Grilled plum salad with “popcorn” chicken

October 24, 2018 (Last Updated: August 16, 2019)
Grilled plum salad with popcorn chicken

Nothing beats the authenticity of picking a plum from the tree and biting into the smooth, unwrinkled, shiny skin, your teeth breaking through the crunch that is the flesh… Nectar running down your chin, dripping through your fingers… You plop to the grass beneath you, savouring each bite to the centre stone.

Recipe and styling by Nomvuselelo Mncube

Grilled plum salad with "popcorn" chicken



  • 250ml (1 cup) buttermilk
  • 1 egg
  • 500g panko breadcrumbs
  • small handful fresh thyme leaves
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 4 chicken breasts, cubed
  • sunflower oil, to deep-fry

  • 2 handfuls fresh basil leaves
  • 2 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
  • 100ml olive oil
  • 30ml (2 tbsp) golden syrup
  • squeeze of lemon
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

  • 4 plums, halved and chargrilled
  • 200g goat’s cheese
  • 2 handfuls fresh basil leaves
  • 2 handfuls fresh microherbs
  • 100g roasted and salted cashew nuts



For the popcorn chicken, whisk the buttermilk and egg together in a mixing bowl until combined. In another bowl, combine the crumbs and thyme and season to taste.


Dip the cubed chicken in the buttermilk mixture, followed by the breadcrumbs, combining well to coat thoroughly. Transfer the crumbed chicken to a plate and place in the fridge, 30 minutes.


For the basil dressing, place all of the ingredients in a blender and blitz until smooth. Season to taste.


Heat the oil in a deep fat fryer or deep pot to 180°C (use a sugar thermometer to check the temperature) and fry the chicken until brown and crispy, 5 minutes.


To serve, arrange all of the salad ingredients on a platter and drizzle with the basil dressing.

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