A friend who lived in Vietnam gave me this recipe. It is the most refreshing salad and we make it often for summer lunches.
- 500 g (1 lb) chicken thigh fillets
- salt and pepper
- 1 small white Chinese cabbage
- 2 large red onions or 8 shallots, sliced
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 3 tablespoons sugar
- 3 tablespoons fish sauce
- juice of 2 limes
- 1 tablespoon white vinegar
- 2 handfuls chopped mint or Vietnamese mint (rau ram)
- 2 handfuls chopped coriander leaves
Trim the chicken fillets of any fat and place in a saucepan with just enough water to cover. Add ½ teaspoon salt and a sprinkling of pepper. Bring to a slow simmer. Cover the pan and cook until the chicken is done, about 10 minutes. Let the chicken cool in the liquid. Remove any discolored or damaged outer leaves of the cabbage. Cut the cabbage into quarters lengthways, wash in cold water, shake off as much water as possible and shred very finely, crossways. Put the cabbage into a bowl, cover and chill.
Put the onions into a bowl, sprinkle with the salt and work the salt into the onions with your fingers. Leave for 30 minutes, rinse in cold water and squeeze out as much moisture as possible. This reduces the pungent flavor. Mix in half the sugar. Combine the remaining sugar with the fish sauce, lime juice and vinegar. Slice the cooled chicken thinly. Shortly before serving, combine the chicken, cabbage and onion with the dressing. Toss with mint and coriander.