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"To eat well in England you should have breakfast three times a day."

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Entries in llime (1)


Mum's Vietnamese Chicken Salad

To call this ‘Mum’s Vietnamese salad’ is slightly misleading because (a) she isn’t Vietnamese and (b) she acquired the recipe from a friend called Jane many years ago. However, it has become a family favourite, which has morphed and evolved over the years, each of us adding our own details. And what makes a recipe your own, if not refining an old favourite to suit your tastes? Surely this is how all the best home recipes have been developed.

When I asked Mum to remind me of the recipe a few years back, I was surprised that she said she puts coriander in it. I once did that many years ago much to the distaste of my younger sister. She’d said she preferred it without and, being an annoying older sister, I decided to put it in anyway to see if she could tell. Of course she could, it's such a distinctive flavour. Now that I am much older, I can admit that she was right. It is more subtle and refined with just mint and that has become my preference.

My main addition to Mum’s recipe is that I have started pickling the onions rather than adding them fresh. I got the idea from Uyen Luu, who has a similar recipe in her cookbook, My Vietnamese Kitchen. I think it lifts the dish and makes it something really special.

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