Vietnamese Chicken Salad

If the recipe has Vietnamese in its name, Jon and I are sure to like it. We love the flavor combinations in Vietnamese food and this dish certainly delivers. Easy, healthy, delicious. We were especially giddy to add fresh basil and mint from our garden.

Don’t forget to put the peanuts on top- I forgot before I started eating it, but they definitely add a much-needed texture and flavor to the dish.

Ingredients

For salad:

  • 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped garlic
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped peeled ginger
  • 1 teaspoon finely chopped fresh red chiles (preferably Thai or cayenne), or to taste
  • 1 whole chicken (about 3 1/2 pounds)
  • 1 (2-pound) green cabbage
  • 1/2 pound carrots
  • 1 tablespoon sugar

For dressing and topping:

  • 1/3 cup Asian fish sauce
  • 1/4 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh red chiles (preferably Thai or cayenne)
  • 2 teaspoon finely chopped peeled ginger
  • 1 garlic clove, finely chopped
  • 5 tablespoons fresh lime juice
  • 2/3 cup coarsely chopped salted roasted peanuts
  • 1/2 cup packed torn basil leaves
  • 1/2 cup packed torn mint leaves

Make chicken and vegetables for salad:
Stir together lime juice, garlic, ginger, chiles, 2 teaspoons salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper, then rub all over chicken, inside and out. Marinate, covered, at room temperature while cooking vegetables.

Thinly slice cabbage. Cut carrots into thin matchsticks (1/8 inch) with a knife. Cook vegetables in a large pot of salted boiling water (2 tablespoons salt for 6 quarts water) until crisp-tender, 4 to 5 minutes. Transfer to a large sieve or colander with a slotted spoon (return water to a boil) and rinse under cold water to stop cooking. Drain well.

Add sugar to boiling water, then add chicken with marinade and cook, covered, 15 minutes. Remove from heat and let chicken stand in cooking liquid, covered, 30 minutes. Carefully transfer chicken with tongs to a cutting board and let stand until cool enough to handle. Coarsely shred meat (and skin if desired), transferring to a large bowl.

Make dressing while chicken cools:
Bring fish sauce and brown sugar to a simmer in a small saucepan, stirring until sugar has dissolved. Blend mixture in a blender along with chiles, ginger, and garlic (use caution when blending hot liquids). Stir in lime juice.

Assemble salad: 
Toss vegetables with half of dressing and chicken with remainder. Serve chicken over vegetables and sprinkle with peanuts, basil, and mint. Serve at room temperature or chilled.

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