This is a recipe from one of my old Food & Wine cookbooks. It’s perfect to serve for a luncheon, as I did yesterday with my husband’s two beautiful nieces. The ladies insisted it was good enough for this blog (I have such high publishing standards here, you know), so I snapped a quick picture. This salad is the rare combination of light yet substantial: low in fat, high in flavor, and decent nutritional value.
The one thing I might do differently is add a bit more red pepper flakes, or perhaps even some freshly diced hot peppers, assuming my fellow diners liked things hot. I have found it’s worth the effort to shred the cabbage in the food processor rather than just use a bag of cole slaw, but if you’re short on time or lacking a food processor, bagged cole slaw will do just fine.
Food & Wine Vietnamese Chicken Salad
1 1/3 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts (about 4)
1 cup canned low-sodium chicken broth or homemade stock
4 scallions including green tops, chopped
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/4 pounds green cabbage (about 1/2 head), shredded (about 4 cups)
3 carrots, grated
6 tablespoons chopped fresh mint and/or cilantro (optional)
1/4 cup lime juice (from about 2 limes)
1/4 cup soy sauce or Asian fish sauce (nam pla or nuoc mam)
4 teaspoons sugar
1/4 teaspoon dried red-pepper flakes
1/4 cup chopped peanuts
- Cut each chicken breast into five diagonal strips. In a medium saucepan, combine the broth, 1/4 of the scallions, and 1/4 teaspoon of the salt. Bring to a simmer, add the chicken, stir, and cover the pan. Cook over low heat for 5 minutes. Turn the heat off and let the chicken steam for 5 minutes. Remove the chicken from the pan and shred it.
- In a large bowl, combine the shredded chicken, the remaining scallions, the cabbage, carrots, and 4 tablespoons of the herbs, if using. In a small glass or stainless-steel bowl, whisk together the lime juice, soy sauce, sugar, red-pepper flakes, and the remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt. Toss the salad with the dressing. Sprinkle with the remaining 2 tablespoons chopped herbs and the peanuts.