Category Archives: Vietnam

Vietnamese Chicken Salad

This recipe comes from the Skinny Food book of the Australian Women’s Weekly cookbook series, which is just full of great ideas for healthy, but still interesting meals.

There’s no cooking involved and it takes less than 15 minutes to throw together so it’s great if you are in a rush to an impromptu dinner.  It’s the perfect way to jazz up a rotisserie chicken from the grocery store with a Vietnamese flair.

The salad is one of the most popular salads in Vietnam, where it is known as ga xe phai.

Vietnamese Chicken Salad recipe adapted from Australian Women’s Weekly


  • 100g (3.5oz) snow peas, trimmed
  • 4 cups shredded chicken (we used a pre-cooked rotisserie chicken from the grocery)
  • 4 cups finely shredded Chinese cabbage (can also use iceberg lettuce if you are in a pinch but be sure to slice it very finly)
  • ½ cup coarsely chopped fresh mint
  • 1 teaspoon sambal oelek
  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil
  • 1/3 cup lime juice
  • 1/3 cup fish sauce (or soy if you are vegetarian)
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • ½ cup loosely packed cilantro leaves
  • ½ cup crispy fried wontons (optional)


Place snow peas in a medium bowl and cover with boiling water.  Drain immediately.  Then cover the snow peas with cold water and let stand for 2 minutes.  Drain and then slide thinly.

Combine snow peas in a large bowl with shredded chicken, cabbage, chives, onion, and mint.

Combine sambal oelek, oil, lime juice and sugar in a bowl and mix well (it works even better if you put it in a container with a lid and shake well).  Drizzle salad with chilli lime dressing; toss gently to combine, then sprinkle coriander and crispy wontons over salad.

Serves 4

Nutrition: 8.5g fat, 222 calories per serve


Vietnamese Chicken

My boyfriend’s mum, Dallas is an excellent cook and a real master of ad-libbing in the kitchen, which is a skill that I’m hoping to learn from her.  I typically follow recipes, since that’s how I taught myself to cook over the past few years, but I think it’s high time that I cut loose from recipes and learn to have a bit more fun in the kitchen.

Dallas took a simple Vietnamese beef recipe and turned it into a chicken stir fry, throwing in whatever ingredients that she had on hand.  I’m learning from her that it’s ridiculous to get so wrapped up in a recipe that you have to include every single ingredient, which can cause a lot of unnecessary stress in the kitchen – especially when you have to run to the store in the middle of making the dish!

I absolutely loved this simple stirfry because it leaves a lot of room for creativity.  You’ll notice that several of the ingredients are marked as ‘optional’ on the list below and I highly encourage you to branch out and experiment with some of your favorites to personalize the dish!

Vietnamese Chicken adapted from International Cooking Series: Vietnamese Food

Serves 2-3


  • 1 lb (or 500g) boneless chicken thighs (breast meat will dry out)
  • 1 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1 tsp lemon pepper
  • 1 cup sliced spring onions (green parts only)
  • 2 cloves minced garlic
  • 1 can (500g) bamboo shoots, drained & sliced
  • 1 1/2 tbsp fish sauce
  • 1/4 cup sesame seeds
  • 1 tbsp chopped ginger
  • 1 cup sugar snap peas (optional)
  • 1 cup snow peas (optional)
  • 1/2 can baby corn (optional)
  • Rice noodles


Heat the vegetable oil in a wok or heavy bottomed fry pan over high heat.  Add the chicken thighs, drop the heat to Med-High, and cook until browned on all sides.  Remove chicken from the pan.

Add green onions, garlic, ginger, and bamboo shoots.  Saute until tender.

Add the fish sauce and sesame seeds and toss to coat.

Add the chicken back in to the pan along with the peas and baby corn (or other vegetables of your choosing).  Cook until heated through.

Soak the rice noodles in hot water that has just been boiled.

Serve the stir fry over the rice noodles.

FFwD: Spicy Vietnamese Chicken Noodle Soup

I was so excited to make the Spicy Vietnamese Chicken Noodle Soup this week for FFwD because I went to Vietnam a few years ago and fell in love with their food.  This soup was similar to what they call phở, which is sold everywhere and is traditionally eaten for breakfast!  Since my visit, I’ve been making lots of SE Asian inspired curries and soups and either have or know just where to find all the necessary ingredients.  Since I’m more comfortable with this genre of cooking I made a few changes to the recipe to suit my personal preferences that I’ve just learned throughout cooking SE Asian cuisine.

First, I didn’t use a cheese cloth to make a sachet of the spices in the beginning.  I tied the bunch of cilantro stems together using dental floss so that they would be easy to pick out, and let the star anise float around freely.  I used ground coriander and instead of Thai green chili peppers I used a heaping tablespoon of Thai green curry paste.  I start off all my curries by letting the curry paste heat up in some vegetable oil for about 30 seconds before adding in the coconut milk and chicken broth.   This definitely gave the soup some heat.

I still used the fish sauce but also added the tsp of brown sugar to lighten up the flavor since fish sauce is so strong.  I am not sure why SE Asians like tasting fish in a chicken soup but they put fish sauce in everything so I went with it.

I poached the chicken in the broth and then added the rice noodles that I had already boiled along with the lime juice.

All in all, this dish was a big hit – and we served it up traditional Vietnamese phở style with the sweet basil, sprouts, cilantro, and chili peppers on the side.

Here’s a mini Vietnam photo essay to go along the soup:

French architecture in Saigon

Floating down the Mekong Delta

Market in Hoi An

Whole fish for lunch!

Dried Squid on the Go