The Healthiest (& Tastiest) Chinese Takeout Recipe
Hemsley & Hemsley's sesame chicken salad and cucumber noodles tastes just like fast food, but better.
The healthiest and simplest thing you can do for yourself is to eat seasonal, whole foods. By this point, we’ve learned that much. But that doesn’t mean we necessarily follow that mantra—there’s many a hurried workday when we end up with a Styrofoam takeout container of Thai food for lunch followed by a dinner of movie popcorn. As inconsistent as we are, there are people who make eating well (and making food that is healthy but never boring or bland) look ridiculously easy. Take sisters Jasmine and Melissa Hemsley, the London-based foodies who are masters at seasonal nutrient-dense cooking that also, gasp, tastes good. Every Tuesday, Hemsley & Hemsley will be back with a new, easy-to-make recipe perfect for al fresco summer dinners (rosé not included) and packed lunches alike. We’re hereby limiting our popcorn dinners to a once-a-month max.
THE summer salad! This refreshing salad with tangy Asian flavours is the perfect way to use up all the juicy leftover bits of chicken from a roast. It’s also delicious served with a piece of grilled fish or seared sliced beef. Freshly spiralized cucumber noodles substitute the usual heavy base of refined flour noodles, making this recipe a perfect lunch option that will leave you feeling energized, not sluggish. We love using raw chopped pak choi when we can find it but Chinese-style cabbage and finely shredded English cabbage works too. Prepare everything in advance and then dress the salad just before serving to keep the cucumber crunchy. If you’re packing this for lunch, place the chicken and dressing in your container first, then arrange all the veg on top so they don’t get squashed. No leftover chicken? Roast two large chicken thighs at fan 200°C/ gas mark 7 for 25–30 minutes until cooked, then shred with two forks to cool the meat quickly. Save the the skin, crisp it further if needs be and then chop up and sprinkle over for a deliciously tasty low-carb and gluten-free alternative to croutons.
Use organic when possible.
FOR THE SALAD
2 tbsp black or white sesame seeds
1 small head of romaine or cos lettuce, shredded into ribbons
1 small head of pak choi or 150 g Chinese cabbage, shredded into ribbons
3 spring onions, thinly sliced
a handful of fresh coriander, roughly chopped
250 g cooked shredded chicken
FOR THE SESAME DRESSING
5 tbsp sesame oil (not toasted) or extra virgin olive oil
2 tbsp toasted sesame oil
Juice of 1 lime or 3 tbsp lemon juice
2 tsp raw runny honey 1 tsp tamari or sea salt
1 finely chopped red chilli to garnish
1. Gently toast the sesame seeds in a dry pan until fragrant.
2. Use a spiralizer or julienne peeler to make the cucumber noodles. Or use a regular vegetable peeler to slice the cucumbers lengthwise into wide pappardelle-style ribbons.You might want to cut the long, spiralized strands in half to make them easier to eat.
3. Prepare the dressing by whisking together all the ingredients in a bowl or shaking them together in a jam jar.
4. Add the lettuce,pak choi, spring onion and coriander to a bowl.
5. Pour over the dressing just before serving and mix everything together (hands are best).
6. Plate up with some shredded chicken and top with toasted sesame seeds. Serve immediately.
Our book, The Art of Eating Well, contains over 150 nutrient-dense recipes free from gluten, grain and refined sugar. Follow @HemsleyHemsley on Instagram for behind-the-scenes sneak peeks and the latest from Jasmine and Melissa.