You don't have javascript enabled! Please download Google Chrome! POACHED COCONUT CHICKEN AND MANGO SALAD - The Wholehearted Cook


Dani VennMeat Lover

We’re heading into a New Year and truth be told, I am feeling exhausted. This may have something to do with the fact I am now 33 weeks pregnant and I am letting myself relax for the first time in a while, or that 2017 has been an epic year and it’s all catching up with me now!

But I am so grateful for this past year and the incredible experiences I’ve had, like getting married in NZ to my partner of 10 years and getting pregnant for the second time. Hosting two wellness retreats in Bali, growing my business Eat It Up Creative and working with some really amazing clients and colleagues. As well as relaunching The Wholehearted Cook and having readers like you be interested enough to read my blog and cook my recipes, thank you, I feel especially blessed.

Here are some snaps from the past year that literally make my heart burst with JOY!! Thanks to Nisha Ravji for the beautiful wedding snaps and Ironchef Shellie for the ones taken in beautiful Bali as well as my recipes…

I’ve been spending some time reflecting lately, which the turn of a new year tends to bring and I’ve been thinking about my intentions for and what I would like to achieve in the next 12 months. This is something that has been ingrained in me since I was a kid and forced to stand up in front of my whole extended family at the Christmas table and share what I had achieved in the past year and what I would like to achieve in the next year. I think this intimidating experience may have somewhat psychologically scarred me as a young girl, but it’s stuck with me ever since and I can’t shake it.

Now I love setting both short and long term goals, targets and intentions for my career and personal life, I find it a really important part of my self-development and living a fulfilling life. I find it helpful to jot down a few simple notes on things that you are proud you achieved in the past year, a key word you would like to carry with you into the next year (mine is ‘authenticity’) and a few key milestones you would like to achieve in the next 3, 6 and 12 months and start thinking about how you can go about achieving them.

I also think it’s really important to reflect on what you are grateful for in the past year, the little things that have bought you everyday joy and happiness, and what remember to express gratitude in a small way everyday. This is the key to true happiness and abundance. At the moment, I am feeling pretty sore and uncomfortable being heavily pregnant but I keep thinking about the hundreds of thousands of refugees spread across the world at the moment, from Syria to Myanmar and South Sudan, especially those who are pregnant, and it keeps my very minor ailments at bay and I feel so grateful for the incredible healthcare that I receive to bring my new baby into this world, that so many women can only dream of.

2018 is set to be another jam-packed year bursting with new experiences, kicking off with learning to be a mum of two by bringing a new life into the world! That combined with continuing to grow my business, my blog, maybe a new wellness retreat with a focus on mums and bubs, and a new idea that’s been floating around in my head these past few days… you just don’t know what’s around the corner and that is what is most exciting for me.

I thought I’d leave you with my final recipe for the year, Poached Coconut Chicken with Mango, which is a really yummy Asian inspired salad that makes the perfect canapé for a New Years Eve soiree that you might be planning. It’s the perfect time of year to make this dish, as there are so many lush mangoes in season in Australia right now. Poaching is a really lovely and easy method of cooking and makes for a tender, flavoursome and moist chicken breast, instead of bland and dry.

You could also pop the filling into a crispy wonton cup or prawn cracker too! Whatever it is that you are doing this NYE I hope it’s a wonderful start to what can be the best year yet.


Poached Coconut Chicken & Mango SALAD

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cook Time: 15 minutes, plus cooling



400mls coconut milk

1 cup water

1 tablespoon finely diced garlic (about 2 cloves)

1 tablespoon finely diced ginger (about 5cm piece)

¼ cup fish sauce

1 tablespoon unrefined coconut or palm sugar

4 kaffir lime leaves, finely diced


2 teaspoons lime juice

2 free range chicken breasts


1 ripe mango, finely diced

100g green beans, ends trimmed, finely sliced

1 bunch coriander, leaves and stalks

½ bunch mint leaves or Asian herbs like Vietnamese mint, finely sliced

1 long red chilli, seeds removed


1 packet of baby cos lettuce, leaves picked and washed (they make cute natural spoons so a perfect canape!)

½ cup unsalted roasted peanuts or toasted cashews, roughly chopped



Combine coconut milk, garlic, ginger, fish sauce, coconut sugar and kaffir lime leaves, reserving one kaffir lime leaf for garnish, in a large saucepan or frypan over medium – high heat and stir until palm sugar has dissolved. Reserve ½ cup liquid for dressing.

Bring liquid to simmering point, then add chicken breasts and poach them for about 15 minutes or until just cooked through depending on thickness, turning once if breasts are not fully submerged in liquid. Remove from pan and allow chicken to cool. At this point you can choose to chill the chicken completely in the fridge or slice thinly and serve warm.

Strain and reserve the stock as it’s so delicious and makes a great Thai soup base, so freeze it if not going to use within a few days of making.

Prepare salad by combining mango, green beans, herbs and chilli in a bowl. Drizzle over some of the reserved coconut dressing, finely sliced kaffir lime leaves and lime juice, toss well to combine. Set aside in fridge.

When you are ready to serve, add sliced chicken to salad and toss well. Add a few tablespoons or so salad mix to each cos lettuce leaf, garnish with crushed peanuts and extra kaffir lime and dressing. Serve immediately.


Instead of serving as a canape, add about 150g of cooked rice noodles for a yummy dinner! To make it kid friendly, maybe omit some of the herbs as Harlow proclaimed she “didn’t like herbs” when I served this to her but ate the rest of the dish very happily!

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