Most people, when they decide to make salad, just make a salad. A quick opening of the refrigerator door. A glance at the counter. A whisk and a shake of vinegar and oil. I love almost every salad I make (surely I should be thinner) and Dave does, too. With a couple of exceptions, I rarely repeat one, though I am crazy about fresh spinach with lime vinaigrette. And, maybe even more, green beans and mushrooms with tarragon. Or Caprese with bacon…. Well.
But this Nigella Lawson salad had us hooked from the very first time we ate it. I saw the recipe somewhere and that was that. It’s definitely addictive. To say nothing of healthy. Unlike most things I make, this is one I typically make just like the recipe says. Asian-inspired anything pushes me toward conventional wisdom and written-out recipes, though I do see myself peeking out from around the soy sauce now and again lately. For instance: yesterday I ran out of mint (the only herb called for in her version), but had cilantro and basil. I also had a great mango calling, “Alyce, Alyce.” You can look at the original version here where I blogged it for Dinner Place. Shrimp,too, instead of chicken, is scrumptious. Wow! Add some cooked jasmine rice (ok, brown rice if you must) for a larger, more filling meal.
While this meal contains a whole jalapeno pepper and a bit of crushed red pepper (Nigella’s named a Thai bird chile), it is not terribly hot at all. (I don’t like really hot food just like I don’t like really salty food; I only taste hot or salty then.) It’s just flavorful. Make just a little with the heat and try some if hot peppers are things you don’t eat.
|The sad, but beautiful snow dance of the lilacs in my south garden. Two of them will not survive.|
If you’re watching your P’s and Q’s calorie or healthwise, this salad has your name engraved on it. It’s one that fits both the South Beach and Weight Watcher profiles with smiles all around. If you aren’t worried about intake, you should make it anyway. By the way, I made this for a group of music friends the other day–right after this last heavy Saint Paul snowstorm– and one of them brought cuties mixed with peach yogurt and chopped walnuts as our dessert. Nice! Try this:
vietnamese chicken salad with mango
4+ generous servings 7 Weight Watchers Plus Points
- 1 jalapeno, minced very finely (no veins or seeds)
- 2 large garlic cloves, peeled, minced
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- 3 teaspoons rice vinegar
- 3 tablespoons lime juice
- 3 tablespoons Vietnamese or Thai fish sauce (nuoc nam or nam pla)
- 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 1 medium red onion, finely sliced
- Freshly grated black pepper
- Pinch crushed red pepper
- 12 ounces (3/4 pound) white cabbage, shredded
- 2 medium carrots, shredded, julienned, or grated
- 1 pound cooked chicken breasts, shredded, or cut into fine strips (can sub cooked shrimp)
- 1/4 cup each chopped basil and cilantro (plus a little cilantro for garnish)
- 2 mangos, peeled, seeded, and chopped
- 1/4 cup sliced almonds, toasted
- 2 scallions sliced very thinly (white and green parts)
- Salt, to taste
In a medium, stirring with spoon, combine the chile, garlic, sugar, vinegar, lime juice, fish sauce, oil, onion, black and red peppers; set aside for 1/2 hour. to a large bowl, add cabbage, carrot, chicken breast, basil, cilantro and mangoes, tossing with tongs. Pour cabbage mixture over the dressing, tossing with tongs, slowly and patiently so everything is coated. Add salt and black pepper to taste. Serve on a flat plate topped with almonds, scallions, and cilantro for garnish.
Cook’s Notes: If you’re not going to eat all of this salad at one meal, store the vegetables-fruit and dressing separately; otherwise it can be soggy.
Weight Watchers Notes: Skip almonds to subtract a point or cut back on chicken portion; do not cut sugar–it’s necessary for the dressing.
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