Friday, June 5, 2015

Vietnamese Chicken Jicama Salad...

You can find many versions of shredded chicken salad in Southeast Asian cuisine. I've tried it with napa cabbage, various noodles, and with a heap of fresh herbs and ground roasted rice in a Cambodian dish. All delicious, but this particular one using jicama takes it to another level. Jicama is a root vegetable from South and Central America resembling a turnip. It's said it made its way via trading routes from its native to Philippines, then into the port of Hoi An on Vietnam's central coast. The white firm crispy texture tastes a cross between water chestnut and Asian pear, and doesn't discolour when exposed to air. Refreshingly crisp and flavourful mixed with chicken, carrots and herbs, it's a delicious hearty summer salad with eye-catching colours and wonderful textures!

Vietnamese Chicken Jicama Salad
Makes 6 servings

1 lb. boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 small jicama (if bigger, cut in half and save the other half for another use)
1 - 2 shallots, thinly sliced (use the Asian red variety if you can find it)
1 carrot, cut into thin strips
1 handful of cilantro, coarsely chopped
1 long red chilli, seeded and cut into thin strips
2 Tbsp. sesame seeds, toasted
1 Tbsp. fried shallots

Dressing: (customize to your own liking by adding each ingredient a bit at a time)
juice of 2 - 3 limes (about 1/3 cup)
1/4 cup sugar
2 - 3 Tbsp. fish sauce
1 - 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped

Bring a small pot of salted water to a boil. Add the chicken, reduce the heat and simmer for ten minutes or until just cooked through. Remove onto plate and let cool. Using your fingers, shred the chicken into thin strips. Place into a large bowl.

 I had two yellow baby peppers, that I also thinly sliced for crunch and colour.

Peel the jicama, and slice into thin strips. Add them in the bowl along with shallots, carrots, cilantro, and chilli pepper. Whisk the sugar with lime until it completely dissolves. Stir in the fish sauce and garlic. Pour the dressing over the salad and gently toss to combine. 

Serve on a large platter, sprinkled with sesame seeds and fried shallots. Squeeze some lime juice all over before serving. ăn ngon miệng nhé-- bon appétit!

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