Thursday, 11 November 2021

Summery Vietnamese Chicken Salad

It's Vietnamese food for lunch today. Great! We are so very fortunate to be able to enjoy cooking and eating a variety of cuisines at home now, however one of my favourites, particularly during the Australian Summer, is to eat Vietnamese. This recipe is everything that you love about Vietnamese food, healthy, fresh, full of flavour, and with lots of different textures.

This amazing recipe is based on the fantastic Vietnamese dressing and fresh salad mix used by the great Australian chef, Bill Granger in his book, Bills Open Kitchen. I have been making this recipe for years as his book was published back in 2003, but the recipe is timeless. I haven't included any noodles or rice in my recipe as we are watching our carbs, and quite frankly the dish doesn't need it, but if you must, serve this on a bed of vermicelli noodles, or with rice, and everyone will thank you for it.

It is also very versatile. If you are short on time, buy a cooked chicken, and use the chicken meat already cooked, or substitute cooked prawns for chicken. I love the flavour of Vietnamese Mint, and I'm fortunate to have it growing in a pot in my back garden, however if you can't get hold of it, substitute some chopped coriander leaves. Both of these herbs are quite strong in flavour, but I love that. I know already that a couple of my readers will say they don't like Vietnamese Mint, but there are always substitutes, or just leave it out.


Serves 4 people

3 x 200 g (7 oz) chicken breasts without skin(or use 600 g precooked chicken breast)

2 tablespoons Olive oil or Vegetable oil 

sea salt

white pepper

90 g (1 cup ) bean sprouts, I even like more of them

20 g (1 cup) Vietnamese mint leaves or 1/2 cup coriander leaves

50 g (1 cup) fresh Basil leaves (sweet or Thai)

180 g (4 cups) Chinese cabbage, finely shredded, or iceberg lettuce if you must

Vietnamese dressing (recipe below)

90 g (1 cup) pickled carrot ( below) or raw carrot, peeled and finely julienned


Preheat your oven to 220 deg. C. (425 deg. F./Gas 7). 

Heat a frying pan on the stove top. Meanwhile, brush the chicken breasts with olive oil, and season with salt and pepper. Brown and sear the chicken breasts for 2 minutes, turn over and sear for another minute.  

Line a baking tray with baking paper, and place the chicken on the tray and cook them in your oven for 8 to 10 minutes. Leave the meat to rest covered for 20 minutes.

When cool enough, shred the meat into thin strips, your hands will be fine to do this, and place in a large bowl. This is the foundation of your salad.

Add the remaining ingredients and toss to combine. 

Vietnamese dressing:

60 ml ( 1/4 cup) lime juice

60 ml (1/4 cup) fish sauce

2 tablespoons rice vinegar

1 tablespoon caster sugar

2 garlic cloves, very finely chopped

 1/2 red onion, finely sliced or 3 red Asian shallots, finely chopped

1 large red Capilano chilli ( or 2 if you really like some chili), seeds removed


Place all the ingredients n a small bowl and stir until the sugar is dissolved

Pickled Carrot: as a delicious side and to mix through the salad

250 g (9 oz) carrots, peeled and finely julienned

1 teaspoon sea salt

2 tablespoons rice vinegar

1 tablespoon caster sugar


Mix the salt with the julienned carrots in a colander and toss to combine. Leave for 20 minutes to remove the excess moisture . Place 185 ml (3/4 cup) water with the vinegar and sugar in a small saucepan over a medium heat and bring to the boil. Remove from the heat and cool. Rinse the carrot, squeezing out any excess water with clean hands, and place in a bowl. Pour the pickling liquid over the carrot and stand for 1 hour. Strain before serving.

We ate this salad for lunch today, and it was so delicious. I prepared the vegetable salad early in the morning, and made the dressing, and kept them both in the frig. Then when I came home from shopping, I cooked the chicken fillets,  made the pickled carrot,  and the whole dish was very easy to assemble from there.

Cooks Tips:

  • If you find you have a lot of the Chinese cabbage left over as I often do, my Wombok and noodle salad recipe has been very popular amongst readers, and my family love it. You can find the recipe at this link. It is also a Christmas favourite here in Queensland
  • The pickled carrot makes a delicious side dish, however it is optional and as an alternative just mix some grated carrot though the salad.
  • If necessary, crispy iceberg lettuce could be used instead of Chinese cabbage.
  • Use a bought cooked chicken on busy days to make this dish, your family will hardly know the difference.
  • Cooking the chicken fillets as I did in this recipe, produced very tender, flavoursome, shredded chicken
  • If you have any chance of growing your own Basil plants or Vietnamese mint plants in Summer, it is well worth doing.
  • If you have them growing, add two very finely chopped kaffir lime leaves to the salad. 

Here is another delicious salad in the same style as the one I have just shared with you, my Vietnamese Ruby Grapefruit Salad

HAPPY RETIREE'S KITCHEN : Vietnamese Ruby Grapefruit Salad (

 Best wishes,



  1. I adore Vietnamese food..always fresh and so refreshing! Both chicken salad and grapefruit salad look fabulous!

  2. WWhat a beautiful and colorful salad ! This recipe is really new for us. Ingredients are so rich and yes it is a good lunch option. We mostly use orzo and chicken (with herbs) for the chicken salad. Your recipe sounds good. Thanks.

    1. Thanks so much for your comment, this is perfect for our Summer, I adore the Vietnamese flavours.

  3. yum looks healthy and tasty. i do like a chicken salad!

    1. Thanks Sherry. I love the vietnamese flavours with chicken

  4. We have been cooking a lot of Vietnamese food lately, as well. I love the flavors! I don’t know if I’ve ever seen Vietnamese mint, though. I’m going to have to look next time I’m at the Asian grocery to see if they have it. Otherwise, I’ll use coriander/cilantro.

    1. I've never seen Vietnamese mint dried, I grow it fresh and the flavour is enormous, a little pungent and so distinctive. I just love it. I really hope you can track it down. Thanks so much for responding.


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