At the farmers markets on Saturday morning, my usual green grocer had bags of freshly-shredded green papaya for sale. I love green payaya salads but seeing as though I am way too lazy to go to the Asian supermarket to buy green papayas and even lazier to peel and shred the big melons myself, I didn’t hesitate to procure myself a bag of the not-always-available (and conveniently pre-packaged) fruit.
I didn’t have a recipe for a Thai green papaya salad (originally from Laos as I have now learnt) so I adapted a recipe for Vietnamese Chicken Salad with Carrot and Mint from Bill Granger’s “Bill’s Everyday Asian” – a cookbook that comes highly recommended by my best friend and she is not wrong! All the dishes I’ve made so far have been really tasty and quite simple, especially for Asian food which I can find to be a tad onerous on time, ingredients and processes.
Vietnamese Chicken Salad with Green Papaya, Pickled Carrot & Mint
1.5kg rotisserie chicken – I used 2 poached chicken breast instead (see recipe below)
- 90g bean sprouts
- 180g Chinese cabbage, finely shredded – I used green papaya instead
- handful mint leaves
- handful basil leaves
- pickled carrot (see recipe below)
- 3 tbs fish sauce
- 2 tbs soft brown sugar – I used raw organic honey
- 1 long red chilli, finely chopped
- 1 tsp finely chopped ginger
- 1 garlic clove, crush with the flat of a knife – I finely chopped mine
- handful chopped roasted peanuts
- small handful crispy shallots – I used sliced spring onions (fresh)
Shred the chicken breast meat. Place the chicken, bean sprouts, green papaya, mint and basil leaves and picked carrot in a serving bowl.
Make the dressing by whisking together the fish sauce, lime juice, honey, chilli, ginger and garlic. Pour the dressing over the salad and toss to combine with half the peanuts. Sprinkle with the remaining peanuts and spring onions to serve. Serves 4 (it served a hungry boyfriend who loved it and who doesn’t normally like Vietnamese food plus myself for lunch, and we even some leftover to use as rice paper roll fillings the next day).
- 1 large carrot, finely julienned – I simply grated mine
- 1/2 tsp sea salt – I always use Himalayan pink rock salt
- 1.5 tbs rice vinegar
- 3 tsp caster sugar – I used raw sugar
Combine all the ingredients in a bowl, cover and leave to pickle for 20 minutes.
Poached Chicken Breast
You can use many combinations of aromatics you have on hand to poach chicken breast, eg. black peppercorns, bay leaves, spring onions etc. Use a good dose of salt (about 1 tbs for 4 breast fillets). Add all the aromatics into a pot of cold water. Bring to the boil. Add the chicken, turn off the heat, cover and leave to poach for 20 minutes. You will have perfectly poached chicken breast every time. Too easy! I like to poach a few extra so that I always have easy salad proteins and wrap fillings on hand.
Chúc ngon miệng! (Bon appetit in Vietnamese)