Once upon a time...long long ago, a little American girl packed up with her family and moved to Southeast Asia. As you might imagine this was quite an adventure! It was filled with new smells, tastes, sounds, colors and many more things the girl had never experienced before.
The open markets in Asia remind me of the farmers markets here, only on steroids. They're bustling with hundreds of people selling, waving hands, yelling and negotiating prices for fresh vegetables, herbs, spices and much more! It was a beautiful thing! My love for these new tastes and experiences was forever sealed. I pretty much love all Asian styles of cooking now.
This recipe is a light salad, reminiscent of Vietnamese and Cambodian cooking. The Nước chấm Sauce is modified to make it a little less fishy for my kids...and they LOVE it. I also added olive oil for body and omitted the commonly used garlic and red chili's. This makes for a very fresh salad taste that your whole family will love.
The Savoy Cabbage in this dish is a sweet, tender, light and crinkly cabbage. Savoy is high in vitamin K, vitamin C and fiber. It's also a very good source of fiber, manganese, folate, vitamin B6, potassium, and omega-3 fatty acids. If you have trouble finding it at your market you can also use Chinese cabbage, or a mixture of romaine and ice burg lettuce cut into very thin slices.
A word about fish sauce... it is important to buy a good fish sauce that is from the first pressing, with no added fillers, colors or chemicals. "Red Boat Fish Sauce" is a great fish sauce and is free of additives and sugar.
Vietnamese Style Chicken and Cabbage Salad
2 cooked chicken breast, pulled or shredded
1 head(about 7 cups) Savoy Cabbage or Chinese Cabbage, thinly sliced
1 cup julienned carrots
6-7 Spring green onion tops, thinly sliced
1/4 cup Mint leaves, roughly chopped
1/4 cup Basil leaves, roughly chopped
1/4 cup Cilantro leaves, roughly chopped
Nước chấm Sauce-Salad Dressing
1/4 cup water or coconut water (the clear stuff, not milk or cream)
2-3 Tbls fresh lime juice (to taste)
2 Tbls fish sauce*
1 Tbls + 1tsp honey or agave (omit if on a strict Paleo plan)
1/2 tsp apple cider vinegar
1 Tbls mild flavored Olive Oil or other oil (Optional added for body)
1/2 chopped red seeded chili is optional(I don't add this so my kids will eat it)
If I can, I use leftover roasted chicken. Otherwise I roast the chicken breasts. This makes the chicken very moist and easily pulled. To roast chicken breasts: Place them in a baking dish with a cup of chicken broth and roast them at around 300 degrees for about 25 minuets or till cooked through (165 internal temp), baste a few times. Cool a bit then pull into thin strips or shred.
Thinly slice the cabbage, carrots and spring onion tops(the green parts) into long strips.
Roughly chop the herbs and place all the above ingredients into a large bowl.
In a seperate bowl or mason jar, measure out all the Nước chấm Sauce ingredients. Shake or mix well.
Pour the Nước chấm Sauce over the salad, toss and serve with Sriracha Chilie Sauce (available in the asian section of most markets)
Feel free to play with the Nước chấm Sauce. You may like different ratios. With the amounts given above, I am positive that even fish haters will like this salad and it helps to introduce these new flavors slowly.