Thai-Style Slaw with (or without) Chicken

July  5, 2017
1 Ratings
Photo by Alexandra Stafford
  • Serves 6
Author Notes

Over the long weekend, I spend some time with Julia Turshen's Small Victories, and came home eager to try her cabbage-massaging technique. I've since learned it works very well — it encourages the cabbage to relax, which allows it to nicely soak up the dressing.

Carrots: I like to use a mandoline, because the pieces look so pretty. If you can find fat carrots, this makes mandoline work easier. When you get down to the bottom of the carrot, simply slice it up with a knife or eat the pieces as a snack. Alternatively, shred it with a box grater or the shredder attachment of a food processor. —Alexandra Stafford

What You'll Need
  • 2 chicken breasts, about 1 lb., optional
  • 1/2 cabbage, Savoy or Napa or whatever you have
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 red bell pepper, seeded and thinly sliced
  • 2 to 3 carrots, thinly sliced, see notes above
  • 6 scallions, thinly sliced
  • 1 small bunch cilantro, roughly chopped to yield about 1 cup
  • 1 small red onion, thinly sliced
  • 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice
  • 1 tablespoon fish sauce
  • 1.5 tablespoons sugar (4.5 teaspoons)
  • 1/2 teaspoon Sriracha + more to taste
  1. If you are using the chicken, bring a small pot of water to a boil. Drop in the chicken breasts. Cover the pot. Remove pot from heat. Let stand 15 minutes. Uncover. Remove breasts. Let cool briefly. Pull/shred into pieces.
  2. Meanwhile, remove the core from the cabbage. Thinly slice the cabbage and place in a large bowl. Pour in the oil. Sprinkle evenly with the salt. Massage the cabbage with your hands. Really squeeze it firmly until it shrinks in size and becomes more saturated in hue.
  3. To the bowl of cabbage, add the peppers, carrots, scallions, cilantro, and red onion. Add the chicken, if using.
  4. Make the dressing: Stir together the lime juice, fish sauce, sugar, and Sriracha. Pour over the bowl of vegetables. Toss to coat evenly. Taste. Adjust with more salt or Sriracha as needed.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • susan g
    susan g
  • Alexandra Stafford
    Alexandra Stafford
  • Heidi Reinberg
    Heidi Reinberg
  • Lisa
I write the blog alexandra's kitchen, a place for mostly simple, sometimes fussy, and always seasonal recipes. My cookbook, Bread Toast Crumbs is available everywhere books are sold.

4 Reviews

Heidi R. January 16, 2018
THIS is the Asian chicken-salad recipe I've been waiting for!!
Lisa July 11, 2017
Love the dressing! Though one should be careful: if you massage cabbage too much, it will lose its crunchiness. With kale salad however, I do massage kale vigorously to make it easier to digest.
susan G. July 11, 2017
The massage 'trick' really works, and the slaw tastes good too, so thanks!
Alexandra S. July 11, 2017
So happy to hear this, Susan!