Young jackfruit and lotus roots salad is a popular Vietnamese salad. These two main ingredients are usually tossed with blanched shrimps and boiled pork to add protein to the dish but if you like exotic food, chicken feet is the way to go.
Chicken feet is surely an acquired taste and it doesn't seem all that appetizing but I am fond of its texture, especially when you cook it with the right ingredients. The chicken feet's skin is delicate and soft. It's tendons appears gelatinous and yet chewy when steamed. It can be crunchy and chewy when prepared the right way. Both of my daughters love to chow down this delicatessen especially when it steamed in a sauce flavored with a sweet fermented black bean sauce as served during dim sum.
But for now I will introduce an authentic Vietnamese salad using chicken feet: young jackfruit and lotus root salad tossed with chicken feet. Sometimes I toss in Vietnamese ham (chả lụa). It will make a great appetizer as it is served as is or with roasted sesame rice crackers. I am sure my husband will enjoy this dish while watching the Super Bowl.
Bring a pot of water with half of an onion and 1 celery stalk cut into 1-inch pieces, and a teaspoon of salt to boil.
Add chicken feet to the boiling water for about 3-4 minutes.
Transfer only chicken feet to a bowl and keep it in the freezer for about 20 minutes or until it's cold enough but not frozen. This process is to obtain the crunchiness of the chicken feet.
Cut into long strips.
Preparing Vinegar Mixture
In a bowl, mix 1 cup of vinegar, 1 cup of sugar, and 3 cups of water. Set aside.
Prepare Young Jackfruit
Wash young jackfruit with salt water. Slightly squeeze young jackfruit pieces to extract the water if any. Slice jackfruit into strips.
In a skillet, cook a tablespoon of oil and garlic until golden brown and fragrant. Stir in jackfruit and soy sauce. Cook for about a couple minutes. Remove from heat. Set aside.
Preparing Lotus roots
Wash lotus roots with salt water. Slice into thin diagonal slices. Soak it in half of the vinegar mixture for at least 15 minutes. Set aside.
Cut an onion in half. Use a knife to cut the onion thinly but not too thin. Soak onion in the remaining vinegar mixture for at least 15 minutes. Set aside.
Preparing Laab Namtok Seasoning Mix
Laab namtok seasoning mix comes in different brands. I have tried a few brands and this is my favorite one as it has the perfect balance of acid, salt, and spices. If you can't find it at your local store, don't worry...you can create your own seasoning mix. The ingredients to create this seasoning mix are combination of garlic powder, onion powder, chili powder, roasted rice powder, sugar, salt, msg and citric acid which you can use lime juice or tamarind powder.
In a sauce pan, mix seasoning mix with fish sauce and sugar. Cook it until it's about to boil. Make sure to stir it during the process. Remove the seasoning mixture and let it cool down.
Preparing Vietnamese Ham
Vietnamese ham can be bought at store or homemade. Click here for the recipe.
Slice ham into thin strips. Set it aside.
Use a knife to thinly cut the celery diagonally. Set aside.
Finely chop coriander and mint herbs. Set aside
Mixing the Salad
In a large mix bowl, mix well all the ingredients and the seasoning mixture.
Transfer salad into a serving bowl. Then take in a big breath; breathe out a sigh of relief.
Pick up a piece of roasted rice cracker and scoop up some chicken feet salad. Then, pop open a cold bottle of beer or a nice chilled chardonnay and put on a grin - because you're going to enjoy this one.