Vietnamese Napa Cabbage Chicken Salad


Preparation info

  • Difficulty


  • Serves

    4 to 6

Appears in



By Todd Porter

Published 2013

  • About

From Diane My mother is a wonderful cook, and though I enjoy everything she makes with love in her kitchen, my favorite would have to be her chicken salad. I love everything about this dish, from the fresh herbs to her wonderful fish sauce dressing (though as an adult, I’ve made a few changes to make it reflect my own personal taste and style—sorry, Mom!) I love using Napa cabbage for its soft and tender texture, but you can certainly use whatever variety of cabbage you like.


  • 2 pounds (910g) boneless, skinless chicken

For the Marinade

  • 1 tablespoon crushed or grated fresh ginger
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 2 tablespoons fish sauce
  • ½ teaspoon sugar

For the Fish Sauce Dressing

  • ¼ cup (60ml) fish sauce
  • 1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 red chile, minced
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
  • 2 teaspoons rice wine vinegar
  • 6 cups (420g) thinly shredded cabbage (regular or Napa)
  • 1 cup chopped mixed fresh herbs: rau ram (Vietnamese coriander), mint, basil, or cilantro
  • ¼ cup (27g) shredded carrots
  • Crushed roasted peanuts



  1. Make the chicken: In a large bowl, combine all the chicken marinade ingredients. If your pieces of chicken are thick, place them between two sheets of plastic wrap and pound them with a meat mallet to an even ½-inch (12-mm) thickness. Remove the plastic wrap and add the chicken to the marinade. Let it marinate for 20 minutes.
  2. Heat a grill or heavy-bottomed skillet over medium–high heat. Cook the chicken until it is browned and cooked through, 3 to 4 minutes per side. Let cool, then shred or chop the chicken.
  3. Make the fish sauce dressing: In a medium bowl or large jar, combine all the dressing ingredients with ¾ cup (180ml) water and mix well. Allow the sugar to completely dissolve before using. (You can store the dressing in the refrigerator for up to 1 month.)
  4. In a large bowl, combine the cabbage, herbs, and carrots.
  5. Add the chicken to the bowl with the cabbage and toss to combine. Add dressing to taste before serving.
  6. Top the salad with the peanuts and serve.