spicy chicken salad with Vietnamese-style vinaigrette

4 to 6    |   
Prep Time:
15 minutes + 20 minutes standing time

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vietnamese dressing

The weather’s warming up and there’s nothing better than chicken salad with tart, salty, sweet Vietnamese-style dressing that was inspired by the dipping sauce known as nuoc cham. Use a purchased cooked chicken for utter simplicity then simplify even more by using a bag of pre-shredded “coleslaw with carrots” instead of shredding your own cabbage and carrots. For the fish sauce, Thai Kitchen brand is easy to find but I prefer Red Boat brand, and if you don’t have sambal oelek or another spicy chili-garlic sauce on hand, you can doctor the dressing for a reasonable facsimile.


1 purchased roast chicken
1 head green cabbage or Napa cabbage (about 1 pound), shredded
2 large carrots, grated
4 green onions, thinly sliced (use green part, too)
leaves from 1 bunch of fresh mint, roughly chopped
1/2 bunch fresh cilantro, roughly chopped

juice of 3 limes
1 tablespoon fish sauce, optional
1 tablespoon soy sauce (or 2 tablespoons soy sauce if not using fish sauce)
1 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon sambal oelek (or 1 garlic clove, pressed, plus 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes)
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
roasted salted peanuts, optional


Pull meat off chicken, tearing into pieces as your work. Discard skin and bones. Put the chicken meat, cabbage and carrots ( or coleslaw mix), green onions, mint, and cilantro in a big bowl.

To make the dressing, mix the lime juice, fish sauce, soy sauce, sugar, and hot chili sauce (or garlic and red pepper flakes) in a small bowl. Stir in the oil. Pour over salad; toss well and let stand about 20 minutes (or cover and refrigerate for up to 2 hours). Just before serving, toss again, then sprinkle each portion with peanuts for extra crunch if you like.