Make Ahead: The chicken and vegetables can be made a day in advance and refrigerated in separate containers or resealable plastic food storage bags. Add the mint, peanuts, fried shallots and their cooking oil and the dressing just before serving, or serve the dressing on the side.
Servings: 10 cups
- 2 or 3 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves (about 3/4 to 1 pound total)
- 1 head green cabbage (outer leaves removed), cored and cut into shreds
- 1 tablespoon salt, plus more as needed
- 1 medium red onion, cut in half, then into very thin slices
- Freshly squeezed juice of 1 or 2 limes (2 tablespoons)
- 1 bunch (5 or 6 stems) mint or vietnamese coriander
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 2 medium shallots, cut into thin slices, for garnish
- Handful of roasted unsalted peanuts, toasted and crushed, for garnish (see NOTE)
- About 1 cup nuoc cham, or to taste (see related recipe)
Place the chicken breasts in a medium saucepan and add just enough water to cover. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, then cover the saucepan and remove from the heat. Let sit, covered, for 25 to 30 minutes.
Remove the chicken and let it cool completely, then tear into randomly sized shreds. (If desired, reserve the cooking liquid to make chicken broth for another use.)
Meanwhile, combine the cabbage and the tablespoon of salt in a large bowl, tossing to coat evenly. Let sit for 15 minutes at room temperature, then squeeze out any excess moisture.
While the cabbage is being salted, place the onion in a medium bowl and sprinkle liberally with salt. Let sit for 15 minutes or more at room temperature, then rinse 2 or 3 times to wash away the salt. Squeeze out any excess moisture.
Combine the salted cabbage and onion in a large bowl. Add the lime juice and toss to mix well, then add the mint or Vietnamese coriander and the shredded chicken, tossing to incorporate.
Heat the oil in a small skillet over medium to medium-low heat. Add the shallots; cook for a few minutes. Once they begin to turn golden, remove from the heat.
Top the tossed salad with the fried shallots, a bit of the shallot oil and the toasted, crushed peanuts. Dress the salad just before serving or serve the dressing on the side.
NOTE: Toast the nuts in a small, dry skillet over medium heat for about 4 minutes, stirring or shaking the skillet often, until they become fragrant.
From Washington writer Julie Wan.
Tested by Bonnie S. Benwick.
Email questions to the Food Section at email@example.com.