In Vietnam, we have a very special kind of chicken, which is raised naturally and so the meat is tender, but not tough, especially for the chicken breast. Those Vietnamese chicken (called Gà di), are small with the weight of only about more than 1 kg each. Eating chicken in Vietnam is sort of expensive because it takes at least several months to have a “mutual” chicken to be ready to eat lol.
When I first moved to Singapore, I loved chicken so much because it’s cheap and I loved the dark meat and so I just needed to buy dark meat, not like in Vietnam, it would be expensive if I only bought some parts of the chicken. However, soon I realized that those chickens were not as good as the “pure” Vietnamese chickens, especially when I just simply boiled the chicken.
So I come up with this dish to “utilize” the dark meat of chicken that I love with some ingredients that are really easy to find in Singapore. This dish is called Ga Xe Phay (Shredded Chicken Salad). It’s simple, easy to make but there’s a lot of things going on in this dish, especially I love the way the chicken turns out. Let’s get started!
- 1 big chicken quarter leg (Bone-in or boneless is fine) (Of course, if you love white meat, go ahead and use it :D)
- 1 sweet onion
- 3 Tablespoons sugar
- 1 ½ Tablespoons rice vinegar (or lemon/lime juice)
- 2 Tablespoons fish sauce
- ½ Tablespoon salt
- ¼ cup chopped cilantro (or in Singapore they call parsley)
- 1 red chili, chopped very small
- Slide the sweet onion thinly, then toss with ½ Tablespoon salt. Let it sit for about 20 – 30 minutes. Then rinse with water several times. You will see that the volume of the onion is going to reduce a lot. But that’s the way to make the onion to absorb the spices better
- Put all the onion in a bow, then add sugar, rice vinegar (or lemon/ lime juice), fish sauce. Toss it and let it sit.
- During the time we wait for the onion to marinate with salt, we clean the chicken, rub with salt to clean it. Put the chicken in a pot, and then pour in cold water, just to cover the chicken. Add a pinch of salt and bring it to boil. Shimmer for about 10 – 15 minutes until the chicken is done.
- Take the chicken out and put right in a bowl of ice water to make the chicken firm, and cool down fast. Take the chicken out then shred the chicken thinly.
- Here comes the final step to put everything into one dish. So we’ve got marinated onion, shredded chicken and chopped cilantro ready. Toss the chicken with the onion together and then add the chopped chili. Toss it and correct the seasoning. Add the chopped cilantro then toss again.
- Put everything out to a plate then put more chopped cilantro to the top, sprinkle a pinch of pepper.
There you go, shredded chicken salad (Ga xe phay). Simple but elegant! I love the taste of chicken with the sweetness of onion, a little bit sourness, and some heat from the chili. Try this, you’ll love it! This dish is super good in summer when the weather in Hanoi is hot with the humidity rises up to 100% lol.