For 6 people you need

I use 9 skinless chicken breasts, each sliced horizontally into 3 flat slices

When catering for a crowd I bulk up the salad by adding celery, cubed pineapple and more cucumber, and using pasta as a base, then, you can use 1 breast per person

100ml canola oil f frying

For the marinade

30ml tikka curry paste (Woolworths or Pataks)

250ml full cream yoghurt

10ml grated ginger

5ml grated lemon zest

25ml lemon juice

For the dressing

50ml of above marinade

150ml yoghurt

100ml good quality mayonnaise (you can replace this with yoghurt)

1 small red chilli deseeded and cut finely

A handful of fresh coriander chopped

To serve

Cos or any other crisp lettuce

Extra virgin olive oil

A squeeze of lemon

¼ English cucumber cut into 5mm thick ‘matchsticks’

1 egg per person, boiled to desired taste

Fresh coriander

Any of the following work well:

Slices of Avocado

Cherry tomatoes, halved

Fresh pineapple cubed

Celery cut into ribbons or 1cm slices

If you want to add a carbohydrate component use savoury rice at room temperature, quinoa or cooked pasta: penne or farfalle (bow-tie) work well.

To prepare

Mix all the marinade ingredients, setting aside 50ml for the dressing.

Add the sliced chicken breast, mix it well to ensure that every piece is coated, cover and refrigerate until required. You can do this step a day ahead.

To oven bake:

Heat oven to 180°C. Remove the breasts from the marinade, retaining a good layer of marinade on the chicken, and lay them on a baking tray (foil covered if you want to save on washing up!) and bake for 15 minutes. Allow them to cool to room temperature.

To pan fry:

Heat an oiled frying or grill pan. Fry the breasts for 2 minutes on the first side and 1 minute on the second size. If you get grill marks it is great, but don’t be tempted to overcook the chicken in favour of the brown marks! Allow them to cool to room temperature.

For the dressing

Mix all the ingredients. If I’m cooking for a large crowd I will scrape the remaining marinade into a bowl and microwave it for at least a minute and allow it to cool and add it to the dressing. (The reason for cooking the used marinade is to ensure that any chicken juices that have leached into the marinade are cooked, thus destroying any nasty microorganisms that may be lurking there!). You may want to add more yoghurt or mayo to adjust the flavour.

How to boil eggs for soft yolks and firm white:

Eggs must be at room temperature. Use Extra Large Eggs

Bring a pan of lightly salted water to the boil.

Carefully, using a slotted spoon, lower the eggs into the boiling water.

Set the timer for 4 minutes. After 4 minutes turn off the heat and allow the eggs to stand in the water for a further minute.

Drain the warm water off and swirl the eggs in the empty pan to crack the shells.

Cover eggs with cold water and let then stand until you need them. This can be done hours ahead of time. When you need the eggs carefully remove the shells. I find doing this with the eggs submerged in the cold water the easiest. (Leave the shells in the water, once done, toss the water & shells into any snail infested area of your garden…… suicide for snails!)

To assemble the salad

Slice whole Cos lettuce into wedges, drizzle with olive oil and a few drops of lemon juice.

Slice the chicken or keep pieces whole and arrange on a platter

Sprinkle over the cucumber and any other salad greens that you may have selected, finishing with coriander leaves.

Serve the dressing in a separate bowl.

If I serve savoury rice or quinoa I dish spoonfuls in the ‘bowl’ of the lettuce leaf before adding the chicken.

If I serve it with pasta I add the pasta to the cooked chicken strips and the dressing and toss it all together. Add celery, cucumber and pineapple at this stage.

The green salad is served separately otherwise it becomes a mushy mess.