This fresh salad from Luke Nguyen has all the elements: sweet, sour, salty and spicy. The chicken is cooked in master stock, a poaching and braising liquid commonly used in Vietnamese cuisine. Top your salad with nuoc cham and crispy fried garlic.
- 1.6 kg whole chicken
- 300 g white cabbage, thinly sliced
- 1 small white onion, thinly sliced
- ⅓ packed cup perilla (shiso) leaves (see Note)
- ¼ packed cup mint leaves
- 1 packed cup Vietnamese mint leaves (see Note)
- 2 tbsp roasted peanuts, roughly chopped
- 2 tbsp fried Asian eschalots
- 2 red bird’s-eye chillies, thinly sliced
- 250 ml (1 cup) light soy sauce
- 60 ml (¼ cup) dark soy sauce
- 2 tbsp salt
- 4 cinnamon quills
- 6 star anise
- 6 green cardamom pods
Dressing (nuoc cham)
- 60 ml (¼ cup) fish sauce
- 60 ml (¼ cup) rice vinegar
- 2 tbsp white sugar
- 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
- 1 red bird’s-eye chilli, finely chopped
- 2 tbsp lime juice
Fried garlic and garlic oil
- 250 ml (1 cup) vegetable oil
- 6 garlic cloves, finely chopped
Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.
Drink match 2009 Jean-Luc Mader Pinot Gris or 333 beer
To make master stock, combine 6 litres water, light and dark soy sauces and salt in a large saucepan, place over high heat and bring to the boil. Place cinnamon, star anise and cardamom in muslin, tie with kitchen string to make a pouch, then add to the pan. Bring to a simmer and cook for 30 minutes for the flavours to develop. Turn off heat and cool. If not using immediately, store in the fridge for up to 3 days or freeze for up to 3 months. Makes 6 litres.
To cook chicken, bring master stock to the boil, then add chicken, making sure it is fully submerged. Cover with a lid, return to the boil, then turn off the heat. Leave chicken for 45 minutes to “cook”, then remove from stock and set aside.
Meanwhile, to make dressing, place fish sauce, vinegar, sugar and 125 ml (½ cup) water in a pan over medium heat and stir to combine. Bring mixture to just below boiling point, then set aside to cool. Add garlic, chilli and lime juice, and stir to combine.
To make fried garlic and garlic oil, heat oil in a wok or large, deep frying pan to 180°C (or until a cube of bread turns golden in 10 seconds). Add garlic and fry for 45 seconds or until golden. (Be careful not to overcook the garlic as it continues to cook once it is removed from the wok). Strain into a bowl and drain on paper towel. Fried garlic will keep in an airtight container for up to 4 days and the garlic oil in a jar for up to 1 week. Makes 2 tbsp fried garlic and 1 cup garlic oil.
Remove meat from chicken and discard skin and bones. Shred chicken into a large bowl. Add cabbage, onion, herbs, 2 tsp fried garlic and 1 tbsp garlic oil, and toss gently to combine. Place salad on a platter and drizzle with dressing to taste. Scatter with peanuts, fried Asian eschalots and chillies to serve.
• Perilla and Vietnamese mint are available from Asian food shops.
• To maintain the master stock: After using the stock once, add 1 tbsp salt and return to the boil. Skim scum from the surface, then strain into a clean saucepan and cool. Store stock. Each time you use the stock, you will need to adjust the water level and seasonings. Top with more water to make up 6 litres, add 1 tbsp dark soy sauce and 2 tbsp light soy sauce, and replace the aromatics about every third use. It is good practice to always taste your stock to see if the seasoning and aromatics need adjusting.
Photography by Alan Benson.
As seen in Feast magazine, Sept 2011, Issue 1.