Recipe: Cabbage and Chicken Salad

Being from a Vietnamese background, it is of no wonder that I would love to keep the recipes that I loved. So when my mother emailed me the recipe to a cabbage / chicken salad… to say that I was thrilled was an understatement.

In Vietnamese this is known as Gỏi Gà aka Vietnamese Chicken and Cabbage Salad. Looking at my mother’s recipe I knew it was a more simplistic version of a salad I knew well in restaurants. So searching online I found a more appropriate recipe that you guys could latch onto:

1/2 kg cooked shredded chicken (or use the chicken meat from making the congee)
1/4 cabbage, finely sliced
1 carrot, peeled and thinly sliced matchsticks
1/2 onion (red or brown)
1 cup herbs (Vietnamese mint, mint and coriander)
3 tablespoons roasted peanuts, roughly chopped
3 tablespoons fried shallots
1/2 lemon juice
4 tablespoon of white vinegar
2 teaspoons salt
3 teaspoons sugar
1 cup fish sauce dipping sauce

Step 1. In a small bowl, combine, lemon juice, vinegar, salt and sugar. Stir until sugar and salt dissolves.

Step 2. In a large bowl, add cabbage, carrot, onion, herbs, chicken and vinegar mixture. Gently toss to well combined.

Step 3. Turn salad to a serving platter and sprinkle roasted peanuts, fried shallots and serve with fish sauce dipping sauce.

The recipe that I got from my family was rather simple in comparison:

– Shred the cabbage
– Slice onion and marinate in half vinegar / half water (when ready to mix strain the onions discard the vinegar)
– Shred in big pieces boiled chicken
– Chop the “rau ram” leaves
– Mix all together, season with the fish sauce to taste

As with all other recipes, whenever I try something new, I try to use what is expected but sometimes I simply don’t have the time to get all the ingredients that I need. In the case of this recipe I tend to neglect the “rau ram” leaves because I simply rarely have time to head to a Vietnamese supermarket on a whim.

Another change, when I boiled the chicken I added the following to the pot:
– Oregano
– Basil
– Thyme
– Rosemary
– Salt
– Pepper

Yes, a lot of the above seasonings were not in the original recipe, but honestly when you are a Vietnamese-American you start finding ways to “Americanize” dishes as a way to cater to the non-Asian friends in one’s life. So I whenever I start cooking chicken in any capacity (particularly when boiled) I started looking into spices and flavors that most Caucasians would enjoy. In the grand scheme of things this works out a lot better since a fair number of my friends that have tried my spin of this salad have asked for the recipe out right.

As with a lot of Asian meals: everything is done according to taste and how much of it you like. So for me I like a little bit of seasoning and spices, but not too much. Others might add more.

One thing I did notice is that, for a salad I rather enjoyed eating it right away, when the chicken was still warm. Granted refrigerating works too but eh… why wait when it’s still good to eat?