Life is a series of natural and spontaneous changes. Don’t resist them; that only creates sorrow. Let reality be reality. Let things flow naturally forward in whatever way they like. – Lao Tzu
I am the kind of girl who finds something that works for her and sticks to it… be it a skin care routine…brand of diapers that work for my little Zizmaroo (Sidebar: Major sigh of relief now that Zizmaroo is fully potty trained! The amount of money spent on keeping her tush nice and dry! LAWDY! It could have gotten me a Eurotrip!) …the spicy Thai chicken salad on the Java menu …a great Segway into todays post about a strawberry,blue poppy seeds and a chicken – Bear with me, I’m not about to launch into a ‘why did the chicken cross the road variety of joke!” I’m just listing the ingredients that went into my salad!
Back to my opening quote on change, I have been going through some major life changes and as earlier mentioned when I commit, I commit… that is until I’m feeling non-committal… which may be 5 minutes or 5 years later! For as long as I can remember, my go-to salad on the Nairobi Java House menu has always been the spicy Thai chicken salad, I never even bothered to look at the other salads on the menu … coz that would have felt like cheating – and infidelity is not my thing! (PSSSST there may or may not be a double entendre in my salad infidelity issues!!) but due to the life changes that I have been undergoing, about two weeks ago when I was getting my morning coffee to go, I dared to steal a glance at the salad selections on the menu and their strawberry and chicken salad caught my eye… (allow me to talk in third person because I feel like I dissociated from myself – what happened with that salad was truly an outer body experience!) 5 minutes later Abida, a triple latte and a strawberry chicken salad exited the coffee shop, 4 hours later Abida wolfed down the salad and within minutes of devouring it she decided she just had to attempt to recreate it!
Flash forward to the present, well technically it’s still the past because this happened over the weekend but hey! So Shella called me up last week and suggested a play date for she and I … as we played, Bambam and Zizmaroo would be engaged in mature conversation!!! I have always been into role play… wait wrong content…I forget this blog is Abida’s Kitchen not Abida’s Boudoir! *Clutch your pearls ladies* ; I digress! The word I intended to use is role reversal not role-play! which is not to say that I am averse to role-play! *tihihihihi*. Once the playdate was set I was stoked because I had just the salad to serve! My variation of the Java House strawberry chicken salad which I gave the eponym Abida’s Strawberry & Blue Poppy Paprika Chicken Salad! I REFUSE to wait around for who knows how long, for a street, the wing of a hospital a Barbie doll to be named after Me..
I’m not selective! I will take the glory wherever i can get it from even if it’s the manufacturers of Barbie!
To start off I prepared… mphhhhh… perhaps I shouldn’t use the word prepared because it conjures an image of putting in quite bit of effort into a task and by no stretch of the imagination did I break a sweat in putting together the fruit, nut and chocolate nibbles for Zizmaroo and Bambam… This was a necessary hunger stop-gap measure but it did have the added advantage of making me look like a fancy kitchenista who serves up chocolate and strawberry platters to her guests!
The salad took about half an hour to prep and
stage set the table… that is inclusive of the cooking time for the chicken and dare I say the outcome was rather splendid!
- 700g cubed chicken pieces
- 250g Strawberries (or storiberries if you ask Zizmaroo!)
- 3 heaped Tbsp Paprika
- 4 Cloves of garlic
- 3 tbsp Freshly ground black pepper
- 2 Tbsp Olive oil
- 1 Royco Cube (the green kind that sends your other in law on a witch hunt for hidden meat in your kitchen!)
- 500g Mixed Salad leaves
- 1 Large red onion
- Blue poppy seeds
- 200ml Plain Yogurt
- 2 tsp Honey
In a Pan Heat the olive oil and add the chicken to cook, crush 2 cloves of garlic and once the exterior of the chicken pieces are cooked (about 3 mins), add the garlic stir and cook for a minute, then add the royco cube and paprika, stir and let it cook for a further 3 mins. Add the ground pepper stir and take it off the heat to cool… The rather excessive use of the word stir in this blog post has just brought me to the realisation that the Kitchen is the only place you can ‘Stir the pot’ without it being frowned upon!!!
P.S: Do not overcook the chicken and make it rubbery….you do not want Firestone calling you to ask for the recipe!
For the salad dressing, empty out the yogurt into a bowl, add the honey and stir, add the garlic (one clove at a time) just so you can control the amount of garlic…so taste and add more if your taste buds find it agreeable. add 1/2 tsp paprika and thoroughly whisk everything together… you can add some black pepper if you so wish. and voià you have your yogurt aioli… a much healthier alternative to using mayonnaise for your aioli…and it tastes just as good if not better! (*whispering tones* you can also use this as a dip for finger foods)
Let the dressing sit as you assemble the salad, so that the flavours marry… that’s right! let the garlic put a ring on that yogurt!!
( Feel free to dance along to the Beyoncé song- Single ladies…..infact I am going to do you a solid and give you a dance tutorial… so lets all take a break and work those thighs!! ……aaaand you’re welcome!)
<) )╯all the single ladies
\( (> all the single ladies
<) )╯oh oh oh
All this for a salad dressing! (sometimes I shock myself!) Considering all the effort i’ve put in Garlic and Yogurt had better stay married!
Clean the salad leaves and set aside for excess water to drip off, clean and slice the strawberries …if you have a salad spinner you can use it… a useless contraption if you ask me! a kitchen cloth does just as good a job! Slice the onion in half (transverse section), then slice each half into thin strips and soak this in some water and salt- to get rid of the strong ‘onioney’ taste… onion breath is not a good look!
Assemble your salad by mixing all the ingredients, sprinkle some poppy seeds and …DRUMROLLS… foodies you have your strawberry & blue poppy, paprika chicken salad with your yogurt aioli dressing!
One of the delights of life is eating with friends, second to that is talking about eating, And for an unsurpassed double whammy, there is talking about eating while you are eating with friends.- Laurie Colwin
Once stuffed proceed to taking silly face selfies! or as the two mature individuals (Zizmaroo and Bambam) have shown us have a spoon fight!oh! and don’t forget to talk about the food!….don’t forget to embrace life’s spontaneity!