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Thursday, June 16, 2016

Gỏi Gà (Rainbow Mix Chicken Salad)

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There's absolutely no better season than late spring, early summer to enjoy the bounty of greens and vegetables it has to offer. Lately, I've been serving my family an abundance of everything fresh. I appreciate fresh, locally or home grown ingredients, cooking from scratch, and pouring your heart into each dish. 

One of the dishes I made for my family recently - and my husband loves everything in this dish - is the rainbow mix chicken salad. If you love colors, if you love spice, if you love complex flavors then this is your kind of salad.

This salad has more than just greens and veggies. The vermicelli bean noodle is a translucent noodle made from mung bean starch which gives it a chewy texture and neutral flavor to the dish. The shredded chicken is super tasty as it soaks up all the wonderful flavor. Even if you don't like greens, you can always enjoy the chicken. 

All of these delicious ingredients with their vivid colors, complex texture and dazzling greens tossed in a light coconut water fish sauce blend into a mouthwatering cornucopia of a salad that will please your palate while giving you the nutrition you need.
RECIPE: Rainbow Mix Chicken Salad


for chicken
1 free-range chicken, available at Asian market
2 whole garlic, peeled
ginger, about 2-inch , sliced
5 shallots, or 1 large onion, peeled, cut into halves
rock sugar or regular sugar
for salad mix

1 red bell pepper
1 yellow bell pepper
1 orange bell pepper
8 red radishes
1 package, 1.75 oz, micro rainbow mix (use cabbage, mint leaves, cilantro as a substitute)
2 bunches vermicelli bean noodle
roasted peanuts, for garnish
for fish sauce dressing
1 cup coconut water
1/4 cup fish sauce
1/4 cup sugar
4 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
1 tablespoon finely diced green sweet bell pepper
1 tablespoon finely diced red sweet bell pepper
1 Thai bird's eye chili pepper
1 1/2 limes, juiced with pulp
for pickled radishes, optional 
1/8 cup vinegar
1/8 cup sugar
1/2 cup water

Cooking Chicken

In this recipe, I bought free-range chicken from Asian store which is leaner and smaller. The size of it is about 2/3 of the standard American chicken. This type of chicken doesn't have much meat but the meat is firm and a little bit chewy, and with a somewhat sweet flavor. The cost is in the $10-13 range for a whole chicken. If you use other type of chicken, you might need only half of it.

In a large pot, add water, ginger slices, garlic, shallots, or onion, some salt and sugar, and bring to a boil.

Add a chicken and bring it back to a boil, reduce the heat and continue cooking for another 10 minutes. Turn off the heat. Cover and let it sit in the pot for another 15-20 minutes. Remove the chicken, and let it cool down completely. Shred the chicken and set aside.Toss the chicken bones back in the broth pot and cook it at low heat to extract more flavor. You can use this broth for your other dishes.

Prepping Bell Peppers

Cut bell pepper lengthwise and cut out core, then slice the quarters into thin strips.
Prepping Radishes

Trim the top and bottom off each radish. Wash them thoroughly. Cut radish into thin slices.  Immerse radish slices in a bowl of water to keep fresh.  You can toss all of these raw radish in the salad but I used half of the radish slices to pickle as my husband likes both tastes and and textures of the raw and pickled radish.

To pickle the radishes, combine the ingredients for the pickled radishes and mix well until dissolved.  Add radish slices.  Set aside. Radish loses its red color and turn the slices into pink as they immerse in the vinegar mixture.

When it's time to toss the salad together, remove the radishes from the vinegar mixture and let the water drain out before adding to the salad.
Mixing Fish Sauce Dressing

Combine all the ingredients for the fish sauce dressing and mix well. The purpose of adding finely diced red and green sweet bell peppers to the fish sauce dressing is to make it look more appealing.

Cooking Vermicelli Bean Noodle

Soak the noodle in a bowl of water until soft while waiting for a small pot of water to boil. Remove noodle from the water bowl. Drop it in the boiling water pot for no more than a minute until translucent. Pour it out into a colander and run it under cold water. Drain.  Set aside.

Tossing Salad

In a large mixing bowl, add all the ingredients except the micro rainbow mix and half of the fish sauce dressing. Toss it well.

I like to use my hands to toss so that all the ingredients will be evenly distributed.
Just right before serving, add the micro rainbow mix and lightly toss it so that these delicate greens won't get bruised (I learned this after the first try :-)). Save some for garnish.


Transfer rainbow mix chicken salad to a serving plate. Sprinkle the remaining micro rainbow mix on top of the salad to add the fresh flavors and visual appeal to this dish. Garnish with roasted peanuts. Enjoy!

Eat well. Stay Healthy.

1 comment:

  1. OMG.....look so good...will try next week
    Thank You Loan for sharing your recipe.

    Every time we got tired of cooking or run out ideas, your post give us spirit of enjoy cooking again.