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As part of an effort to include healthier meals into our home menu, I made an Asian-flavoured Grilled Chicken with Brown Rice and Salad for dinner over the weekend.

We don’t usually eat brown rice at home, but I’m hoping to introduce some complex carbohydrates and grain into our regular diet.  Brown rice is rice with only the hull removed (as opposed to white rice, which has hull and all its nutrients removed in the refinement process).  Brown rice contains vitamins, minerals and fibre, is cholesterol-free, low in calories, is a good source of energy and helps in fat-burning.

How did I get them to eat it? Of course I cheated. The rice was cooked in home-made chicken stock with garlic and ginger, to ensure it went down well with everyone.  And it worked so well that I was told it would be alright if we converted to brown rice for good!

For the grilled chicken, I used chicken fillets which were marinated with bashed garlic, sliced red onion, sliced ginger and (just because I happened to have 2 stalks of lemon grass in my fridge) 2 stalks of lemon grass chopped (tender white parts only). Just a little salt was added, then it was left to marinade for a bit before grilling/ pan-frying with a minimal amount of olive oil on low-medium heat till just cooked through, so it remained tender and juicy.

What I was particularly proud of about this meal was the salad. Or the salad dressing, to be exact.  It was a zesty home-made dressing I’d originally come up with some time back to make an Asian-flavoured chicken salad.  Its flavour is very similar to that of the yu sheng (raw fish tossed in a vegetable salad) we get from rice porridge (chok) stalls at hawker centres.

What goes into the salad dressing is approximately 1 tbs sliced shallots (or substitute with chopped red onion, although not ideal), 2 tbs finely-minced ginger, some chopped spring onion, 1.5 tbs of sesame oil, 1.5 tbs light soya sauce, half a chilli sliced, and the juice of 2-3 medium-sized limes (add more if preferred), all whisked together till well-blended. Do adjust the quantities of the ingredients shown here to taste, as they are rough approximates. Tossed with mixed salad leaves, sliced cucumbers and cherry tomatoes, this makes a very refreshing salad, especially when eaten chilled.

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