This dish is the go-to Vietnamese salad that never fails to please everyone. It's fresh and vibrant and thoroughly delicious.






Skill level

Average: 5 (1 vote)


  • 2 lemongrass stalks, white part only, bruised
  • 4 long red chillies
  • 4 large chicken breasts, skin on
  • 2 litres (2 qts) vegetable oil, for deep-frying
  • 16 prawn crackers
  • 30 g (1 oz) fried shallots

Pickled carrot and daikon

  • 150 ml (5 fl oz) white vinegar
  • 100 g caster (superfine) sugar
  • 1 kg carrots, cut into matchsticks
  • 300 g daikon (white radish), cut into matchsticks

Nuoc mam dipping sauce

  • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 3 brid's eye chillies, finely chopped or sliced
  • 150 ml fish sauce
  • 100 ml white vinegar
  • 140 g caster (superfine) sugar



  • 200 g (7 oz) white cabbage, thinly sliced
  • 100 g (3½ oz) red cabbage, thinly sliced
  • 1 bunch mint, leaves picked
  • 1 bunch Vietnamese mint, leaves picked
  • 1 bunch shiso, leaves picked

Cook's notes

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.


This recipe needs to be started 2 days in advance to pickle the carrot and daikon.

1. Begin by making the pickled carrot and daikon. Combine the vinegar and sugar in a bowl and add 100 ml water. Stir until the sugar has dissolved. Rinse the daikon and carrot under warm running water for 5 minutes, then drain thoroughly and pat dry with paper towel. Transfer to a large plastic container or non-reactive bowl. Pour the pickle liquid over the vegetables and set aside in the fridge for 2 days, after which time the pickles will be ready to use. Makes 1.3 kg. Leftover pickle will store in the fridge for up to 2 weeks.

2. Fill a large saucepan with 2 litres (2 qts) water and add the lemongrass and 1 chilli. Place over medium– high heat and bring to the boil. Add the chicken and poach for 30 minutes or until cooked through. To test if the chicken is cooked, insert a skewer into the thickest part of the breast; if the juices run clear, the chicken is cooked. Drain the chicken and set aside to cool. Discard the lemongrass and chilli.

3. Meanwhile, make the dipping sauce by combining the ingredients and 200 ml water in a bowl and stiring through until the sugar has dissolved. Makes 600 ml, the remainder can be kept in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 2 weeks.

4. Heat the oil in a large saucepan over medium–high heat to 180°C (350°F) on a kitchen thermometer. Working in batches, fry the prawn crackers for a few seconds until puffed up and doubled in size. Using a slotted spoon, remove the crackers from the oil and drain on a plate lined with paper towel.

5. Remove and discard the chicken skin and, using your hands, shred the meat into small pieces.

6. Thinly slice the remaining chillies.

7. Combine the slaw ingredients in a serving bowl with the pickled carrot and daikon and top with the shredded chicken. Dress the salad with the nuoc mam and arrange the prawn crackers around the edge. Top with the sliced chilli and the shallots and serve.


Recipe from Street Food Vietnam by Jerry Mai, Smith Street Books, RRP $39.99