A very long time ago, I taught English as a Second Language at a community college in Washington state. One day a lovely young woman from Vietnam brought in this chicken salad to class, and I asked her for the recipe. After 20 years and I still have her original, written in a neat and delicate, albeit faded, script so that I can share it with you. It's so worth frying the shallots and the chicken in advance! Note that this is a very mild dish (read: no chile pepper of any kind), so I recommend serving it with Sriracha or any other hot sauce on the side.
In the same skillet, heat the remaining 1 teaspoon oil over medium-high heat. Add the garlic and shredded chicken and cook until the garlic is fragrant and the chicken begins to turn drier and crisp in a few places, about 7 minutes. Remove from the heat and set aside to cool briefly.
Add the cabbage, sugar, salt, fish sauce, lemon juice and black pepper to the bowl with the shallots. Toss well.
Add the chicken, mint and cilantro and toss again. Taste for fish sauce and lemon juice, adding any more of those ingredients to taste.
Eat warm or chill until ready to serve, topped with the peanuts and hot sauce on the side, if you like.
Copyright 2021 Lynne Curry