The best part about going out for Vietnamese food of any kind is almost always the vegetables, garnishes, and sauces. The combination of fresh herbs, heat, bright citrus, and savory/sweet flavors that you can add to put an already delicious bowl of noodles over the top makes me wonder why we don’t go out for this type of food more often. Fortunately, we have a go-to recipe that takes a humble chicken salad and adds a bit of a Vietnamese kick to it.
This salad is the perfect blend of crunch, tang, sweet, and spice. The fresh crunch of the cabbage along with the aromatics of the herbs balance the tang of the lightly pickled carrots. The dressing combines garlic and jalapeños in a sweet and savory base which ties everything together. This dish is complex enough to serve to guests, yet quick enough to make for a lazy Saturday lunch. The salad can be turned into a meal with the addition of shredded rotisserie chicken (or your favorite protein) and can hold its own as a delectable side salad.
The dressing is inspired by Corinne Trang’s nuoc cham recipe in The Asian Grill.
10 ounces shredded cabbage
10 ounces shredded carrots
2 red onions, sliced thin
Variety of chopped herbs: cilantro, basil, and mint are what we usually do
1 rotisserie chicken, shredded
1/4 cup sugar
1/3 cup fresh squeezed lime juice
1/3 cup worcestershire sauce
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 jalapeños, chopped
Red pepper flakes to taste for spice
- In a mixing bowl, add sugar, worcestershire, and lime juice and stir until the sugar is dissolved. Add in the rest of the ingredients and set aside while you work on the rest of the salad.
- Quick pickle the carrots and onions: place in a medium sized pot and add just enough water to cover half the onions and carrots. Then add enough vinegar to completely cover the vegetables. Add a pinch each of sugar and salt.
- Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 10 minutes.
- Drain and quickly rinse with cool water. Set aside to cool.
- Chop the herbs, and mix them in a large bowl with the cabbage, pickled vegetables, and dressing. Mix in the chicken and serve.