Uyen Luu's Vietnamese Chicken salad
I don't know how often you turn to Asian-inspired salads at this time of year but I find myself making them more and more. Here's a classic Vietnamese salad from Uyen Luu's lovely new book Vietnamese to inspire you.
(Subscribers to our newsletter are also getting her recipe for Chicken Pho if that gives you an incentive to sign up!)
Uyen writes: "This is a version of a classic salad that is seen at all celebrations, even if it is a weekend gathering.
Don’t let that stop you from enjoying a burst of flavour on a weeknight. You can use up a leftover roast chicken or buy a cooked rotisserie chicken. You don’t have to poach the chicken from scratch if you have leftovers. But if you do poach a wholechicken you can make Chicken Phở use half the chicken meat for that and half for a salad.
Prep the vegetables beforehand and assemble when you are ready to serve.
CHICKEN SALAD WITH SUGAR SNAP PEAS, VIETNAMESE CORIANDER & SHALLOTS
GỎI GÀ HÀNH TÍM ĐẬU HÀ LAN
For the salad
1.5 kg (3 lb 5 oz) whole corn-fed, free-range, organic chicken
400 g (14 oz) sugar snap peas, thinly sliced lengthways
10 radishes, thinly sliced
10 Vietnamese coriander (cilantro) sprigs, leaves picked (or Thai basil, mint or coriander), roughly snipped
small handful of coriander (cilantro), roughly chopped
handful of roughly chopped pistachios
seeds of ½ pomegranate (optional)
For the shallot pickle
4 round shallots, sliced as thinly as possible
3 tbsp cider vinegar
1 tbsp caster (superfine) sugar
pinch of sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
For the dressing
5 tbsp crushed pistachios
3 bird’s eye chillies, de-seeded and finely chopped
1 garlic clove, finely chopped
3 tbsp maple syrup
5 tbsp lime juice (from about 2–3 limes)
5 tbsp fish sauce
Fill a very large saucepan with 3 litres (100 fl oz/ 12½ cups) of boiling water, season with salt and add the chicken. Reduce to a simmer, cover and poach for 60–80 minutes (depending on the size of your chicken) until the juices run clear when you pierce the thickest part of the thigh and the chicken is cooked all the way through.
Meanwhile, reserve some pistachios to garnish, then mix together all the remaining dressing ingredients in a screw-topped jar and shake well.
Taste for the balance of sweet, sour, salty and heat and adjust as necessary.
To make the shallot pickle, mix the shallots with the vinegar, sugar and a pinch of salt and pepper in a small bowl. Set aside for about 20 minutes.
Mix the radishes, sugar snap peas and any other vegetables you’re using in a large salad bowl.
Add the Vietnamese coriander.
When the chicken is cooked, leave to cool. Tear off the meat along the grain and season with pepper. Add this to the salad bowl along with the pickled shallots and its juices.
When ready to serve, toss the salad together with the dressing. Garnish with the coriander, pistachios and pomegranate seeds. Serve the salad with the prawn crackers.
◆ Try swapping out the sugar snap peas for carrot, papaya, kohlrabi, daikon, courgettes (zucchini), mangetout (snow peas) or a combination of your favourites.
◆ You can use the chicken stock to make a delicious chicken rice.
What to drink: My favourite wine choice with Vietnamese food is an Austrian grüner veltliner but an off-dry riesling would also work well.
Extracted from Vietnamese by Uyen Luu (Hardie Grant, £22) Photography: Uyen Luu
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