Thursday, August 3, 2017

Vietnamese Chicken Salad (Goi Ga)

"Vietnamese Chicken Salad or "Goi Ga" is an easily prepared cabbage salad, made with rotisserie chicken and lots of herbs, topped with peanuts and fried shallots, and dressed with a sweet and tart spicy dressing. I've been addicted to this for about 30 years!"


There is hardly a better summer salad than Goi Ga, better known as Vietnamese chicken salad. For as long as I've been devouring Vietnamese food, I've been craving this chicken salad. I order it winter or summer, but I always order it. Unless of course I make my own. This is a super simple salad to make and can even be made with store bought rotisserie chicken, which is what I used last night. Ordinarily poached chicken breasts are used, but not heating up the kitchen has its own rewards; especially when one has a home with just a swamp cooler and no ac. Not complaining, because in general it works very well. And wouldn't you know today's weather in Denver may as well be fall. Baby, it's chilly outside!

Vietnamese chicken salad is filled with the flavor of herbs. Mint, basil and cilantro to be exact. No lettuce greens in this, but crunchy cabbage that I also buy at the grocery in bags labeled angel hair cabbage. I said this salad was easy and I wasn't joking! Throw in some shredded carrots which I guess I could have bought too, but didn't. I actually shredded them myself! Using my easy mandoline I sliced some red onion, chopped some peanuts and took a bag of fried shallots out of the freezer. I buy these for a few bucks at an Asian market and they thaw almost immediately. They give great flavor and crunch to this salad. If you don't have them feel free to substitute the fried onion rings in a can-just make sure they are in tiny pieces!


Now let's look at the dressing. Nuoc Cham is what's used here, which is a very common dipping sauce in Vietnam. It is used for dipping egg rolls, dipping soft shell crab or anything fried, or as a dressing for this salad and many others. You will love it. Tasting tart and sweet and full of garlic and a touch of chili, I think it was this sauce that made me fall in love with Vietnamese food. If I were to choose my favorite ethnic food Vietnamese would be it, without a doubt.

I love to serve this salad with shrimp chips, just like they do in the restaurant we visit. For some reason I had a hard time finding them in the Asian market. Alex decided to pick me up 5 boxes in Vietnam and brought them home with him. He came home with cuttlefish and shrimp and fish-you name it! To be honest, I hate frying so I thought I would try them in the microwave. I did this with popadums once and it worked! I took 5 wafers out of the box, brushed both sides with oil, placed them on a paper plate, microwaved on high for one minute and they came out as cute little cups. Perfect to place a few bites of chicken salad in! I did try weighting them to see if they would come out flat, but they still formed a cute little cup. What fun! If you can find them, try them. They are crunchy and these were also a bit peppery. Not much flavor of shrimp, in case you were wondering. Kind of like a Vietnamese tortilla chip!


If you've never tried Vietnamese food, what's stopping you? I must admit to not being a lover of pho which seems to be competing with ramen lately. I so love a chicken pho, but the beef escapes me. Love the noodles though! And if pho is all you know, you are off to a good start. But then again there are banh mi's, which are starting to appear everywhere. These Vietnamese sandwiches on French baguettes filled with pickled veggies, jalapenos and cilantro can be found stuffed with everything from pate to grilled pork and chicken. We find them for about $4 and feel like we are robbing someone! However check out a good Vietnamese restaurant. You won't be disappointed!


And now it's time to make this salad... so I can go eat my leftovers!

More To Try:
Vietnamese Chicken Noodle Soup    Vietnamese Soft Shell Crab   Vietnamese Meatball Noodle Bowl

          

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Yield: 2-3 Servings

Vietnamese Chicken Salad (Goi Ga)

Vietnamese Chicken Salad or "Goi Ga" is an easily prepared cabbage salad, made with rotisserie chicken and lots of herbs, topped with peanuts and fried shallots, and dressed with a sweet and tart spicy dressing.
prep time: 25 MINScook time: total time: 25 mins

INGREDIENTS:


  • 1 bag Angel Hair Cole Slaw or about 3-4 c shredded cabbage
  • 2 carrots-shredded
  • 1/2 of a Bermuda onion sliced very thin
  • 1/4 c chopped cilantro
  • 1/4 c small mint leaves
  • 1/4 c fresh basil leaves (If you have Thai basil, so much the better!)
  • Rotisserie Chicken (I used both breasts and tore them into shreds. No chopping!)
  • 4 T coarsely chopped peanuts
  • 3 T fried shallots
Nuoc Cham
  • 1/4 c freshly squeezed lime juice
  • 1-2 minced garlic cloves
  • 3 T fish sauce (I use Three Crabs. There is a huge taste difference from one brand to another.)
  • 4 T water
  • 4 T sugar
  • 1/4 t red chili flakes
  • 1 T sweet chili sauce (Mae Ploy)

INSTRUCTIONS


  1. Make the Nuoc Cham. Combine all ingredients and stir until the sugar dissolves. Set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, toss the cabbage, carrots, onion, and half of the cilantro, mint and basil. Top with torn chicken and sprinkle with the rest of the herbs, peanuts and shallots.
  3. I serve the nuoc cham separately so that each diner can dress the salad the way they prefer. I also serve this with fried shrimp chips as they do in the restaurant we visit. Pile a big bite of salad on each shrimp chip, add a spoonful of nuoc cham and eat! (See above)
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21 comments:

  1. Vietnamese food is really good! And something I almost never cook for some reason -- we always go to a restaurant when we're craving it. I should start -- it not difficult at all. This dish especially -- really flavorful and nice. Thanks!

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  2. Oh..I want this so badly! Looks so crunchy and delicious!

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  3. This looks like my dream salad! Why have I never eaten one before???? Can't wait to give it a try. xo

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  4. Gorgeous! Wish I had all of the ingredients for this now. I use Red Boat fish sauce. Do you have an opinion on it?

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    1. Red Boat is great. I buy Three Crabs only because it is usually a bit cheaper! Both are super! Thanks Mimi!

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  5. I've not seen the shredded angel-hair cabbage! Now on my list of things to look for ;) I would love this crunchy, delicious salad any time. I can see how it would be very addictive!

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  6. We don't have very many good Asian restaurants in our area - we're just a small bedroom community so we have to travel north to DC or south to Richmond for the good stuff. But not now! I can make my own with this lovely recipe. Thanks for the recommendation for fish sauce - I never know which one to buy. I remember the swamp coolers and whole house fans when I lived in Littleton, Aurora and Englewood. The humidity here is crazy this week - yuck! Those shrimp chips are fascinating - a must try!

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  7. P.S. How do you fry your shallots?

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    1. There are two ways-though I admit to buying mine in bags from the freezer section of the Asian market. Chop up the shallots and dust them with flour. Saute them in a few tablespoons of oil. They crisp up really fast. You can then use that oil for something else. You can also slice the shallots and then saute them until crisp in oil which will make them crisp. Either way-and like I said the fried onion rings in the can or the ones in the bag in the salad section work well, too! Thanks Tricia!

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  8. I'm getting so hungry looking at this! It looks gorgeous!! I'm Vietnamese and used to have this salad often growing up. With an American husband who avoids vegetables but loves his meat, cheese, and potatoes, I don't make Vietnamese food nearly as often as I would like. And shrimp chips! LOVE the shrimp chips!! But some brands taste like you're eating paper and others are so good!

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    1. Thanks so much. You really need to get your husband eating Vietnamese. It is addicting. My husband loves this salad-I think because he loves the crunchy shrimp chips. Ours were a touch peppery which made them doubly delicious!This salad is great to keep on hand. Wait to dress it at the table and throw the peanuts and shallots on last. That way you can always have a bag in the fridge ready to eat!

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  9. This is so delicious! We could eat this every day! Simple, easy and a snap to throw together... Win-win!

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    1. I could eat this every day, too! And the nuoc cham keep for a long time in the fridge!

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  10. You're so innovative, Abbe. I didn't know we could do that with popadums and shrimp chips! Sure learned something new today. ^.^
    This is a gorgeous salad and oh-so-delicious ..the kind I don't mind having regularly.

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    1. Thanks Sharon! It actually worked quite well! I was so happy.

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  11. I've never heard of goi ga, much less eaten it, but I need to remedy that! This sounds completely addictive. PS, I'll send some Phoenix heat your way, if you're interested :)

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    1. You do need to remedy that. My mom always comes here for Vietnamese. Says it is hard to find in Phoenix. Do you know?

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  12. I'm dying to taste this... It all sounds so fresh and delicious!

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  13. I love all the flavors in this salad! I've made a similar salad, but it's been way too long. Can't wait to make it again.

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  14. This recipe certainly takes the boredom out of chicken salad! Thanks for introducing a new flavor for an old standby. Looks yummy!

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  15. I would love this..I think I have NH sauce in the fridge..bought.
    Thanks!

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