Brace yourself for a really easy Vietnamese recipe.
My mom used to poach a whole chicken to use the poaching liquid to make chicken porridge and to shred the cooked chicken to put in this salad. I would do that if I had more people to feed, but it’s just me and there is no way I would finish eating all that before it goes bad.
Instead, I used some leftover Costco rotisserie chicken because my roommate didn’t want it anymore and I didn’t want that to go waste. And it was a fantastic choice because the chicken had so much flavor! The cooked chicken they sell at Trader Joe’s could be a viable choice also, but I find it really bland and I don’t like the dryness of white meat (I’m part of the minority that prefers dark meat). If I didn’t have this leftover chicken, I would have marinated some chicken overnight with sliced onions, salt, pepper, and garlic powder (my go-to chicken marinade) and poached it, then sliced or shredded the meat. I’m also thinking about making a vegetarian version by adding marinated and baked tofu instead of chicken, but I’ll try that out later.
The toughest thing about making this recipe is finding Vietnamese coriander. If you don’t live near a Vietnamese or Chinese market, it’s going to be a challenge finding it. You can definitely still make this, but the Vietnamese coriander gives the salad a distinct flavor that you can’t get without it.
Feel free to eyeball the measurements of the ingredients. I honestly didn’t really measure what I put in and I just kind of tasted as I went. If you like chicken, add more chicken. If you don’t like the taste of raw onions, don’t put any in. Because it’s such a simple recipe, you can customize it however you want! And if the serving size is too big for you, you can really just put together the amount of cabbage and chicken that you want an just add a smidgen of onion and a smidgen of Vietnamese coriander then dress with a few tablespoons of dipping fish sauce.