I went on holiday to Vietnam in 2003 and fell in love with everything about it. The people, the culture, the food.
Never had I eaten so much beautifully fresh food, prepared in such a simple way. The herbs, the sauces, the flavours. All left an indelible image on my mind and my tastebuds.
Fast forward a few years when I was in Canberra visiting my aunt. She had been given a copy of Little Vietnam for her birthday – a newly released book that I had been eyeing off and was trying to persuade myself I really didn’t need.
We cooked a few recipes from this book that weekend, which was enough to have me racing to my local book seller when I returned home, to quickly snaffle up a copy for myself.
One of my favourite recipes in this book is the chicken salad.
I buy a whole chicken and steam it in our steam oven, but you could just as easily poach a whole chicken (and then have that lovely stock for a soup), or buy breast fillets to poach, then shred. I have previously blogged about how easy poaching chicken is – it is also a really lovely way to delicately infuse different flavours into the meat.
If you are pushed for time, you could also buy a whole cooked chicken and use it – discard the skin and bones and just shred the meat. I do this quite often, especially now that our local supermarkets sell free range cooked chickens.
This is my version of the chicken salad in Little Vietnam.
What are your favourite flavours in a salad?