This salad actually goes very well with the Spiced Duck from a few days ago. Light, crunchy and full of flavour it complements the rich duck very well. You can omit the chicken if you want a purely vegetarian salad, and I don’t think that would take away very much at all from the salad.
It’s an ideal dish to pull out of the bag at the last minute as most of the ingredients are store cupboard essentials. However, the flavours also infuse the vegetables and develop even more when kept in the fridge overnight. It’s also great for a summer picnic and best served cold.
Vietnamese Chicken Salad (Ga xe phay)
Modified from Rick Stein’s Far Eastern Odyssey
One chicken thigh or breast
4-5 large outer leaves from Chinese leaf cabbage, white bottom third trimmed off and top leaves finely shredded
1 large carrot, halved across diagonally and finely shredded
100g bean sprouts, blanched for 10 seconds in boiling water
20g Vietnamese mint or Thai sweet basil or a mixture of mint and coriander,
roughly chopped (I used the last option and it worked very well)
40g roasted peanuts, coarsely chopped
3 raw shallots, thinly sliced or use fried shallots if you don’t like the taste of raw onions (like me)
For the dressing:
3 tbsp fish sauce
3 tbsp lime juice
1 tbsp rice vinegar
2 tbsp caster sugar
1 large pip of garlic, crushed
1 bird’s eye chilli (green or red works fine), really finely chopped
1. Toss the raw shallots in some salt and leave to soften for 30 minutes.
2. Boil the chicken in a pot of boiling water for 20 minutes, then remove and finely shred the meat.
3. Mix together the ingredients for the dressing in a small bowl.
4. In a large salad bowl, mix together the raw shallots if using, Chinese leaf, carrot, bean sprouts, herbs, most of the peanuts and most of the fried shallots if using.
5. Pour the dressing over and toss well.
6. Serve in a mound on a plate and top with the remainder fried peanuts and fried shallots.