Wednesday, March 10, 2010

The Cookbook Challenge - Week 17 - Vietnamese

This weeks theme is Vietnamese.  Not only do I not own any Vietnamese cookbooks, I also have not really eaten in many Vietnamese restaurants & I've never been to the country itself though I hope to visit one of these days as I hear it is very beautiful.  So for my recipe this week I once again turned to trusty Bill Granger's version of things, a lovely light & refreshing chicken salad from Bill's Open Kitchen.  Note that I am almost embarassed by how much I am using Bill Granger's cookbooks but what can I say, they suit me to a T at the moment & I am really trying to get out all of my other books too I promise.

I was going for salad as the weather has been so hot lately though that all changed with the storms, if I'd known how chilly it would get maybe I would have found a pho recipe!  A bonus for me with this dish was that I actually got to use some Thai basil & Vietnamese mint from my garden which is great, they are thriving & dont get used as often as some of my other herbs so always nice to find a use for them before they die off.  The dressing was quite tangy & zingy, the overall salad being quite light & satisfying.  I think the flavours leant a bit too much towards the sour though so next time I would just add raw carrot rather than going to the trouble of pickling my own, I think that would keep it fresher.  Overall a nice, simple (though you have to start the carrots a couple of hours ahead if pickling) weeknight dish, though not sure I personally will be rushing back to try this one again, it just didnt wow me enough even though I love recipes like this that I  can do in stages, that way I can have most stuff prepped while the kiddies sleep & its just an assembly & quick cooking job at the end to bring it all together.

Vietnamese Chicken Salad - Bill Granger - Bill's Open Kitchen

3 x 200g chicken breasts
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
sea salt
pepper (Bill prefers white, I went with black)
90g (1 cup) bean sprouts
20g (1 cup) Vietnamese mint leaves
50g (1 cup) Asian basil leaves, or basil leaves
180g (4 cups) Chinese cabbage, finely shredded
Vietnamese dressing (below)
90g (1 cup) pickled carrots (below), or raw carrot, peeled & finely julienned

Preheat the oven to 220c.  heat a frying pan over high heat & while the pan is heating, brush the chicken with olive oil and season with salt & pepper.  Place the chicken skin side down (if skin on) & sear for 2 minutes, turn and sear for another minute.  Put the chicken on a baking tray & cook in the oven for 8 to 10 minutes.  Leave to rest for 20 minutes.  Shred the chicken into thin strips with your hands & place in a large bowl.  Add the remaining ingredients and toss to combine.  Serves 4.

Vietnamese dressing

60ml (1/4 cup) lime juice
60ml (1/4 cup) fish sauce
2 tblspns rice vinegar
1 tblspn caster sugar
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
3 red asian shallots, or 1/2 red onion, finely sliced
2 small red chillies, very finely chopped (seeds removed if you dont like too much heat)

Place all the ingredients in a small bowl & stir until the sugar is dissolved.

Pickled Carrot

250g carrots, peeled & finely julienned
1 teaspoon sea salt
2 tblspns rice vinegar
1 tblspn caster sugar

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


Ali-K said...

Hi! Just stopped by for the first time in a very long time (its good to be back). Loving the cookbook challenge! said...

Ahh...good old Bill. I've actually made this one before and really enjoyed it too. Your home-grown vietnamese mint looks gorgeous too.

Rilsta said...

Is there anything Bill can't do?! :P You must own every one of his books!

Ange said...

I think I am short only one Bill book at the moment, my mum added 2 more of his books to my collection for xmas. As I said I have a huge crush on him or his cooking anyway, he's like my addiction. At least with the challenge I am using lots of my other books too