Another edition of Cookbook Recipes leads us to Southeast Asia again.  This time we are in Vietnam with a wonderfully light Chicken Cabbage Salad.  This recipe is extremely easy to make, very time efficient, healthy and most important, delicious.  This recipe is taken from Wendy Hutton’s Green Mangoes and Lemongrass.  This cookbook has proven to be a hit or miss.  While most savory dishes are a hit, I have found some of the desserts to be unreliable.  This recipes is one of the hits of this cookbook.   This is her recipe, with some changes for preference and availability of product.

Ga Xe Phay
5 boneless and skinless chicken thighs

1/2 head green cabbage; about 1 1/2 pounds, thinly sliced (original recipe called for Napa or Savoy)
2 onions, halved
1/2 cup fresh coriander, finely chopped

1 cup fresh mint, finely chopped (original recipe called 1/2 cup mint and 1/2 cup long stemmed Vietnamese mint)
liberal amount of freshly ground black pepper

1/2 cup lime juice

6 tablespoons fish sauce
6 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons rice vinegar
8 slices picked jalapenos (original recipe had 2 large red chilies, minced)

Put the chicken thighs and onions in a saucepan with 2 teaspoons salt and add just enough water to cover.  Bring to a boil, cover and simmer until the chicken is cooked.  Cool in the stock if you have time, then shred the chicken with your fingers. (Strain the chicken stock and reserve in ice cube trays for future use.)  (Original recipe did not use the onion in this step.  Instead, rub salt over onion for 30 minutes, then slice to be added to salad.  This step is not necessary.  I prefer to infuse the flavor of the onion into the chicken, instead of eating raw, salted onion in the salad.  My way will also give you a more flavorful reserved chicken stock.)

While the chicken is cooking, prepare the dressing by whisking together all dressing ingredients.

Just before serving, put the cabbage and herbs in a large bowl with the shredded chicken.  Add dressing and black pepper and toss to combine.  Serve immediately.  (If you are making to serve later, do not add the dressing until ready to serve.)

Even though she sometimes makes her recipes more complicated than they need to be, this is a cookbook I can recommend, if you are a cook who knows how to adapt recipes, when needed.

Chef Mireille

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