Chicken Salad With Bacon, Water Chestnuts and Grapes

2 cups cooked diced chicken
2 strips bacon
1 cup water chestnuts (blanched and sliced)
1 rib celery (thinly sliced)
1 cup seedless grapes (halved)
1 tablespoon parsley (fresh, chopped)
2 small shallots (finely minced)
1 tsp. lemon juice
1/4 tsp. grated ginger
dash of Worcestershire sauce
splash of olive oil
sea salt and black pepper

Place bacon in a large, deep skillet. Cook over medium high heat, turning frequently, until evenly browned. Drain the fat, crumble or slice and set aside.
Combine chicken, bacon, water chestnuts, celery, and grapes in a large bowl. In a small bowl, whisk together remaining ingredients. Combine with chicken mixture, adjust seasoning.

Malay chicken – water chestnuts curry

curry paste:
4 garlic cloves (roughly chopped)
2 green chillies (deseeded and roughly chopped)
3 lemon grass stalks (white part only, trimmed and thinly sliced)
4 cm piece fresh root ginger (chopped)
4 small shallots (chopped)
2 tsp. ground turmeric
2 or 3 tbsp. olive oil

Put the garlic, chillies, lemon grass, ginger, shallots and turmeric in a food processor and whiz, scrap the sides of the processor several times, add the oil and make a paste.

for the chicken:
1/2 kg chicken thighs and breasts (skinless, bite size pieces)
2 tbsp. olive oil
2 onions (chopped finely)
salt
pepper
2 kaffir lime leaves
1/3 cinnamon stick
1 – 2 star anise
1 can (400 ml) coconut milk
1/3 cup homemade chicken stock
1 tsp. muscovado sugar
2 tbsp. soy sauce
2 tbsp. fish sauce
250 g water chestnuts (peeled, finely chopped)
100 g chinese brown mushrooms
handful of coriander leaves (roughly torn)

Heat the oil in a large heavy bottom pan. Tip in the curry paste and stir over a medium heat for a few minutes until fragrant. Add the onions and cook, stirring frequently, for 5 minutes until they are beginning to soften (add tbsp. or two of water if it starts to burn). Season the chicken with salt and pepper and add to the pan. Stir to coat them in the spice paste. Add the lime leaves, cinnamon stick, star anise, coconut milk, stock, sugar, soy and fish sauces and bring to the boil. After 10 minutes of simmering on low heat add water chestnuts and cook for 10 more minutes, then add mushrooms and cook for few more minutes until the chicken is tender and the curry sauce is thicken enough. Taste, adjust seasoning and generously sprinkle with coriander.
After 15 minutes of cooking I removed cinnamon stick and star anise, otherwise the flavor would be to strong for our taste.

Sweet and sour chicken with water chestnuts

We love this type of recipes: Put everything together in a wok and cook for few minutes. Tasty, refreshing and very easy.

4 chicken breasts (skinless, boneless, cut into bite size pieces)
1 red pepper (de-seeded, cut into bit size pieces)
1 green pepper (de-seeded, cut into bit size pieces)
1 yellow pepper (de-seeded, cut into bit size pieces)
thick thumb-size piece of fresh ginger (peeled and finely chopped)
6 garlic cloves (chopped)
1 cup fresh water chestnuts (skinless and finely sliced)
1 bunch spring onions, cut into 2.5cm/1in pieces
1 cup fresh pineapple (cut in bite size pieces)
splash of olive oil
ground white pepper

sauce ingredients:
1 tbsp. muscovado sugar
2 tbsp. rice vinegar
3 tbsp. rice wine
2 tbsp. soy sauce
3/4 cup chicken stock
2 tbsp. homemade ketchup
2 tbsp. cornstarch mixed with 2 tbsp. water

Heat the oil in a wok. Add the chicken, peppers, ginger and garlic. Fry for 2-3 minutes, then add the water chestnuts, spring onions and pineapple and fry for about 30 seconds.
Add all the sauce ingredients and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for about 6 minutes. Season with white pepper.

Our firs meal with water chestnuts. They are actually not a nut at all, but an aquatic vegetable that grows in marshes. And they stay crispy and juicy no matter how long you cook them. The flavor is slightly sweet and nutty. They also taste great eating fresh, maybe to put them in a salad next time.