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So youre going through yet another healthy eating phase, but you are fed up with limp lettuce and soggy cucumber with no taste. Well, I just may have the answer to brighten up your mealtimes, in the Hellmanns warm chicken Thai salad!
So, how can I find it? So that you can find this great product, it is worth mentioning the packaging, as it does not look like anything to do with salads, and is found in my local Tescos on the cook-in sauce shelves. This might be because it actually looks like a jar of cook-in sauce, but in fact is a small glass jar containing Thai sizzling cooking paste underneath a tapered glass jar containing lime & coriander salad dressing, covered in a plastic sleeve. Both of these can obviously be recycled or reused. To get in you have to rip the plastic film down the perforations, which then reveals the two jars, but this can be a bit fiddly. The Thai flavoured one is mainly blue, with a picture of a gorgeous looking salad on it. They do three other flavours too (Caesar, Italian & Tandori), but this one is my favourite. It costs £1.88 from Tescos.
So, how do I prepare it? To make this gorgeous salad, the additional ingredients you will need are 2 sliced chicken breasts and mixed salad of your choice. Scoop the aromatic paste out of the jar and stir fry the chicken in it for about 8 minutes. There is no need to add oil, as the paste already contains it. This can be a bit deceptive, as the chicken turns brown quickly due to the paste, so make sure you cook it thoroughly enough. Personally, I pour the chicken strips out onto a sheet of kitchen paper when cooked, to remove some of the oil, but it is not necessary, and you do lose some of the flavourings on the paper. In the meantime prepare your salad I find chopping it up and mixing it works nicely, rather than leaving it whole and separate. Spread it across the whole plate, and then pour the cooked chicken over it. Finally pour the lime and coriander dressing over the salad. I like a lot of dressing on my salad, but there is always quite a bit left over, which I use up on other meals. Therefore the whole process usually takes about 12 minutes and is simple (even *I* can manage it!). The jar says this is enough for 2-3 people, but we have always shared it between us quite happily.
So, how does it taste? As good as it looks! If you have used mixed salad, the colourful leaves and tomatoes look great against the slightly charred looking chicken, and then the creamy looking salad dressing adds further contrast. Believe me, this looks like something a restaurant would serve up, but is much cheaper. Ill start with the dressing. It is quite creamy and thick, with a lovely slightly tangy taste (must be the lime!), with those delicate Thai flavourings peeking through. Depending on how much coating each chicken piece has, will determine how crunchy it is. The coating is delicately spicy but without being hot, in the way I think only Thai cooking manages. It leaves you with a pleasant aftertaste, but without burning your mouth.
So, is it good for me? As you can imagine there are some calories in this meal due to the oil in the stir fry and the ingredients in the dressing, but overall, it has got to be better for you than a plate of fish and chips! I assume it is also OK for people on the Atkins diet to eat. The nutritional information does not distinguish between the paste and the dressing, but it says that it contains 299 calories per serving and 25g of fat (but it would be less if you mop off the fat before serving). For those with food allergies, the dodgy ingredients are yoghurt powder and egg yolk powder. There is no mention of nuts.
Conclusion I am addicted to this salad kit! I have paid a lot more for salads not nearly as nice in restaurants and pubs. It is simple and quick to prepare and it looks and tastes great. You could even cheat and use it as a starter for a dinner party. As long as you ignore the fat content, this comes highly recommended if you like slightly spicy food. Enjoy!