomato Salad (21 of 32)Roasted Candied Lemon With Mixed Tomato Salad (16 of 32)
  3. Place the rest of the ingredients in a bowl along with the remaining oil, 1/4 teaspoon of salt and some black pepper. Add the lemon slices, store gently and serve. 
    Roasted Candied Lemon With Mixed Tomato Salad (14 of 32)

Roasted Candied Lemon With Mixed Tomato Salad (6 of 32)

Tahini-dressed Haricots Verts with Walnuts and Red Pepper Flakes

Tahini dressed haricot verts with walnuts and chilli flakes (2 of 9)

A quick and easy Middle Eastern inspired side dish reminiscence of the creamy richness of a ranch dressing.

Drawing inspiration from Yotam Ottolenghi’s Haricots Verts and Freekeh recipe with a minty tahini dressing, I’ve decided to create my own little adaptation by doing away with the freekeh and the dried mint. After all, keeping things simple and fast (particularly for the sides) is how I like to cook when hosting and managing multiple dishes.

Green beans are low in calories, and a good source of fibre (which is essential to ensure regular bowel movements). Moreover, they are an important source of vitamins C and B9/Folacin. The first is vital for the formation and maintenance of connective tissues; it is also a highly effective antioxidant in protecting the cornea, skin, and tissues. The second – vitamin B9 or Folate – is required by cells to grow and multiply: it is recommended for women hoping to get pregnant, children and anyone whose body requires cellular renewal (during growth or convalescence, etc.).

Given their nutritional content, one should regularly consume more green beans as a side dish or as a salad. This recipe is ideal for those who find green beans too bland and want something that tastes similar to the consistency of a ranch dressing (but minus the calories). Since this side dish is served cold, it can be prepared in advance so that it leaves you with more ample time (and hands) to work on your main course.

Tahini dressed haricot verts with walnuts and chilli flakes (3 of 9)

INGREDIENTS:

(Serves 3-4 as a side dish)

  • 1 pound haricots verts, trimmed
  • 1 small garlic clove, finely grated
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons tahini
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried mint
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure maple syrup
  • 1/4 cup coarsely chopped walnuts
  • 1/4 cup fresh cilantro leaves with tender stems
  • 1/4 cup fresh dill sprigs
  • 1/4 cup fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves with tender stems
  • 1/4 teaspoon Aleppo pepper or crushed red pepper flakes
  • Kosher salt, to taste

METHOD:

  1. Wash and drain haricot verts. Tahini dressed haricot verts with walnuts and chilli flakes (9 of 9)
  2. Cook haricot verts in a pot of boiling water for ~4 minutes. Immediately dunk in an ice bath (bowl of cold water with ice) to stop the cooking process.Tahini dressed haricot verts with walnuts and chilli flakes (7 of 9)Tahini dressed haricot verts with walnuts and chilli flakes (6 of 9)
  3. Prepare the tahini dressing by whisking the garlic, oil, lemon juice, maple syrup, tahini, and 1 tablespoon of water together in a bowl. Season with salt. Add the haricot verts and toss around until evenly coated. Top with the chopped dill, cilantro, parsley, walnuts and red pepper flakes before serving.

Tahini dressed haricot verts with walnuts and chilli flakes (4 of 9)

Roast Cauliflower with Dates in Lemon-Tahini Sauce

Roast Cauliflower in Lemon-Tahini Sauce (1 of 14)

A peach was once a bitter almond; a cauliflower is nothing but a cabbage with a college education.” ~ Mark Twain.

Cauliflower, which literally means “cabbage flower”, is a member of the cruciferous family of vegetables, often overshadowed by it green cousin broccoli. The cauliflower originally came from Cyprus, and was introduced to France from Italy in the middle of the 16th century. Though it tastes rather bland on its own, this white cabbage flower is extremely nutritious and can be considered as a superfood.

First, this white cabbage contains sulforaphane, a sulfur compound that has also been shown to kill cancer stem cells, thereby slowing tumour growth. Moreover, sulforaphane has been found to significantly improve blood pressure and kidney function. Cauliflower also contains a wealth of anti-inflammatory nutrients to help keep inflammation in check (too much inflammation is linked to cancer and other diseases).

Due to our busy lifestyles, most of us lack the vital nutrients in our bodies needed to keep it performing at an optimal level. This is where incorporating cauliflower into your diet comes in handy. One serving of cauliflower contains 77 percent of the recommended daily value of vitamin C. It’s also a good source of vitamin K, protein, thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, magnesium, phosphorus, fiber, vitamin B6, folate, pantothenic acid, potassium, and manganese.

Cauliflower really doesn’t have much flavour on its own. However, this white superfood absorbs flavours and spices extremely well. It really doesn’t take too much effort to transform plain old cauliflower into something quite scrumptious.

I find that dressing cauliflower with a tahini-lemon garlicky sauce complements the white flower harmoniously while roasting it adds a certain ‘crunch’ to it and gives it a nice golden colour. Throwing in some dates adds a pleasant sweetness to the dish while pine nuts offer an extra dimension to jazz up the simplicity of this healthy side dish.

Roast Cauliflower in Lemon-Tahini Sauce (11 of 14)

INGREDIENTS:

(Serves 4 as a side)

  • 1 large head cauliflower, cut into 1-inch florets (about 1 ½ lb.)
  • 4 teaspoon of olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon of garlic powder
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced (about 2 teaspoon)
  • 2 tablespoon of tahini
  • 1 tablespoon of lemon juice
  • ¼ teaspoon of salt
  • 1 tablespoon of chopped parsley
  • 1 tablespoon of pine nuts, roasted

METHOD:

1) Preheat oven to 220 degrees celsius.

2) Toss cauliflower with 2 teaspoon of olive oil, season with salt, pepper and garlic powder. Throw in the dates and layer both evenly on a roasting tray. Bake for 12-15 minutes until golden.
Roast Cauliflower in Lemon-Tahini Sauce (8 of 14)

Roast Cauliflower in Lemon-Tahini Sauce (5 of 14)

3) Meanwhile, heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a saucepan over medium heat. Saute garlic in olive oil for 1-2 minutes until fragrant. Add tahini, lemon juice, 5 tablespoon of water, and salt. Simmer over low heat for 1-2 minutes. Remove from heat.

Roast Cauliflower in Lemon-Tahini Sauce (6 of 14)

4) Transfer cauliflower florets into a mixing bowl. Whisk the sauce and pour over the cauliflower and toss till the florets are thoroughly coated. Sprinkle with the roasted pine nuts and chopped parsley. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Roast Cauliflower in Lemon-Tahini Sauce (14 of 14)