I feel like (Red Lantern’s) chicken tonight…

by Forager on January 12, 2009

I seem to be going through a salad phase as I decided to make Vietnamese chicken and cabbage salad for dinner tonight. My best friend first introduced me to this delicious dish, known as “goi ga“. I remember her ordering it in a small restaurant in Canley Heights and being a little sceptical at first but soon being won over by the freshness, simplicity and subtle flavours of this dish.

My my attempt at this salad I’ve decided to use an adapted recipe from the cookbook, Secrets of the Red Lantern by Pauline Nguyen, chef at Red Lantern restaurant in Surry Hills.

This is a very easy salad to assemble and great for a light summer dinner. I poached a chicken breast using the “master stock chicken” recipe in the Red Lantern cookbook (basically poaching the chicken in a stock containing light soy sauce,dark soy sauce, cinnamon, cardamom and star anise). Once cooked I shredded the chicken and added julienned carrot, finely shredded red cabbage (most recipes ask for white cabbage but the colour of red cabbage is just so much more vibrant), Vietnamese mint, coriander and spanish onion that was pre-soaked in rice wine vinegar to reduce the pungency. The dressing consisted of potent red bird’s eye chilli(s), garlic, palm sugar, fish sauce and lime juice. This salad is best left to sit for at least an hour to marinate in the dressing for a fuller flavour. I didn’t have the patience though and it still tasted good! As with many of my favourite Asian salads, this will taste fantastic the next day once the salad has had enough time to stew in its own juices. Leftovers… yum!

Oh – for those that haven’t tried Red Lantern I thoroughly recommend it. There’s an intriguing recipe in her cookbook for Vietnamese beef pho noodle soup. The soup alone takes 16 hours to create. Argh. There’s no easy short cut to perfection in a bowl. One day I will find the time to make authentic beef pho. One day.

Address of Red Lantern:
545 Crown Street Surry Hills, (02) 9698 4355.
Open for lunch Tuesday – Friday: 12:30 – 15:00; Dinner 7 days, 18:00 – 22:00.

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