A classic warm-weather dish, this poached chicken and cabbage salad combines cool veggies and poached chicken with a tangy-sweet Vietnamese dressing. Topped with fried shallots, it’s sure to become a summertime staple.
Topped with caramelized shallots, this fresh salad is a sure hit for a summer barbeque or dinner party. If you want a quick tasty (albeit non-authentic) Vietnamese-style salad, use a store-bought roasted chicken this salad, and skip the poaching steps.–Robert Danhi
Poached Chicken and Cabbage Salad
- 1 medium whole chicken (3 to 4 pounds)
- 2 cups green cabbage cut into strips, 2 inches long and 1/2 inch thick
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 small yellow onion halved through the root end, sliced paper-thin into semi-circles, soaked in ice water 30 minutes, drained well
- 2 garlic cloves minced
- 1/4 cup fresh lime juice
- 2 tablespoons fish sauce
- 2 tablespoons distilled white vinegar
- 1 teaspoon granulated sugar
- 1 1/2 teaspoons coarsely ground black pepper
- 1/2 cups shredded or julienne carrot
- 2 long red Thai bird chiles or other hot red chiles cut into julienne strips
- 3 cups Vietnamese coriander leaves (rau ram) or substitute mint and cilantro leaves
- 1/4 cup fried shallots
- Poach the chicken: In a 2-gallon pot, add enough water to cover chicken. Bring to a vigorous boil, then lower to a simmer. Skim off any impurities that rise to the surface and simmer 15 minutes. Remove from heat. Cover the pot and allow it to rest at room temperature for 45 minutes, or until the chicken reaches an internal temperature of 165°F (74°C).
- Carefully lift the bird from the poaching liquid and plunge it into ice water. Leave the chicken in the water for 10 minutes. (This stops the cooking and firms up the meat.) Pull off the skin and discard. Pull the meat from the breast, thighs, and legs, tearing it into 1/4- to 1/2-inch wide strips. Set aside 1 pound for the salad.
- Transfer the chicken to a covered container and reserve at room temperature. (Optional: recombine bones and poaching liquid, add a few aromatics such as onions, ginger, and lemongrass, and simmer one hour to make a stock for soup or other use).
- Toss the cabbage and salt together let rest for 15 minutes, then squeeze out all excess moisture.
- To make the dressing, whisk together the garlic, lime juice, fish sauce, vinegar, sugar, and black pepper in a large bowl.
- To serve, add the sliced onions, carrots, cabbage, and chicken to the dressing. Toss gently until well combined. Taste and adjust seasoning before folding in the herbs. Transfer to a platter, sprinkle with the shallots.
Recipe Testers’ Reviews
I love this salad. It’s so light and refreshing; perfect for a hot summer day. If you’re like me and prefer crunchy cabbage over soft, skip step No. 4 where you salt the cabbage. Rau ram is one of my favorite herbs being that it’s unique and different from regular cilantro. It has a lemony, minty taste in addition to the cilantro flavor.
Originally published July 21, 2009