Vietnamese Chicken, Cabbage and Kale Salad
Easy - you got this
Gỏi - Vietnamese for salad - is defined by its use of texture (the more the better!) and a dressing that’s often balanced by combining polarising flavours. Gỏi gà bắp cải (Vietnamese chicken and cabbage salad) was a meal my mum regularly served with steamed jasmine rice or congee. It was never a salad my parents and I would take to work or school. Since moving out of home, I have craved the flavours in this salad and have found a way to make it part of my weekly lunch meal planning. You’ll be done with cheese and tomatoes on crackers for lunch, once you try my healthy Vietnamese salad.
Gỏi gà traditionally consists of shaved cabbage, carrot and chicken. It is a very simple salad that packs a lot of flavour, mainly due to the sweet and sour dressing; a simplified version of my nước mắm chấm. My variation of the traditional gỏi gà creates a cost effective and healthy lunch option without compensating for its traditional flavour. Shaved cabbage, celery, red onions tossed with grated carrots, chopped kale, shredded chicken (poached or rotisserie), combined with a tangy dressing and garnished with crushed almonds.
Traditionally, Gỏi gà is garnished with crushed peanuts and fried shallots. I decided to omit these and instead add Kale and crushed almonds to the salad along with apple cider vinegar to the dressing, to create the ultimate Vietnamese ‘superfood’ salad. The popular variety of kale found in Australian supermarkets isn’t available in Vietnam but our culture doesn’t shy away from any form of leafy greens. So, as a first generation Vietnamese Australian, incorporating kale into this traditional dish is a natural step that brings this Vietnamese salad to another level.
If you’re sick of tinned tuna on broccoli and brown rice for lunch, do yourself a favour, give my variation of Vietnamese chicken salad a go, and revive weekday lunches with flavour!
1.5–1.8kg free range chicken (poached) or large rotisserie chicken, shredded
¼ white/red cabbage, thinly sliced
1 bunch kale, chopped
1 red onion, thinly sliced
2 carrots, coarsely grated
½ celery, finely sliced
120 g almonds, roughly chopped
1 chilli, chopped (optional)
1 bunch coriander roughly, chopped (optional)
1 bunch mint/Vietnamese mint, roughly chopped
Tip: Use a mandoline for the cabbage, celery, onion and carrots
100ml hot water
4 tablespoons sugar
100ml cold water
Juice of a lime/lemon
5 tablespoons apple cider vinegar/vinegar
5 tablespoons fish sauce
Shred chicken and set aside. To learn how I poach chicken, head to my Vietnamese Chicken Pho recipe
In a large mixing bowl, combine remaining ingredients, then place chicken on and garnish with almonds and mint.
In a small mixing bowl, dissolve sugar in hot water.
Add remaining ingredients and stir well.
For a group serving place in a large salad bowl, dress the salad up to one hour before serving and toss well.
For meal planning, portion salad and dressing into your desired portion size. Dress the salad right before it is consumed to ensure the vegetables stay crisp. Add approximately 5–6 tablespoons of dressing per handful of salad and mix well.