Speaking from my own experience, Vietnamese cooking can be daunting for those of us not from an Asian background. So many alien ingredients and unknown flavors, where to even begin? Let me tell you, it’s so worth stepping out and giving this style of cooking a try – we’ve been doing it for 2 years now and it really improved the way we eat.
The salad calls for chicken – I used leftover rotisserie chicken and had it cold. It seems to go much better with mango that way. If you don’t have red Thai chilies on hand, substitute Habanero, jalapeno, or as last resort use dried chili flakes. I have a hard time sourcing red Thai chilies myself so I came up with an ingenuous solution: the freezer. I have two Ziplock bags full of red and green Thai chilies and I never worry about running out. The added perk is that it’s easier to handle and chop frozen chilies, but use rubber gloves if you’re sensitive – remember that those babies are one of the hottest chilies on the planet.
- 1 cup green papaya, finely julienned into thin matchstick-sized strips
- ½ cup cooked chicken, thinly sliced
- 1 blood orange, segmented
- 1-2 cups of lettuce (whatever you have on hand, I used red leaf)
- ½ cup finely shredded radicchio
- 1 belgian endive, thinly sliced
- ½ ripe mango, thinly sliced
- ¼ cup mint, torn into pieces
- 1 red bell pepper, finely sliced
- ¼ cup cilantro, roughly chopped, plus more to garnish
- 4 shallots, finely sliced and fried until golden and crispy
- ¼ cup of crushed peanuts, to garnish
- spring onions, finely sliced, to garnish
- ½ package (roughly 2 servings) of rice noodles, soaked
- Combine all salad ingredients and top with fried shallots and slivers of red thai peppers.