Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Gỏi Gà (Vietnamese Chicken Salad)

If you ever go to a Vietnamese get-together, chances are there will be some type of gỏi, Vietnamese for salad. One of my favourites is gỏi gà, very similar to a coleslaw with chicken. It is also a perfect accompaniment to cháo gà (chicken rice porridge).

I had bought some chicken bones to make some Vietnamese chicken broth. I am not sure if it is my immigrant economical upbringing but I don't like waste. So after I cook the bones, I spend the time to pick any meat that is left. Usually, I throw it in the broth for soup. This time, I thought I could really go for gỏi gà.

Gỏi Gà (Vietnamese Chicken Salad) - Serves 6-8
This salad is slightly sweet so don't be surprised by the amount of sugar. All quantities are approximate and can be changed. Wandering Chopsticks also has a recipe for gỏi gà.

* 1 cup cooked chicken, shredded
* salt and pepper, to taste
* 2-3 cups small cabbage, sliced thinly
* 2-3 small carrots, grated
* 1 small onion, sliced thinly
* 1 cup vinegar
* 3-4 tbsp sugar
* ½ tsp salt, or to taste

Season the chicken with salt and pepper, and set aside.
Mix the cabbage, carrots and onion.
Dissolve sugar in the vinegar and add to the cabbage mixture.
Let sit for an hour, mixing so all the vegetables absorb the vinaigrette.
Adjust the seasoning with sugar and salt.
The vegetables are ready, once the cabbage tastes less raw and are not as white.
Take a handful of vegetables and squeeze out the vinegar.
Place in a separate bowl and repeat with the remaining cabbage mixture.
Add the chicken and mix.
Garnish with fried onion and fresh mint, and serve with bánh tráng (sesame rice paper) or bánh phồng tôm (shrimp crackers).

Chicken bones, picked for gỏi gà.

Sliced cabbage and onion.

Cabbage and carrot mixture, "marinating" in vinegar.

After squeezing out the vinegar, add chicken.

Bánh tráng is a special type of rice paper that is to be toasted. When I was in Quảng Ngãi, the town where my mother grew up in Vietnam, it was served before a meal as snack food. You would just dip it in fish sauce. It is perfect for scooping gỏi, by breaking it into pieces. It is also perfect for adding into specific soups, like bún bò Huế. It is usually toasted over a fire, or my mom does it over the burner. We found out that you can do it in the microwave, making sure to turn it, about 30 seconds on each side. I have a stash of bánh tráng from my grandmother. Lately, my grandmother has been disatisfied with her supplier from California and so actually gets family to bring some back from Vietnam.

Bánh tráng, before and after toasting. They come in large 14" circles.

Close up of the gỏi gà, topped with fried onion, that can be purchased at Asian stores. Oops, it's lacking the fresh green herbs.

A piece of bánh tráng topped with gỏi gà.


Anonymous said...

Looks great, Nina! I am very impressed by your range of Viet dishes.

Mish said...

Yeah, this looks awesome! I'm going to make this for the upcoming office event to showcase Vietnamese food =) Should I throw in a little bit of mung bean noodle?

Miss.Adventure said...

Thanks Cathy and Michelle!

Michelle: Traditionally, there is no mung bean noodle in this dish. If you do decide to add some, just make sure that you have the vinaigrette coating the noodles, because they are rather bland on their own.

Phan-tabulous said...

I am so loving the fact that I have discovered your blog, unfortunately, I'm regretting that I'm attempting to read all of your older posts around lunchtime which makes me feel malnourished.

In any case, this post reminds me of my mother, who used the banh trang with black sesame seeds. I wonder if the difference is noticeable.