When testing this recipe I was slightly taken aback by how popular it was with my son and his friends that were at our house at the time. Now, I know my kids like spicy food but it’s easy to get stuck in a rut believing that most children prefer understated, bland flavours. How wrong I was, for research shows that even the very young prefer stronger tastes so to test the theory why not try this recipe for spiced chicken with white beans & chilli dressing. Feel free to adjust the quantity of chilli to suit or be brave and go for it…
Spiced chicken with white beans & chilli dressing
Peppadew are slightly sweet piquant chillies with a good level of heat without being mind-blowingly hot. Bottled jalapenos can be used instead if can’t find pappadew.
3 skinless, boneless chicken breasts
1 tbsp smoked paprika
1 large yellow pepper, seeded and thinly sliced
300g canned drained haricot beans, rinsed
200g vine-ripened cherry tomatoes, halved
1 banana shallot, thinly sliced
2 handfuls of basil leaves, torn
2 handfuls of coriander leaves
1 pitta bread, toasted until crisp and torn into pieces
6 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
juice of 1½–2 limes, depending on how juicy they are
2 peppadew chillies in vinegar, drained and finely chopped
½ tsp red pepper flakes
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 Put the chicken breasts between 2 sheets of cling film and flatten with a meat mallet or the end of a rolling pin until an even thickness, about 1.5cm. Mix together the paprika with 1 tablespoon of the oil in a large, shallow dish. Season, add the chicken and spoon the marinade over the top until evenly coated.
2 Heat a griddle pan over a high heat until hot. Turn the heat down slightly and chargrill the chicken in two batches for 7–10 minutes, turning twice, until cooked through and blackened in places. Leave to rest and cool slightly for 5 minutes, then slice into strips.
3 Meanwhile, to make the dressing, mix all the ingredients together in a bowl. Taste and add the extra lime juice, if needed. Season and leave to one side.
4 Put the yellow pepper, beans, tomatoes and shallot and half the herbs in a large, shallow bowl. Spoon over half of the dressing and turn to coat everything. Top the salad with the chicken, remaining herbs and crisp pitta and spoon over the rest of the dressing.
Find this recipe and more in Nicola Graimes’ new book The Salad Bowl published by Ryland Peters & Small.
Photography credit: Matt Russell