Let me introduce you to a salad that will keep you on your toes, in the best way possible. It has crisp shredded cabbage complemented by chilies, fish sauce, marinated onions and mint. Strong flavors, that could clash horribly, but don’t. Instead, you get a bowl from which every bite is a surprise. Will I get the heat from the chilies? The pungency of the onions? Or the cool relief of the mint? And always, there is the cool crunch of the cabbage to take the edge off.
This is Nigella Lawson’s Vietnamese Chicken Salad with Mint, and after yesterday’s failed attempt, today came the re-try for making it. Actually, it was my fourth time and I knew I would not be disappointed. I was right: this is one tasty salad.
Truth be told, I made a chicken-less version today, so I could trick my man into eating the left-over chicken nuggets instead. It was lovely all the same, complemented by just a few crackers (okay, and some cheese for dessert). I hope you didn’t think I partook in the nugget fest? No sirree, I like my chicken recognizable. Plus, when you have lovely salad, who needs greasy snacks?
Vietnamese Cabbage Salad With Mint
Adapted slightly from Vietnamese Chicken Salad in Nigella Bites, Nigella Lawson
1 chilipepper, seeded and finely chopped
1 fat clove of garlic, peeled and finely chopped
1 tbsp of sugar
2 tsp of rice vinegar
1 tbsp of lime juice
1 ½ tbsp Vietnamese or Thai fish sauce
½ medium onion, sliced as thinly as possible
black pepper to taste
⅓ white cabbage, shaved finely
1 medium carrot, grated
handful of mint leaves, finely shredded right before adding to salad
Mix chilipepper, garlic, sugar, vinegar, the lime the fish sauce and onion, add a pinch of black pepper. Leave mixture for half an hour. Then add mixture to cabbage, carrot and mint and toss carefully, until all vegetables are coated with a film of dressing. Adjust seasoning to taste.