Spicy Cabbage and Chicken Salad

This refreshing Vietnamese salad shows off the unique flavor of rau ram, an herb sometimes referred to as Vietnamese coriander or mint. You can make this salad just as easily substituting a combination of fresh cilantro and mint for the rau ram.

Spicy Cabbage and Chicken Salad
With cool, crunchy cabbage and a zesty Asian dressing, this is not your ordinary chicken salad.
Yield: serves 4-6

For the Dressing

  • 1 small, fresh, hot red chile (thai or serrano), stemmed and chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, peeled and chopped
  • 12 tsp. sugar
  • Pinch salt
  • 6 tbsp. Japanese rice vinegar
  • 3 tbsp. Vietnamese fish sauce

For the Chicken

  • 1 boneless, skinless whole chicken breast
  • 1 small red onion, peeled and very thinly sliced
  • 34 cup white wine vinegar
  • 12 small cabbage, very thinly sliced into long strips
  • 1 medium carrot, peeled and julienned
  • 2 tbsp. rau ram leaves or fresh cilantro and mint, finely chopped

Instructions

  1. For the dressing: Crush chiles, garlic, sugar, and salt into a fragrant, rough paste with a mortar and pestle. Scrape paste into a small bowl, then stir in rice vinegar and fish sauce. Set dressing aside.
  2. For the chicken: Put chicken in a medium pan, add enough water to cover by 1", then bring to a simmer over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to medium-low and gently simmer, partially covered, until chicken is just cooked through, 10–15 minutes. Drain and set aside to cool. Tear chickn into small strips, discarding any cartilage or fatty pieces. Set aside.
  3. Meanwhile, put onions and white wine vinegar in a large bowl. Set aside to marinate for 15 minutes, then drain. Add cabbage, carrots, reserved chicken, and rau ram to onions and toss together. Shortly before serving, drizzle fish sauce dressing over salad, toss to mix well, and adjust seasonings to taste. The salad will wilt slightly.