Vietnamese food is more than just Pho (rice noodle soup). There are many dishes that are healthy if you choose the right ingredients and cooking method. My dad's side of the family is vietnamese and growing up the chicken noodle salad has been my favorite dish. Traditionally people use fish to make the sauce and that's the version we'll be making today. If you dislike the fishy taste and smell you can substitute it with soy sauce.
For the Dressing
3 serrano peppers
4 cloves garlic
2 tablespoons rice vinegar
2 tablespoons brown sugar
4 tablespoons fish sauce
6 tablespoons lime juice
6 tablespoons vegetable oil
For the Salad
1 lb. boneless skinless chicken breasts
6 ounces rice noodles
4 large carrots, peeled
8-10 full leaves of green cabbageone large handful of each -- cilantro leaves, mint leaves, and green onions
1. DRESSING: Thinly slice the serranos and set aside. Pulse all the remaining dressing ingredients in a food processor until smooth. Stir in the sliced serranos.
2. CHICKEN: Bring a large pot of water to boil over high heat. When the water reaches a rolling boil, add the chicken breasts, turn heat off, and cover with a tight-fitting lid. Let the chicken cook for 25-30 minutes - while it's cooking, you can prep the other ingredients. Remove from water, let cool slightly, and shred with two forks. Pour a small amount of the prepared dressing on the chicken to give it flavor and set aside or refrigerate until ready to use.
3. NOODLES: Soak the rice noodles in a large bowl of cold water for 15 minutes or until softened. Heat a small amount of the dressing in a large skillet over medium high heat. Add the drained noodles and stir-fry for 5 minutes (I found it helpful to grab the handle and give the pan a good shake every 30 seconds or so). Cut through the noodles with a kitchen scissors if you want them to be shorter and easier to eat.
4. VEGETABLES: Cut the carrots into pieces and pulse in a food processor for 10-15 seconds until finely chopped. Shred the cabbage. Mince the cilantro, mint, and green onions.
5. ASSEMBLY: Toss the chicken, noodles, vegetables, and remaining dressing (to taste) together. Serve immediately.