Vietnamese Cabbage-and-Chicken Salad
- SERVINGS: 4
If you're a dark-meat fan, try boneless chicken thighs here in place of the breasts. They're just as easy to prepare, and add even more flavor to the salad. Let them simmer for about ten minutes rather than five.
- 1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts (about 3)
- 3 teaspoons salt
- 2 tablespoons Asian sesame oil
- 1/2 jalapeño pepper, seeds and ribs removed, sliced
- 1 1-inch piece fresh ginger
- 2 cups water
- 1 head green cabbage (about 2 1/2 pounds), shredded (about 2 1/2 quarts)
- 2 tablespoons cider vinegar
- 2 tablespoons Asian fish sauce (nam pla or nuoc mam)
- 1 1/2 tablespoons lime juice
- 3 carrots, grated
- 3 radishes, grated
- 4 scallions including green tops, chopped
- 2 cups coarse-chopped mint, basil, cilantro, or dill, or a combination
- 1 tart apple, such as Granny Smith, cored and grated
- Rub the chicken breasts with 1 teaspoon of the salt and 1 tablespoon of the sesame oil. In a medium saucepan, combine the jalapeño, ginger, and water. Bring to a simmer, add the chicken, and cover the pan. Simmer for 5 minutes. Turn the heat off and let the chicken steam for 5 minutes. Remove the chicken breasts from the saucepan; when they are cool enough to handle, pull them into shreds.
- Meanwhile, in a large glass or stainless-steel bowl, combine the cabbage with the vinegar, fish sauce, lime juice, and the remaining 2 teaspoons salt. Toss and let stand for 10 minutes.
- Add the carrots, radishes, scallions, 1 1/2 cups of the herbs, and the apple to the cabbage mixture. Stir in the remaining 1 tablespoon sesame oil. Serve the salad topped with the chicken and the remaining 1/2 cup herbs.
German Rieslings, so often shunned at the table because of their sweetness, can be a sublime match for Asian cuisine. That sweetness acts as a foil to both the heat and the saltiness of the dishes. For this Asian salad, go with a Kabinett from Germany's Mosel-Saar-Ruwer region for best effect.
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Congratulations to Mei Lin, winner of Top Chef Season 12.