With the odd exception, the weather has been bright and warm on our farm lately. Our veggies are getting planted out, the kids are spending less time in front of the television and the cows spend their days sunning in the fields.

I am enjoying the warmer days too. I love eating outside, and over the last week or so, we have been venturing out for meals on our veranda just that bit more. The barbeque has been christened for 2022, with grilled meats and veggies making more of an appearance on our plates - hopefully the sign of a good summer, full of great meals, to come.

I admit, I am less of a burgers and hot dogs kind of girl and more of a steak and chicken person when it comes to grilling. I like pairing grilled meats with big, bountiful salads bursting with texture and flavour. Bright flavours complement char-grilled proteins and the fun bit is, you can mess around with whichever flavours you enjoy when it comes to grilling.

This salad is refreshing, full of different textures and bright flavours. \ Janine Kennedy

Now, disclaimer time, when I made the video for this recipe it was raining quite heavily, so instead of grilling the chicken accompanying this salad, I seared it off in a very hot pan and then turned down the heat to let it cook through. The important thing is to get a nice sear and deep colour on the outside of the meat, much like when you're grilling.

This salad takes a bit of preparation, but is a total winner. It's filling; you have your carbs, veggies and sauce all in the one bowl and the flavours are perfectly balanced. In Thailand, foods are balanced with an even amount of salty (usually from fish sauce or soy sauce), sweetness (usually from palm sugar; I use brown), heat (from small Thai chillies; I use jalapenos here) and sourness (from lime juice, rice vinegar or, sometimes, tamarind). I also love using peanut butter in a Thai-inspired dish - it adds depth and a moreish, creamy texture.

The rice noodles can be tricky - if you over-cook them on the hob, they will break up and turn to mush. If you simply soak them in hot water, they won't be tender. I soak mine in boiled water for 10 minutes, transfer that to a pot, boil for two to three minutes, rinse in cold water and then soak them in boiled water again until they reach the desired texture for the salad. You want them to have a bit of bite, but you need to be able to chew through them!

Peanut noodle salad with soy-marinated chicken

We crave fresh flavours in the summer months and this salad really hits the spot in that regard. \ Janine Kennedy

For the chicken:

10 boneless, skinless chicken thighs

Juice and zest from one lime

1 Tbsp salt

2 tsp pepper

2 tsp fish sauce

2 Tbsp brown or palm sugar

2 tsp dried lemongrass (optional)

3 Kaffir lime leaves (optional)

3 Tbsp light soy sauce

1/2 red chilli, seeded and finely minced

1 tsp each garlic and ginger powder

For the salad:

200g dried rice noodles (any kind, flat or vermicelli noodles both work well)

1/2 cucumber, seeded and finely diced

1 carrot, peeled and finely diced

1 red bell pepper, seeded and finely diced

1/2 red onion, finely diced

1/2 red chilli, seeded and finely minced

50g chopped fresh coriander

50g chopped fresh basil

50g sliced green onion

100g dry roasted peanuts, roughly chopped

For the peanut sauce:

60g smooth peanut butter (I use Nutshed)

2 tsp fish sauce

1 heaping Tbsp brown or palm sugar

1 Tbsp light soy sauce

Juice from one lime

2 tsp salt

2 tsp rice wine vinegar

1-2 Tbsp boiled water, to bring the sauce together


1 Marinate the chicken - place the chicken thighs in a dish and add the lemongrass and Kaffir lime leaf (if using) and the minced chilli, fish sauce, soy sauce, sugar, garlic and ginger powder and lime juice. Add in a generous amount of salt and pepper, mix well and set aside for 30 minutes.

2 Soak the rice noodles in 1l of freshly boiled water for 10 minutes. After that, add the noodles and water to a pot and bring to a boil for two to three minutes. Rinse the noodles with cold water, place them back into the bowl and add an additional litre of boiled water to cover. Leave the noodles to soak while you make the salad.

3 Prep all of your vegetables - the carrot, red onion, red bell pepper, chilli pepper, cucumber, coriander, basil and green onion - and place them in a large bowl.

4 Rinse the noodles in cold water and leave drain for roughly five minutes, then add to the bowl of chopped vegetables and mix.

5 Make the peanut sauce - combine the peanut butter, lime juice, rice wine vinegar, sugar, soy sauce, fish sauce and salt in a bowl. The mixture will be clumpy, so thin it out to your preferred consistency with a bit of freshly boiled water.

6 Add the peanut sauce to the noodle salad and toss until all of the noodles and vegetables are evenly coated. Garnish the salad with chopped dry roasted peanuts and more fresh herbs (coriander and basil).

7 Grill the chicken (or sear in a hot pan) until dark and caramelised on the outside and cooked through on the inside, about eight to 10 minutes on a medium setting. Chop the chicken and scatter over the noodle salad. Enjoy immediately, or let sit in the fridge overnight*.

*Salad will keep for three days in a seal container in the fridge.

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