Sunday, 17 June 2012

Vietnamese Chicken Salad

Lunch can drive me crazy. It's usually the one meal I don't really plan, unless I have company. It's usually the meal I eat on my own. Some days I can barely make a sandwich for lunch without grumbling about the effort it takes. Some days I rummage about in the refrigerator looking for inspiration for the midday meal (and usually come out with the makings of the afore mentioned sandwich). Some days by noon, I'm so hungry I stuff whatever isn't nailed down into my mouth without thinking about it. Then, by mid-afternoon, I think "Did I have lunch?" Some days I've eaten so many roasted almonds before lunch, I've lost my appetite for real lunch. Some days I eat last nights left-overs which can be anything from hot soup to cold pizza. And some days I make a big salad... those are the good days.

Vietnamese Chicken Salad
from Bill Granger's Bill's Open Kitchen
Serves 4

For the Chicken Salad:
Use the meat from a  roast chicken or 3 pieces 200g chicken breast fillets
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
sea salt
White pepper use black if that is all you have
1 cup bean sprouts
1/2 cup coriander leaves
1 cup Vietnamese mint leaves or mint leaves
4 cups Chinese cabbage, finely shredded
1 cup carrot peeled and finely julienned

For the Vietnamese Dressing:
60 ml lime juice
60 ml fish sauce
2 tablespoons rice vinegar
1 tablespoon caster sugar
2 very finely chopped garlic cloves
3 finely sliced red Asian shallots or 1/2 red onion
2 small very finely chopped Red chilli's remove the seeds if you don't like the heat

Make the Chicken Salad:
If you are using the meat from a roast chicken then skip the instructions for cooking the chicken and just shred it into a large bowl. Then add the remaining salad ingredients and toss to combine. Pour the dressing over the salad.

If  you are cooking the chicken then preheat the oven to 220 degrees C.

Heat a frying pan over a high heat, and while the pan is heating, brush the chicken with olive oil and season with salt and pepper.

Place the chicken skin-side down and sear for 2 minutes, turn and sear for another minute.

Put the chicken on a baking tray and cook in the oven for 8 to 10 minutes. Leave to rest for 20 minutes.

Shred the chicken into thin strips with your hands and place in a large bowl.

Add the remaining salad ingredients and toss to combine. Pour the dressing over the salad.

Make the Vietnamese Dressing:
Place all the ingredients in a small bowl and stir until the sugar is dissolved.

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