Despite still being in the throes of winter, my need for salad never fades. This is my take on a Vietnamese Chicken Salad, but be warned, it’s devilishly moorish!
Living in Sydney’s Northern Suburbs for a few years, really opened my eyes to the amazing flavours Asian food has to offer. Fantastic restaurants, of Asian ethnicity, are on every corner, selling delicious, aromatic, fresh food, at surprisingly reasonable cost. The flavours are incredibly simple, sweet, sour, salty, but combined together had me hooked at the first delectable mouthful. This is where I first tried the most amazing Vietnamese Chicken Salads.
I have put together this recipe, using chicken and noodles as a base, together with crunchy veggies and an abundance of fresh, fragrant herbs. All deliciously coated in a dressing, which adds the most amazing flavour.
Feel free to use your preferred cut of chicken. Thigh meat has been used here as A) that’s what I had to hand, and B) its beautifully juicy and moist. Its also a great way to use leftover shredded roast chicken, or poaching chicken breasts and slicing thinly would also be fantastic.
Using brown rice noodles keeps the dish light, but substantial enough to serve as a meal. Any noodles can be used, but rice noodles are my particular favourite, and they soak up the dressing beautifully. An all-important protein hit comes from the chicken, and an extra dose from the peanuts. Veggies are aplenty in this salad, but feel free to swap, or add whatever you have to hand. My only advice here would be to keep them raw and crunchy, as it’s this texture that makes the salad work so well.
Lets talk herbs!
Fresh coriander and mint are a classic combination for this chicken salad, and compliment the dish superbly. It may seem like an awful lot of herbs when you first add them, but once mixed in and coated in the delicious dressing, they will soon blend in with the veggies and add the most amazing freshness and burst of flavour.
Finally, the dressing, which really is the star of the show! Sweet, salty, fresh and zingy, with the slightest hint of chilli, that’s the only way I can describe it. As always, I’ve tried to make it as healthy as possible, so have used honey instead of sugar, to balance the saltiness of the fish sauce. Adjust the quantities of the ingredients here to suit your taste. I personally love the zing of the lime juice, so always add a touch more than necessary at the end. The same with the chilli, add more if you like it fiery!
As far as Chicken Noodle Salads go this one is pretty sensational!
Vietnamese Style Chicken Noodle Salad
- 6 Chicken Thighs (or 3-4 Chicken Breasts), cooked and shredded
- 100g Brown Rice Noodles
- 1 large Carrot, coarsely grated, or spiralised
- ½ Cucumber, cut into matchsticks
- Large handful each of fresh Coriander & Mint, roughly chopped
- 50g Peanuts, roughly chopped
- 1 tbsp. Rice Wine Vinegar (substitute with White Wine Vinegar if necessary)
- 3 tbsp. Fish Sauce
- 2 tbsp. Honey
- 3 tbsp. Lime Juice
- ½ Red Chilli, finely chopped
- 2 Spring Onions, roughly sliced
To begin, cook the rice noodles, according to packet instructions.
In a large, shallow, serving bowl add the cooked noodles, chicken, cucumber, carrot, coriander and mint.
To make the dressing, add all ingredients into a bowl and whisk lightly until combined. Season, and adjust to taste.
Pour dressing onto chicken and veggies, and using 2 forks gently toss, until dressing has evenly coated the mix.
Scatter with the chopped peanuts, and serve.