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Vietnamese chicken salad with cashews recipe

The trick with this salad is the dressing – a combination of sweet, sour, hot and salty, which is fabulous with noodles and all sorts of salads. This recipe keeps for around 2 hours.

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  • Serves 8

  • Prep time 25 mins

  • Cooking time 15 mins

  • Total time 40 mins

  • Calories 255 per serving

  • Prepare ahead yes

Ingredients

1tbsp rice vinegar
75ml (3fl oz) Thai fish sauce
75ml (3fl oz) lime juice (around 3 limes)
3tbsp palm sugar (or use soft brown sugar)
2 garlic cloves, crushed
pinch dried chillies
75ml (3fl oz) groundnut oil
300ml (½pt) chicken stock
4 skinless, boneless chicken breasts
oil, for frying
2 red onions, finely sliced
½ white cabbage, finely shredded
2 carrots, peeled into ribbons
1 small cucumber, peeled into ribbons
50g (2oz) cashew nuts, toasted
small bunch each coriander and mint, roughly chopped

Tip

Replace the chicken with cooked large prawns for a different twist. You can prepare everything the day before and store in the fridge, except for the onions which you should leave loosely covered in a cool place.

Preparation

  1. Mix together the ingredients for the dressing in a small saucepan – simmer for about 10 minutes, then set aside to cool.

  2. Meanwhile, heat the chicken stock in a saucepan. When boiling, add the chicken breasts and simmer for about 15 minutes until the chicken is firm and cooked through. Remove from the liquid and cool. Heat about 5cm (2in) of oil in a saucepan – when hot, add half the onions and fry until golden and crispy. Drain on kitchen towel and repeat with the remaining onions. Don’t cover them or they will become soggy rather than crispy.

  3. Mix together the cabbage, carrots and cucumber. Shred the chicken and add to the salad along with the cashews and dressing. Just before serving, toss in the herbs and top with the crispy onions.