A friend of mine recently returned from a trip to Vietnam. She is not only a friend but also my ‘sometime’ photographer and she took some very cool street photography while she was there. My street photography is non-existent. I like to think it’s because I have two small children who have zero patience for Mummy who just needs to capture some fleeting moment but can’t quite get the focus / light / subject figured out before everyone is completely hot and fed up of standing on a street corner (but actually it could just be that I am an average photographer). This is why I photograph food…and things around the home. My subjects don’t move, the lighting is consistent and my kids couldn’t care a less how long it takes me to get a photo of a salad, or a stack of books.
This Vietnamese salad is delicious, fresh and slightly crunchy and has that perfect balance of sour, salty, sweet and spicy that Asian food does so well. It is incredibly quick to make and if you can’t be bothered to pickle your carrot, then just put it in raw.
Vietnamese Chicken Salad
Recipe adapted from Bills Food
3 chicken breast fillets
salt and pepper
1 cup bean sprouts
1 cup Vietnamese mint (use regular mint if you can’t find this)
1 cup Asian basil (use regular basil if you can’t find this)
4 cups Chinese cabbage, finely shredded
1 cup carrot (pickled, see below) or raw
¼ cup lime juice
¼ cup fish sauce
2 tbsp rice vinegar
1 tbsp caster sugar
3 finely diced Asian shallot, or ½ red onion
1 small very finely chopped red chilli (keep the seeds in or out depending on how hot you like it)
If you are using pickled carrot, start with this process first (see method below).
Season your chicken breast fillets with salt and pepper and rub with a little olive oil. Pan fry until golden and cooked through. Leave to cool slightly.
Meanwhile rinse your bean sprouts and shred your cabbage. Place in a bowl. When cool enough to handle, shred your chicken using two forks or your fingers and add to the bowl. Tear the basil and mint (reserving some leaves for garnish) and add to the chicken along with the pickled or fresh carrot.
To make the dressing, combine all ingredients and whisk. Pour a little over the salad and serve some extra on the side for those that like a little more. Garnish with a few whole mint leaves and serve.
1 cup of carrot, julienne
1 tsp sea salt
¾ cup water
1 tbsp sugar
2 tbsp rice vinegar
Peel the carrots. Using a mandolin or a peeler, slice thin strips of carrot and then julienne. Sprinkle with salt and set aside. Meanwhile, place the water, rice vinegar and sugar in a saucepan and heat to boiling point. Once boiling, turn the heat off and leave to cool. Rinse your carrots and squeeze any extra moisture from them before pouring the pickling liquid over them. Leave them to pickle for 1 hour – or however long you can be bothered to wait. When ready to add them to the salad, drain from the pickling liquid.