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Recipe: Vietnamese Chicken Salad

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Vietnamese chicken salad
Dave Scantland
This is a great recipe when the two of you want something cool and refreshing, yet substantial enough for dinner. It's not particularly spicy, but you can omit the red chile if you prefer; if you want it hotter, add another chile or red pepper flakes.

Yield: 2 servings

Ingredients:

  • 4-6 cups shredded Napa (or regular) cabbage
  • 2 carrots, peeled and shredded or julienned
  • 2-3 green onions, sliced thin
  • 1/4 cup julienned mint
  • 1/4 cup chopped cilantro
  • 6-8 ounces cooked chicken breast, shredded*
  • 2 small red Fresno or jalapeno chiles, seeded and minced
  • 1/4 cup chopped roasted peanuts
  • Dressing:

  • 2 ounces (1/4 cup) lime juice (about two limes)
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed, pressed or minced
  • 2 tablespoons rice vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons fish sauce
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons vegetable, grapeseed, or other neutral oil

Preparation:

1. For the salad, place the vegetables, herbs, chicken, and red chile in a medium bowl and mix gently.

2. For the dressing, whisk together all ingredients. Dip a piece of the cabbage into the dressing and taste for seasoning. You want a balance of sweet and sour, with the saltiness and umami of the fish sauce in the background. Adjust ingredients if necessary.

3. Pour the dressing over the salad and toss. The salad is best made 20 minutes to an hour before serving, or refrigerate for up to 4 hours.

4. Right before serving, add the peanuts and toss gently.

* While I prefer breast meat for this particular salad, thigh meat works fine too. Thinly sliced cooked pork tenderloin would also be good in this.

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