Vietnamese chicken, noodle and peanut salad – gluten free and excellent for picnics

This salad can be eaten when the chicken is freshly cooked and still warm, or refrigerated and eaten cold.  I have to confess that I am not a big fan of fish sauce, so tend to substitute soy sauce (gluten free of course) when cooking Vietnamese and Thai foods.

Vietnamese chicken, noodle and peanut salad

Vietnamese chicken, noodle and peanut salad

1/3 cup lime juice

2 tbs sugar

1 tbs gluten free soy sauce

1 tbs chopped fresh coriander

1 tbs oil for cooking

2 tsp lemongrass paste

2 garlic cloves, grated

1 tsp grated fresh ginger

4 small or 2 large chicken breasts

100g rice vermicelli noodles

2 lebanese cucumbers, halved and sliced finely on the diagonal

4 spring onions, sliced finely on the diagonal

1 long red fresh chilli, deseeded and thinly sliced

225g can bamboo shoots, drained

1/2 cup fresh mint leaves

1/4 cup salted roasted peanuts


Combine lime juice, sugar and soy sauce in a glass or ceramic bowl.  Stir until sugar is dissolved, reserve 1/4 cup.  add coriander, lemongrass paste, garlic and ginger to marinade, add chicken and coat.  Set aside at least 15 minutes.

Place cucumber, spring onions, chilli, bamboo shoots and mint in a bowl.  Heat oil in a non-stick frypan on a medium to high heat and add chicken in marinade.  If using thick fillets, you will also need to add a bit of hot or boiling water just as the marinade cooks away to prevent it burning.  First, brown the chicken in the marinade, then when it starts crystalising in the pan, add the boiling water to poach the chicken to finish it off.  This will also help to keep it moist.  Remove from pan and rest for five minutes before slicing.

While the chicken is resting, pour boiling water over the noodles in a bowl.  Let steep for 5 minutes, then drain and refresh under cold running water while shaking the sieve.  Add to salad in bowl, add chicken and combine.  Pour reserved marinade over the top, and top with peanuts.