Serves 4

Namjim is a staple sauce found in Thai cooking. Its hot, sour, salty, sweet flavour is delicious. It is, however, important to balance the flavours so that no one taste dominates the others.

I really love this crunchy salad, which is something that I often make for myself at home. I like to eat it alongside simple steamed rice which provides a gorgeous contrast.

For the namjim
1 bunch of coriander
2 cloves of garlic, peeled
A pinch of salt
2 green birds eye chillies, chopped
2tbsp palm sugar
2tbsp fish sauce
3tbsp lime juice
2 red shallots, peeled and finely chopped
1 small organic free-range chicken
1 small knob of ginger
1 bunch of coriander
3 kaffir lime leaves

For the salad

2 small carrots
2 small cucumbers (or half a large one)
8-10 candlenuts or cashew nuts
A handful of coriander leaves
10 or 12 basil leaves

To make the namjim, pound the coriander stalks (the roots and stalks of coriander are used in cooking; the leaves are reserved for garnishes and salads), with the garlic and salt in a pestle and mortar until well crushed. Add the chillies and continue to pound.

Mix in the sugar, fish sauce and lime juice, and then the chopped shallots. Set aside.

Wash and pat dry the chicken, then place it in a large pot. Add the ginger, coriander and lime leaves, and cover with cold water. Place over a medium heat, bring to the boil then turn to a simmer - you want the chicken to cook gently. Poach for 40 minutes.

Take the pot off the heat and allow it to cool for a while, before removing the chicken from the cooking broth. Poaching is a lovely way to cook chicken that's to be served at room temperature - it remains deliciously soft and moist.

For the salad, peel the carrots and cut into fine matchsticks. Slice the cucumbers in half lengthwise and scrape out the seeds with a teaspoon. Cut into fine matchsticks. Gently roast the nuts in the oven until golden brown. Remove and allow to cool, then chop roughly.

When the chicken is cool enough to handle, remove the flesh from the bones and shred it with your fingers. Place in a bowl, alongside the carrots, cucumber, coriander, basil and toasted nuts. Dress with the namjim and serve immediately.

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