Vietnamese Grilled Chicken Salad

In this warm salad, grilled chicken sits on a bed of rice vermicelli garnished with fresh mint and clantro.

  • Servings: 4

Source: Martha Stewart Living, August 1994


  • 1/3 pound rice vermicelli or somen noodles
  • 1 dried red chile pepper, coarsely chopped, or 1/4 teaspoon red-pepper flakes
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
  • 5 tablespoons rice-wine vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons fish sauce
  • 2 large carrots
  • 1 large cucumber, peeled if waxy
  • 1/2 head Chinese cabbage, leaves separated and coarsely chopped 
(about 4 cups)
  • 1/2 head Boston lettuce, coarsely chopped (about 2 cups)
  • 1/2 cup bean sprouts
  • 2 whole boneless and skinless chicken breasts (4 halves)
  • 2 teaspoons canola or vegetable oil
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 1/2 cup fresh mint leaves
  • 1/2 cup cilantro leaves
  • 1/4 cup lightly salted roasted peanuts, coarsely chopped


  1. Soak vermicelli, if using, in a bowl of cold water for 15 minutes. Meanwhile, in a small bowl, combine chopped chile pepper or red-pepper flakes, sugar, lime juice, 2 tablespoons of the vinegar, and fish sauce. Stir well to dissolve sugar. Set aside.

  2. Bring a pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Drain vermicelli and add to boiling water; cook for 2 minutes. If using somen, add dry noodles to boiling water and cook for 3 minutes. Drain noodles and transfer to a bowl of cold water. Set aside.

  3. Peel carrots and, using a sharp zester, cut into long, thin threads. Use a vegetable peeler to "peel" entire cucumber into long, thin strips. Cut strips lengthwise into thinner strips, about 1/4 inch wide.

  4. Combine carrots, cucumber, cabbage, lettuce, and bean sprouts in a mixing bowl and toss with remaining vinegar. Set aside.

  5. Remove tenderloin (meat attached to underside of breast) from chicken breasts; save for another use. Place breasts between 2 pieces of plastic wrap. Using the flat side of a meat tenderizer or cleaver, pound breasts 1/4 inch thick.

  6. Heat grill or grill pan and brush with oil. Season chicken on both sides with salt and pepper, and grill until cooked through and juices run clear, about 4 minutes per side. Remove from grill and allow to sit for 1 to 2 minutes.

  7. Drain noodles well. Divide salad mixture among 4 plates. Top each with a quarter of the noodles. Slice chicken breasts lengthwise into 1/2-inch-thick strips and place on salads. Set out fish-sauce mixture, mint and cilantro leaves, and chopped peanuts in separate bowls, for dressing and garnishing individual salads.

Cook's Notes

Fish sauce is available in the international-foods section of many supermarkets.


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