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Gỏi Gà Bắp Cải (Vietnamese Hen and Cabbage Salad) Recipe

Why It Works

  • Gently poaching the rooster breasts ends in succulent and tender meat.
  • Marinating the shredded cooked rooster, cabbage, and carrots with the pickled onion and its vinegar permits the greens to wilt and the flavors develop. 
  • Including the contemporary herbs and crispy shallots and peanuts proper earlier than serving ensures the ultimate salad retains a vibrant and crunchy chew.

Salads play an integral position in Vietnamese delicacies. They usually accompany a bigger meal as a part of a celebration or could be served as a light-weight standalone dish. Vietnamese rooster and cabbage salad, or gỏi gà bắp cải—gỏi the final time period for salad, or nộm in northern Vietnam, gà that means rooster, and bắp cải for cabbage—is a quintessential instance. The mix of tender rooster, crunchy cabbage, candy carrots, and pickled onions is tossed with tangy vinegar brine and topped with crispy shallots and peanuts. It is then served with a aspect of fragrant dipping sauce to create a formidable medley of textures and flavors.

Critical Eats / Vy Tran

For so long as I can keep in mind, Vietnamese rooster and cabbage salad has been a staple at each household celebration, together with particular holidays, birthday events, engagement events, and even dying anniversaries. It’s usually served alongside rooster congee at these festive household feasts. This is smart for the reason that two dishes are linked in preparation: The rooster that’s simmered to make the congee broth is cooled down, shredded, and included into this refreshing salad. It’s a sensible and scrumptious means to make use of rooster to its fullest. 

This refreshing salad needn’t be reserved for simply particular events, although. In my recipe, I’ve damaged down the preparation of the rooster, cabbage, carrots, pickled onion, fried shallots, and the dipping sauce into their core elements, making this seemingly sophisticated medley of flavors and textures approachable for any day of the week.

Critical Eats / Vy Tran

One of many best methods to streamline the method is to make a few of the elements upfront. The pickled pink onion, the dipping sauce (nước chấm), and the fried shallots can all be made a day or two forward and saved individually. Alternatively, they will also be made whereas poaching and resting the rooster.

The dipping sauce, or nước chấm, is constituted of a mixture of garlic, ginger, hen’s-eye chile, sugar, fish sauce, lime juice, and water. To boost the flavour of the garlic and ginger, I like to make use of a mortar and pestle to crush their cells and launch extra of their fragrant taste compounds.

Whereas there are a number of strategies for cooking the rooster breasts, akin to roasting, boiling, or steaming, my go-to methodology is gently poaching the rooster with aromatics like scallion and ginger. It’s a way utilized in Daniel Gritzer’s poached chicken recipe, and ends in constantly tender and succulent meat. 

Critical Eats / Vy Tran

The important thing to completely poached rooster that’s exceptionally plump and tender, not tight or dry, is sustaining a water temperature between 160 and 180°F (70 to 80°C). The ultimate temperature of the rooster breast meat needs to be 150℉ (66℃), which is decrease than the official USDA steering of 165℉ (74℃). I guarantee you that for the reason that rooster is held at these elevated temperatures for therefore lengthy, the rooster will probably be completely suitable for eating—eliminating pathogens like salmonella is not only a operate of temperature but additionally time. The consequence, in the meantime, will probably be rather more juicy, than for those who have been to cook dinner it to a better inner temperature. You too can alter the poaching aromatics to your liking by including onion, lemongrass, or makrut lime leaves to the pot.

Because the rooster poaches, use your time effectively to shred the cabbage and carrots and pickle the onion. I favor utilizing a mandoline to slice all three as evenly and thinly as potential (the shredding disk of a meals processor and even some strong primary knife abilities can even work).

Critical Eats / Vy Tran

Whereas the contrasting textures of the succulent rooster and crunchy greens are a trademark function of this salad, it’s vital to notice we don’t need the greens too crunchy. Ideally the greens ought to retain some chew, however not be as agency as they’re when plain and uncooked. I like to softly soften the cabbage and carrot by tossing with the pickled onions and its vinegar brine for about one hour earlier than serving the salad, simply lengthy sufficient to wilt the greens barely, whereas nonetheless preserving some crunch. I additionally add the shredded rooster to the pickle brine on the identical time, giving it an opportunity to soak within the brine because the flavors meld.

After an hour of sitting, the salad is able to toss with contemporary herbs and prime with crispy fried shallots and peanuts. Be certain that to carry off on including these remaining parts till proper earlier than serving to retain their texture. At this level, you’ll need to benefit from the salad instantly with the aspect of dipping sauce, for the reason that longer the salad sits, the soggier it’ll grow to be.

Gỏi Gà Bắp Cải (Vietnamese Hen and Cabbage Salad)

A traditional Vietnamese salad of tender rooster, crunchy cabbage, candy carrot, pickled onion, contemporary herbs, and crispy toppings, served with a gingery sauce.

For the Hen:

  • 2 quarts (2L) water

  • 1 tablespoon (9g) Diamond Crystal kosher salt; for desk salt, use half as a lot by quantity or the identical weight

  • 2 skin-on, bone-in cut up rooster breasts (12 to 14 ounces; 340-400g every), see notes

  • 2 scallions, ends trimmed

  • One 2-inch knob contemporary ginger (about 2 ounces; 55g), peeled and smashed

For the Pickled Purple Onion:

  • 1/4 cup (60ml) white vinegar

  • 1/4 cup (60ml) water

  • 2 tablespoons (25g) granulated sugar

  • 1/4 medium pink onion (about 2 ounces; 56g), thinly sliced (about 1/2 cup)

For the Dipping Sauce (Nước Chấm):

  • 3 medium garlic cloves, minced

  • 1/2 tablespoon (6g) peeled and minced fresh ginger

  • 2 tablespoons (25g) granulated sugar

  • 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons (90ml) heat water

  • 2 tablespoons (30ml) fish sauce

  •  1 tablespoon (15ml) contemporary lime juice from about 1 lime

  • 1 hen’s eye chile, stemmed and thinly sliced

For the Fried Shallots:

  • 1 1/2 cups (35560ml) impartial oil, akin to vegetable or canola oil, for frying

  • 3 medium shallots (about 6 ounces; 168g), sliced into 1/16-inch-thick rounds (see notes)

  • Kosher salt

For the Salad:

  • 2 cups thinly shredded inexperienced cabbage (about 5 ounces; 135g); see notes

  • 2 cups thinly shredded purple cabbage (about 5 ounces; 135g); see notes

  • 1 medium carrot (70g), reduce into matchsticks

  • 1/2 cup (74g) unsalted uncooked peanuts (with out pores and skin)

  • 1/2 cup (16g) chopped Vietnamese coriander (rau răm)

  • 1/4 cup (8g) chopped perilla (tía tô)

  1. For the Hen: In a big saucepan, mix water and salt, stirring till salt dissolves. Add rooster, scallion, and ginger and set over medium-high warmth till water temperature reaches between 150 and 160°F (65 to 70°C) on an instant-read thermometer. Cook dinner, adjusting warmth to take care of water temperature within the 150–180°F (65–80°C) vary, till the thickest a part of rooster registers 150°F (65°C) on an instant-read thermometer, about 1 hour. Take away rooster from broth and let relaxation till cool sufficient to deal with. Pressure broth and reserve for an additional use. Take away and discard rooster pores and skin, then shred meat along with your fingers and put aside.

    Critical Eats / Vy Tran

  2. For the Pickled Purple Onion: In a non-reactive bowl, mix vinegar, water, and sugar, and stir till sugar dissolves. Stir in onion and let sit at room temperature for 1 hour.

    Critical Eats / Vy Tran

  3. For the Ginger Dipping Sauce: In the meantime, utilizing a mortar and pestle, pound garlic and ginger along with sugar (alternatively, use the again of a knife to bruise the garlic and ginger then mince finely, and stir with sugar in a small bowl). Add heat water, fish sauce, and lime juice, then stir to mix. Switch sauce to a serving bowl and put aside till prepared to make use of.

    Critical Eats / Vy Tran

  4. For the Fried Shallots: In a small saucepan, warmth oil to 300°F (150°C) over medium-high warmth. Add the shallots and fry, stirring consistently for even cooking and adjusting warmth as wanted to take care of oil temperature between 250 and 275°F (120-135°C), till golden brown, 5 to 7 minutes. Use a slotted spoon to switch the fried shallots to a paper-towel lined plate and season instantly with salt. 

    Critical Eats / Vy Tran

  5. For the Salad: One hour earlier than serving, totally toss collectively shredded rooster with cabbage, carrots, and the reserved pickled onion with its pickling juice. 

    Critical Eats / Vy Tran

  6. To roast peanuts, preheat oven to 350°F (180°C). Place peanuts on a baking sheet lined with foil and roast till golden, 10-12 minutes; examine continuously to ensure they do not burn. Permit to chill, then roughly chop.

    Critical Eats / Vy Tran

  7. When able to serve, toss the rooster salad with the contemporary coriander and perilla and prime with the reserved fried shallots and roasted peanuts. Serve with the ginger dipping sauce.

    Critical Eats / Vy Tran

Particular Tools

Mandoline, mortar and pestle, instant-read or deep-fry thermometer 


Use a mandoline or the shredding disc attachment of a meals processor for simpler and quicker slicing of the shallot and cabbage.

A mandoline can even create probably the most even rounds of shallot for frying.

I favor a mixture of inexperienced and purple cabbage for a vibrant mixture of coloration within the salad. Be at liberty to make use of 5 cups of all inexperienced or all purple cabbage within the recipe as a substitute of a mixture of the two sorts of cabbage. 

This salad is an effective way to make use of leftover rooster you have already got available. Omit step 4 and use 2 to three cups shredded rooster (darkish or chicken will each work nicely).

Make-Forward and Storage

The dipping sauce could be refrigerated in an hermetic container for as much as 2 days. 

The fried shallots could be saved in an hermetic container at room temperature for as much as 2 months.

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