Detoxing with Vietnamese Chicken Salad
It’s been a week but I’m still feeling the slight effects of birthday gluttony. In a nutshell I had an amazing lunch at Universal in which that epic ‘Gaytime Goes Nuts’ dessert did everything that I hoped for (i.e. incited a barrage of sexy talk and inappropriate superlatives). Then the rest was a blur of Korean fried chickens, Bourke St Bakery, Ms G’s and everything trashy in between. I swear I couldn’t see my feet when I looked down.
Then there was cake. An extraordinary Chocolate and Pedro Ximenez cake which was an all-my-dirty-fantasies-come-true-OMFG!!! kind of experience. Hands down, it was the best birthday treat I ever had. All the more because it was lovingly made by two amazing ladies Lisa and Steph. I’m so jealous of their baking prowess I could cry.
Oh yeah, and I totally ate the whole thing. Amen.
For a couple of days after that, all I wanted, nay needed to eat was this Vietnamese Chicken Salad. There’s something so beautifully uncomplicated and fresh about Vietnamese food that I adore and this dish is perfect when I’m feeling all blah (and it sure beats chewing on lettuce leaves). I made mine with whatever was in my fridge and poached my chicken instead of grilling it because poaching to me is the perfect lazy option when you’re a bit frazzled.
Thankfully two nights of this was all I needed to cleanse myself and not a moment too soon. It is the weekend again after all.
Vietnamese Chicken Salad
Feel free to adjust the ratio of veges to meat and change up the ingredients/herbs. The chicken can be poached, grilled or barbequed.
1 kg of chicken breast, lightly bashed out with a mallet to an even thickness
2 Tbl fish sauce
1 Tbl light soy sauce
1 Tbl of ginger, minced
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 Tbl of vegetable oil
2 tsp white sugar
2/3 cup fish sauce *
1/3 cup water
2 Tbl of lime juice
2 Tbl of sugar
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1 tsp ginger, minced
1-2 birds eye chilli, seeds removed and minced
*Make sure to use a good quality fish sauce which tends to be lighter in colour. The darker one I had was more smelly saltwater than fragrant fish sauce so choose carefully. If your fish sauce is unbearably salty then dilute with water.
1/2 head of green cabbage, thinly shredded (approx. 4 cups)
1 large carrot, peeled and thinly shredded
1 lebanese cucumber, peeled and thinly shredded
3 red shallots, peeled and very thinly sliced
Ground roasted peanuts
1 large red chilli, deseeded and sliced thinly
Handful of Vietnamese coriander* or mint
*Also known as polygonum odoratum (there’s a picture of it in this post)
In a bowl, combine the chicken with all the marinade ingredients and marinate for at least 30 minutes.
In the meantime, add all the dressing ingredients into a glass jar, chuck the lid on and shake to combine and the sugar has dissolved. Dressing can be stored in the fridge for up to a month.
Poach/grill/barbecue the marinated chicken until cooked then shred the meat along the grain when it has cooled. Add a couple of spoonfuls of dressing to lightly coat the chicken and set aside.
In a large bowl, combine the veges and herbs. Then toss the chicken through and add more dressing to taste. Garnish with fried shallots, fried garlic, roasted peanuts, chilli and extra herbs and serve immediately.
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