The key to great, flavorful gơi bắp cải gà (chicken and cabbage salad in Vietnamese) is to boil the chicken properly. Flavoring the broth prior to boiling the chicken is essential. This is the one chance you have to infuse additional flavor in the meat. As Tatie Danielle (aunt) says, “everyone knows how to make the sauce, not everyone knows how to cook the meat properly.” She used to run a restaurant in the early ’90s and is the best Vietnamese chef I know.
Even though this is referred to as a salad, it is typically eaten as a main course. Not only is it a great, filling meal, but nothing goes to waste. With the leftover broth, you can make súp bún măng gà, literally bamboo and chicken rice noodle soup, or a rice congee (cháo gà in Vietnamese), which is a type of chicken and rice porridge. The porridge in particular is great in the winter. I’ll post the recipe when it starts getting really cold. For now, enjoy some Vietnamese Chicken Salad!
1. Info for Vietnamese Chicken Salad (Goi Ga)
- Cook Time: 20 min
- Total Time: 45 min
- Servings: 8
- Calories: 250 kcal
2. Ingredients for Vietnamese Chicken Salad (Goi Ga)
- 1 whole chicken
- 3 fried yellow onions (see tips), not too browned
- 4 chicken thighs and drumsticks
- 1 daikon turnip, peeled and half of the daikon shredded
- 1 yellow onion
- 1 (1-inch) chunk rock sugar
- 3 tablespoons Thai basil, chopped
- 3 tablespoon Vietnamese mint, chopped
- 3 sprigs rau răm (see tips), chopped
- 3 sprigs ngò gai (see tips), chopped
- 1 red onion (or shallot for a stronger flavor)
- 2 teaspoons mushroom seasoning salt (or salt)
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 4 limes
- 1/4 cup peanuts
- chili salt (optional)
- 1 (2-inch) chunk fresh ginger
- 3 cloves pickled garlic, finely minced
- 1-1/2 tablespoons sugar
- 2 teaspoons brown sugar
- 1 tablespoon soy sauce (see tips)
- 1 tablespoon dried fried shallot (store-bought)
- 1/4 teaspoon black pepper, freshly ground
- 1 red Thai bird chile (optional), stemmed, seeded and thinly sliced
- 2 cups Chinese cabbage, shredded
- Bring about 7 quarts of water to a boil. Add the fried onions. Boil for about 5 minutes. No sugar is necessary yet because of the natural sweetness of the onions. Do NOT salt. Add the whole chicken and chicken thighs and drumsticks to the onion broth. Cook for about 10-12 minutes. Remove the whole chickens from the pot. Let them cool a bit until you can handle them without discomfort. Make several deep diagonal incisions throughout the birds’ flesh. Place the chicken pieces back in the broth. Add half a daikon, whole onion, rock sugar and mushroom seasoning salt. Bring to one more boil and simmer for another 30 minutes until the whole onion and daikon are soft and tender.
- Season with salt. Bring back to a boil, then immediately lower the heat to a gentle boil. Cook for another 10-12 minutes. Remove the chicken pieces. Let them cool a bit until you can handle them without discomfort. Shred the meat. Sprinkle with 1/4 teaspoon of black pepper. Set the meat aside on a platter. Reserve the chicken broth for another recipe (see tips).
- Peanuts: In a mortar and pestle, slightly crush the peanuts. You still want to have visible pieces of peanuts for a crunchy texture.
- Gỏi sauce (salad dressing): In a bowl, combine the rest of the lime juice, sugar, salt, pickled garlic, ginger paste and soy sauce. Mix well.
- Assembly time: In a large bowl, combine the shredded chicken, red Thai chili, shredded daikon, dried fried shallot. shredded cabbage and pickled red onion with its macerating liquid. When you’re ready to serve, drizzle the gỏi sauce (salad dressing). Add all the chopped herbs. Toss well. Season with more salt (if needed) and the remaining black pepper. Sprinkle the peanuts (if you like).
- Serve with a little muối ớt (chili salt) and nước mắm (if needed) on the side. Call your gang immediately.
- Eat with chopsticks and enjoy!