Lemongrass-poached chicken with harissa tomatoes


Preparation info

  • Difficulty


  • Serves


Appears in

A Simple Table

A Simple Table

By Michele Cranston

Published 2016

  • About

If you like, you can poach the chicken for this recipe the day before–simply follow the method given here, reserving some of the poaching liquid. Then, when the chicken is cool, shred the meat and put it into a container before pouring over some of the reserved poaching liquid, adding a little more seasoning or freshly chopped herbs for extra flavour. This is a great method for cooking chicken for any salad or sandwich, and will ensure the meat retains its juiciness.


Lemongrass-Poached Chicken

  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 90 g ( oz/1 bunch) coriander (cilantro), rinsed well
  • 1 lemongrass stem, white part only, rinsed and coarsely chopped
  • 4 cm ( inch) piece fresh ginger, peeled and sliced
  • 1 lemon, juiced
  • 2 boneless, skinless chicken breast fillets
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 1 red onion, thinly sliced
  • 3 ripe roma (plum) tomatoes, cut into wedges
  • 1 tablespoon harissa
  • Lime wedges, to serve


To poach the chicken, fill a large saucepan with 1 litre (35 fl oz/4 cups) water and add the sea salt. Remove the stems and roots from the coriander and add to the water, reserving the leaves for later. Add the lemongrass, ginger and 1 tablespoon of the lemon juice to the water and bring to the boil. When the water has reached a slow boil, add the chicken breasts and return to the boil, then cover with a lid and remove the pan from the heat. Set aside for 20 minutes to allow the residual heat to gently poach the chicken.

Heat the olive oil in a non-stick frying pan over medium heat and add the cumin, coriander, garlic and onion. Cook, stirring occasionally, for 3 minutes, or until the onion is soft and the spices are fragrant. Add the tomatoes and harissa and cook for about 2 minutes, or until the tomatoes are soft. Add the remaining lemon juice and a handful of roughly chopped coriander leaves.

Remove the chicken from the poaching liquid and thinly slice against the grain. Divide the chicken between two bowls, top with the cooked tomatoes and garnish with the remaining coriander. Serve with the lime wedges and a simple cucumber salad or steamed couscous.