Thai bean & chicken salad (Tom kha gai style)

Learn how to make a flavorful and filling bean salad with all the flavors you love from the Thai ‘Tom Kha Gai‘ soup

Crunchy green beans with tender chicken in a rich and decadent coconut dressing. Layers of flavor from ginger, garlic, onion, lemongrass, lime, cilantro, and mint. All the flavors you love from the traditional Thai Tom Kha Gai soup, but then captured in a salad. Filling, flavorful and visually stunning.

The flavors you love from Tom Kha Gai soup

You probably ended up here because you simply love the taste of Tom Kha Gai. So do I! Creamy, rich, spicy and sour soup with layers after layers of flavor. That’s why I have written my own little recipe for it back in the days (Tom Kha Gai soup). Because people loved it so much, it even ended up in my published cookbook.

There are however also delicious other ways to enjoy the flavor of this classic Thai coconut chicken soup flavor! Töltő, a hot-dog place in Budapest, Hungary was able to catch the essence of Tom Kha Gai in their lime ginger chicken hot-dog. I tried to recreate that idea an ended up with my award-winning slow cooker recipe: Tom Kha Gai pulled chicken sandwich.

To make this a summertime dish I tried to come up with a salad that includes this traditional Tom Kha Gai taste. That is how this bean & chicken salad was born.

A rich, decadent and filling salad

This salad is rich and filling! Pieces of chicken and tender beans drenched in a thick flavourful coconut dressing. It feels really decadent, even though no extra fat or oil is added (except the coconut milk). The fat that renders from the quarter chicken is what gives this salad its rich and lip-smacking mouthfeel. It’s a decadent treat which is still good for you.

Michelin Star-worthy presentation with crispy chicken skin

One way to make every dish look a bit fancier is to add more textures and shapes to it. In this recipe, you use the skin from the chicken to give the salad some extra decadent crunch and richness.

After simmering the chicken in water, peel off the skin, cut it into shapes, and bake it in the oven for another 10 minutes. You will get delicious crunchy chicken skin that tastes exactly like deep-fried or roasted chicken.

Crunchy chicken skin on top of the flavorful bean & chicken salad

Main dish for 2 people, if you add rice or noodles. Side dish for 4 people.
Preparation time: 35 minutes.

Ingredients for Tom Kha Gai bean salad

  • 1 chicken leg quarter, skin on, bone-in (about 375g)
  • 400g flat beans (runner beans or string beans work as well)
  • 200ml coconut milk
  • 2 onions
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 stalk lemongrass
  • 2cm ginger
  • 0,5 – 1 red chili pepper
  • 2 tbsp fish sauce
  • 1,5 tbsp lime juice
  • 1 tbsp brown sugar
  • 10 stalks of cilantro
  • 4 stalks of mint

How to make Tom Kha Gai bean salad

Put the chicken leg quarter into a pot, cover with water, lid on, and cook for 16 minutes on medium-high heat. Cut the beans into bite=size pieces and cook together with the chicken for another 4 minutes.

Meanwhile, cut onions into rings, cut garlic into thin slices, and finely dice the lemongrass and ginger. Depending on how much heat you like, finely chop up some red pepper as well.

Pour the coconut milk into a sauce-pan. Add the cut onion, garlic, lemongrass, ginger, and red pepper. Add fish sauce, lime juice, and brown sugar. Give it a good stir and let it bubble on high heat for 15 minutes.

Once the chicken and beans are cooked, drain them. Put the beans back into the pot to keep them warm. Place the chicken on a cutting board. Remove the skin and reserve. Shred the chicken meat with two forks into bite-size pieces.

For the crispy chicken skin: Preheat your oven to 200°c. Convection fan setting works best for crispy chicken skin. Place the chicken skin on some baking paper and roast in the oven for 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, add the shredded chicken to the sauce and simmer on low heat for another 5 minutes.

Finely chop the cilantro and mint. Mix the beans with the sauce, shredded chicken, cilantro, and the mint.

Garnish with the fried chicken skin, serve immediately and enjoy!

Comments are always welcome! What other ways do you enjoy the traditional flavor of Tom Kha Gai? Have you made a salad similar to this that you want to share with us? What do you think of the baked chicken skin? We want to know it all! Leave a comment and make the world a more delicious place

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