A taste of the tropics


Coconut poached chicken, wild rice and mango salad

At the moment work is hectic. So the recipes that are most useful to me right now are not those that I can knock up in a few minutes, but those that involve cooking one day for the next. Coming home after a full on day (often in someone else’s kitchen) in the start of summer’s heat to “something I prepared earlier” is a lifesaver. Poached chicken is quite possible life’s answer to being busy. The early part of the week sees you poaching a chicken, letting it cool, then feasting on it for the rest of the week. Here is what I also like about poached chicken. Put chicken in pot and cover with liquid. Add heat. When liquid boils, reduce to a mere simmer and skim off the froth. Add other bits and bobs if using. Do not let the water boil again or chicken may get upset. When drained, said chicken is ready for (A) serving hot or (B) cooling for a later love tryst with the good old mayo and bread or taste sensations like this colourful Asian flavoured salad. This dish also serves well for impromptu Saturday lunch gatherings – it’s so damn pretty to look at with all its colours, a cinch to make, and even better to eat.

Serves 4



2 double chicken breasts

400ml light coconut milk

1 1/2 cups chicken stock

3 tbsp fish sauce

2 tbsp palm sugar



200 g wild rice

2 small mangoes, cubed

1 large red chilli, deseeded, finely sliced

Juice and zest of 1 lime

½ cup each coriander, Vietnamese mint, Thai Basil, leaves pulled


Place the coconut milk, chicken stock, fish sauce and sugar in a large saucepan and bring to a boil. Add the chicken, reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer for 10 minutes. Remove from the heat and cool the chicken in the poaching liquid. Rinse the wild rice under running water then cook in a saucepan of boiling water according to packet instructions. Allow to cool before combining in a large bowl with the remaining salad ingredients. Shred the chicken and add to the salad, spooning over a few tablespoons of the poaching liquid. Serve immediately.