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This past Labor Day weekend, our friend Simone brought a delicious Vietnamese Chicken and Cabbage Salad to a barbecue we attended in our neighborhood.
The party was actually an annual rib cook-off where my husband Jack served as one of the judges. And while the ribs were very good – this Vietnamese Chicken and Cabbage Salad was even better! This salad is light and delicious with a spicy (but not too spicy) Asian dressing. Simone was nice enough to share her recipe with us – so we could share it with all of you today!
This salad is incredibly simple, and it uses ingredients typically found in the average supermarket – so no trip to a specialty market is needed. The recipe calls for cooked shredded chicken, so you can poach it or – to save even more time – you can use an already-cooked supermarket rotisserie chicken. (We include the steps to cook a chicken in the recipe below.)
A few last things to mention… We highly recommend using a mortar and pestle to make the sauce. While you can use a blender, Simone swears the sauce will not taste as good! (And Simone is an excellent cook – especially when it comes to Asian cuisine – so take her word for it!) 😉 She also noted that you don’t want any one ingredient in the salad to overpower the others so follow the instructions and proportions of ingredients exactly as written!
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- 1 small whole raw chicken or half a medium-to-large raw chicken, or one half medium-to-large cooked rotisserie chicken
- 1 large onion (if cooking the raw chicken)
- ½ small head green cabbage
- 1 small carrot, peeled and finely shredded
- 3 tablespoons fresh mint, chopped
For the Sauce (makes one cup)
- 2 small garlic cloves, sliced
- 1 teaspoon Chili Garlic Sauce, available in most supermarkets
- 1 fresh Thai bird chili pepper, stemmed, seeded and diced fine, optional (if you can’t find this, any small hot pepper will work)
- ¼ cup fish sauce
- 2/3 cup hot water
- 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice including the lime pulp
- ¼ cup granulated sugar
- If cooking a raw chicken, place in pot, cover with water and place in whole peeled onion. Bring to a boil and simmer 2 hours then cool. If using cooked chicken, go to next step.
- Shred chicken meat into thin threads with your fingers and place into a large mixing bowl.
- Shred cabbage into thin shreds with a sharp knife and add to chicken.
- Finely shred the carrot and chop mint and add to bowl.
- Toss the mixture and refrigerate.
- With a mortar and pestle, mash the garlic to a paste. Add the chili garlic sauce and the Thai chili pepper and continue mashing to a fine paste.
- Scrape into a small bowl and add other sauce ingredients, whip to combine and refrigerate.
- When ready to serve, pour cold sauce mixture over chicken and cabbage, toss and serve.
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