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Simon Holst's recipes - Chicken salad, fatoush with lamb - 10 February

Curried Chicken and Kumara Salad

This substantial and delicious salad does involve three different stages, but all of them are easy, and the result is worth the effort.

For 2-3 large servings:

2 tbsp natural unsweetened yoghurt
1 tbsp sweet mango chutney
1 tsp curry powder
2 cloves garlic, minced
300-400g boneless, skinless chicken
500g kumara
2-3 sticks celery, sliced
1/2 cup roasted cashews or peanuts, roughly chopped
1/4-1/2 cup chopped dates
1/4 cup chopped coriander

1/2 cup plain unsweetened yoghurt
1-2 tsp sweet mango chutney
1 tsp curry powder
1 tsp salt

Put the first measure of yoghurt, chutney and curry powder and the chopped garlic into a plastic bag. Add the chicken, then massage the bag so the chicken is evenly coated with the marinade. Set aside for at least 15 minutes (refrigerate for longer periods).

Peel the kumara and cut into 2-3cm cubes. Cook until tender either by microwaving on High (100%) in a covered container for 7-10 minutes, or by boiling gently, then drain (if required) and leave to cool to room temperature.

Cook the chicken by grilling 5-10 cm from the heat, for 5-10 minutes on each side (depending on thickness) or until the outside has browned and the juices run clear when the chicken is pierced at the thickest part. Leave chicken to stand for 5-10 minutes, then cut into bite-sized pieces.

While the chicken cooks, stir the dressing ingredients together and prepare the remaining salad ingredients.

Place the cooled kumara, chicken and remaining ingredients (reserving a little of the coriander to garnish) in a large bowl, drizzle with dressing, then toss gently to combine.

Garnish with the reserved coriander and serve immediately or refrigerate until required.

Fatoush with Lamb

Pita bread make an unusual and interesting addition to this salad. If served shortly after it is made, they are slightly crunchy, but as the salad stands they soak up some of the juices and become almost meaty - either way they're good.

For 4 servings:
500g lamb rump
1 tbsp lemon juice
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp paprika

4 medium (about 300g total) pita breads
4 medium tomatoes
1/2 medium telegraph cucumber
1 green capsicum, cored, quartered and sliced
1/2 medium red onion, thinly sliced
1/2 cup chopped mixed coriander and mint
1/2 tsp sugar
1/2-1 tsp salt
pepper to taste
3 tbsp lemon juice
2 tbsp olive oil

Place the lamb in a plastic bag with the lemon juice, oil, cumin and paprika and leave to marinate while the oven heats to 200degC.

When the oven is hot, remove the lamb from the plastic bag, place on a roasting pan and cook for 12-15 minutes, depending on the thickness of the rump and how well you like it cooked. Remove from the oven and leave to stand for 5-10 minutes before carving into slices about 5mm thick.

While the lamb cooks, spread the pita breads on another tray and place these in the oven until they begin to crisp up (about 5 minutes), then remove them from the oven. When they are cool enough to handle, cut or tear them into bite-sized wedges.

Cut each tomato into 6-8 chunks and place these in a large salad bowl. Halve the cucumber lengthways and scoop out and discard the seeds, then cut the flesh into bite-sized chunks and add to the bowl along with the sliced capsicum, onion and chopped herbs.

Add the sliced lamb and pita bread wedges to the bowl and gently toss everything together. Sprinkle in the sugar and add salt and pepper to taste, drizzle with the lemon juice and olive oil, then toss again.