Monday, March 12, 2012

Chicken Cabbage Salad with Mint and Cilantro

This is a refreshing Vietnamese dish that is full of flavor.  I grew up eating lots of it - prepared by my mom.  When I make it for myself, it reminds me of where I came from.  My oldest brother Huy reminded me a few times over the years to just remember where you came from.  We may find a little success, travel to some cool places, and experience things we may never have even imagined.  We may meet some fascinating people, and we may see some amazing places.  But at the end of the day, who will be there?  Friends may come and go, even the ones you thought you'd never see go.  But hopefully, you'll always have family!    (And a few friends who really know you.)  This dish reminds me of great times back home...
Once you cut the cabbage half into 4 wedges, you can then slice each wedge.  Since you only need half of a cabbage, you can use the rest in soup or for corned beef in anticipation of St. Patricks Day!
Get a bowl started with the chicken, cilantro, and mint.  Top with the cabbage, then the rest of the ingredients.  Mix everything up, then let sit for a couple of hours in the fridge to meld the flavors together. 
  • One half head of cabbage
  • Handful of cilantro
  • Handful of fresh mint
  • Half of a red onion
  • 4 chicken thighs
  • 2 tablespoons of fish sauce
  • 1 tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil
  • salt and pepper to taste
  1. Cook the chicken by bringing a large stock pot of water up to a boil, add the chicken, then cover with a lid and simmer on low for 30 minutes.  Or you can put the chicken into a slow cooker for 4 hours on low with a cup of water.
  2. Remove chicken and let cool.  Shred with two forks, removing fat and bones.
  3. Place the chicken into a large bowl.
  4. Add snipped pieces of mint and cilantro.  Cut up the cabbage, then add the rest of the ingredients.  Mix and cover, let it sit in the refrigerator 30 minutes or more, then serve.
To make the chili garlic lime dipping sauce you need:
  •  1/4 cup Fish Sauce
  • 1/2 cup warm water
  • 1 Thai Chili Pepper
  • 2 Tablespoons Sugar
  • 3 Cloves Garlic
  • 1/2 Lime

Mince the garlic and chili pepper together, scrape into a bowl, and add the fish sauce. Add the water next, then stir the sugar in until it dissolves. Squeeze in half a lime, and mix slowly. If you like extra spice, add some chili garlic sauce or extra chili pepper.

This sauce enhances any Vietnamese dish!  I started using Red Boat fish sauce because it is extra virgin from the first press, all natural, and it doesn't have added preservatives or MSG.  I bought 4 bottles online, and I've loved it in every Vietnamese dish that I've prepared since then!

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