Looking for something a bit lighter to eat this after Christmas? I look to the flavours of South East Asia and usually my mouth begins to salivate at the thought of a Thai or Vietnamese soup or salad. In the summer nothing could be more enticing than a Vietnamese chicken noodle salad, packed with aromatic herbs, crunchy bean sprouts and toasted peanuts. The beauty of a salad like this is that you can put it together (without the dressing) and keep it covered in the fridge until you need it. The flavour is mostly in the dressing though, so taste it and adjust it to your liking if needed.
Serves 2 mains or 4 sides
- 2 Chicken breasts (small free range birds have more flavour if you can afford it), pan fried and sliced thinly
- Vermicelli rice noodles, soaked in boiling water until soft, drained and cooled.
- 2 medium cucumbers, cut into thin strips (julienne)
- 1 medium carrot, cut into thin strips (julienne)
- 1 cup of iceberg lettuce or half lettuce half cabbage finely sliced.
- 1 cup of bean sprouts
- 1 cup of mixed herbs, if you can get Vietnamese herbs it will taste even better but a combination of coriander, mint, chives and basil is good.
- 2 spring onions or 1 small onion finely sliced
- 2 tablespoons of peanuts, roasted and crushed
- 2 tablespoons of fried shallots (optional)
Vietnamese dressing (Nuoc mam cham) modified from Luke Nguyen Vietnamese recipes SBS
- 1/4 cup fish sauce
- 1/4 cup rice wine vinegar or white vinegar
- 2 tablespoons palm sugar, grated
- 1/2 cup water
- 2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
- 1 chilli, finely chopped (optional)
- 2 tablespoons lime juice or lemon juice
Place all the ingredients in a jar with a tight fitting lid and shake until all the sugar is dissolved. Keep in the fridge until ready to dress your salad.
Assemble all of your ingredients as you like into large bowls or one big platter. Pour over some dressing, mix and eat!