Preparation time: 15 minutes
Cooking time: 12 minutes
Whenever I have a night off, I seem to end up in a Vietnamese restaurant. The healthful combinations of raw and cooked ingredients and fragrant, spicy flavors of Vietnamese cuisine are the inspiration for this refreshing, easy-to-make chicken salad. This make-ahead, stylish and exotic dish is a showstopper for a warm weather lunch and makes a charming addition to a picnic when packed into Chinese to-go containers.
Fermented fish sauce, available in Asian markets as Vietnamese nuoc mam.
Also called Chinese radish, daikon is a root vegetable; its juicy white flesh consists of 93% water and has a high vitamin C content. It is known for promoting digestion.
Clear fish sauce with lime and cilantro
- Mix all the ingredients together in a medium-sized bowl, stirring until the sugar is dissolved.
- Store in the refrigerator until ready to use.
Asian chicken salad
- In a 4-liter (4-quart) saucepan, bring the chicken stock to a simmer and add the chicken. Poach gently for 12 minutes or until the chicken is just cooked through. Using a slotted spoon, remove the chicken breasts from the stock and transfer to a plate to cool. (Reserve the stock for another use.)
- In a large mixing bowl, toss together the carrots, celery, red onion, daikon, cilantro leaves, lime juice, clear fish sauce with lime and cilantro, and half of the peanuts.
- When the chicken is cool enough to handle, cut it into very thin strips and toss it with the vegetable mixture. (This can be made ahead and stored in the refrigerator until ready to serve.)
- On each of 4 serving plates, form a cup with 3 lettuce leaves. Fill each lettuce cup with chicken salad.
- Garnish with the remaining peanuts.
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