After being immersed in Roman cuisine for the past two years, I have emerged with an intense desire for Asian food — Indian, Malaysian, Thai, Chinese, Japanese, Cambodian, Indonesian, Korean, Vietnamese… and the list keeps going. I love the textures, spices, and in many cases, the sheer simplicity of making an amazing meal. This week, Christine Ha, MasterChef 3 winner — also known as The Blind Cook — has shared with us her recipe for Vietnamese Chicken Slaw with Ginger Vinaigrette, or Goi Ga. I love her recipe because it allows the flexibility to cook the chicken however you like. I poached it, but you can use whatever method you prefer, even leftover roasted chicken. This is easy and light fare for any day of the week. —Kristina
Why Christine loves this recipe: This is a dish that could be dressed up or down for all occasions. It’s simple enough to make for a weeknight dinner, or you can substitute duck for chicken in a holiday spread. You’ll often find goi ga (as it’s called in Vietnamese) as part of the feasting table, like during Lunar New Year. It’s the perfect balance of sweet, salty, savory, sour, and crunchy.
Goi Ga (Vietnamese Chicken Slaw with Ginger Vinaigrette)
Yields: 6 to 8 servings
– 1/2 red and/or white cabbage, shredded & drained
– 2 carrots; peeled, shredded & drained
– 1 shallot, thinly sliced & soaked in cold water
– 4 tbsp chiffonaded culantro or finely chopped cilantro
– 2 tbsp chiffonaded mint leaves
– 2 tbsp chiffonaded Thai basil leaves
– 1 lb chicken, cooked & shredded
– 2 cloves garlic, grated
– 2 tbsp grated ginger
– 2 red chile peppers, seeded if desired & minced
– 2 limes, juiced (1/4 c)
– 3/4 cup granulated sugar
– 1/2 cup fish sauce
– 1 cup water
– 4 oz roasted peanuts, crushed
– 6 tsp finely chopped fried shallot or onion
– Prawn chips
1. Make sauce: In a small bowl, combine garlic, ginger, peppers, and lime juice. In a medium bowl, whisk together sugar, fish sauce, and water until incorporated. Whisk together with garlic mixture. Let stand 30 minutes for flavors to combine.
2. Toss slaw: In a large bowl, toss together cabbage, carrot, shallot, and 1/2 cup of the ginger vinaigrette; season with pepper. Toss with culantro (or cilantro), mint, and basil.
3. Transfer slaw onto platter and place chicken on top. Garnish with peanuts and fried shallots. Serve with prawn chips and remaining ginger vinaigrette on the side for dipping.
About Christine: Christine Ha is the first-ever blind contestant and season 3 winner of MasterChef (US). Christine’s first cookbook, Recipes From My Home Kitchen: Asian and American Comfort Food (Rodale, 2013), was a New York Times best seller. She has been featured on NPR and the BBC, and travels around the globe to give keynote addresses and TEDxTalks. She is a co-host on the Canadian cooking show, “Four Senses” on AMI, and a judge on “MasterChef” Vietnam on VTV3. In 2014, Christine received the 2014 Helen Keller Personal Achievement Award from the American Foundation for the Blind. Christine holds an MFA from University of Houston’s Creative Writing Program, and is currently working on a memoir. She resides in Houston. You can find her on Facebook, Twitter: @theblindcook and @ChristineHHa, YouTube, and Instagram.