Food Wine Magazine: September Cover Recipe

Thai Chicken & Watermelon Salad

Despite being out of university and an academic environment for several years now, I still tend to run my life on an academic calendar. September, for me, is the time for turning over new leaves,

for taking on extra projects, and for feeling rejuvenated and re-energized to tackle some personal goals. It’s when fitness routines and devoting myself to personal betterment take precedence, forsaking more social activities in order to prepare of my all-time favourite winter activity: hibernation! By April, I’ve given it all up and am ready to embrace summer and all its terrible habits again.
THE TEST: When I saw this recipe I was worried it wouldn’t be terribly filling, especially in the original method of placing everything in Chinese soup spoons. I opted to use their suggested variation of arranging all the ingredients in a salad bowl, especially considering I was making this dish for me, myself, and I, while F. was off traveling for work. Filling 5 dozen soup spoons (this recipe’s yield) for myself seemed a little – I don’t know – extravagant?

Two years later, I now know that Tian Phat (my local Asian grocer) stocks lemongrass, but I hadn’t had the chance to use it until now. Happily, I picked up the two, big stocks the recipe called for, along with some other key ingredients – fish sauce, red chillies, limes, watermelon, cilantro, mint – and then got to work learning how to prepare the lemongrass. Where would we home cooks be without Google? Really?

THE RESULTS: Ah, lemongrass. At last we meet. What a beautiful ingredient to work with! While a bit difficult to handle, I was awarded with a soft, lemony aroma that immediately filled my senses after stripping off just a few of the outside layers. The recipe said to mince only the pale inner core, but considering it peeled in continuous circles inwards, and only the very lower half of the stalk had a pale core, I was unsure of how much to peel off. I felt that I was wasting quite a bit of it in the end. Any ideas on how to use up the scraps, or create less in the first place? Despite the fact that you don’t need chopsticks for Thai food, with everything swimming around in the sauce (I used the whole serving over my one bowl. Just because.), I thought it was a great excuse to break out a set of my Korean chopsticks. I remember being baffled by people who would eat salads with chopsticks in Korea, balking at all the extra effort it surely must take, only to learn to prefer it as a method of getting those damp pieces of lettuce off a plate, or for snagging that cherry tomato that would undoubtedly burst onto your (obviously) white shirt once pierced with a fork. Perfect as a starter or for lunch, and once the chicken is marinated, this salad is quite easy to throw together and is packed with remarkable flavour. I once read somewhere that Thai food, in particular, takes pride in ensuring the perfect balance between sweet, sour, salty, spicy and savoury (or bitter) in every meal. That balance certainly was accomplished with this salad! The combination of the watermelon, lime, fish sauce, salt, chillies, lemongrass and cilantro, all soaked into the chicken, was truly a delight to the palate. Take this to work for lunch tomorrow and you’ll never pack a frozen entree again!
Thai Chicken and Watermelon Salad

As part of CookThatBook’s culinary New Year’s resolutions, we have committed to creating each month’s cover recipe from Food & Wine Magazine.NOTE: If any of you would like to follow along with us and join in on the fun, we’d love to compare notes! So pick-up a copy of the latest issue of Food & Wine and get cooking. The mission of Food & Wine Magazine is to find the most exciting places, new experiences, emerging trends and sensations in the culinary and wine industries. From travel and entertaining to luxury and design, this magazine brings an energetic and stylish take on food and wine. For more information on Food & Wine Magazine, please visit


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