Global Cuisine

Make It Fresh: Burmese Chicken Salad

If you know anything about Portland, you know it has killer cuisine from all walks of life. From food trucks to brick-and-mortar joints (also known as restaurants), this city is crazy about cuisine. Award-winning food writer and recipe developer Danielle Centoni has a new book of recipes from Stumptown that will rejuvenate your culinary repertoire and inspire you to book a flight ASAP. This Burmese chicken salad is a fresh, crunchy take on a lunchtime favorite. 

Every bite of this vibrant salad bursts with bright, herbaceous flavors. In fact, you might never want to make the usual mayonnaise-based chicken salad ever again. The oil from the fried shallots is used in the dressing, but you’ll have some left over. Do as the Burmese do and save the flavorful oil to use in other dishes, like stir-fries, or drizzle it as a finishing oil. Or you can cheat and buy a tub of fried shallots at the Asian market.

Reprinted with permission from Portland Cooks

Make It Fresh: Burmese Chicken Salad

  • Prep Time: 25 minutes plus cooling time
  • Cook Time: 25 minutes
  • Level of Difficulty: Easy
  • Serving Size: 4

Ingredients

Fried Shallots
  • 1/2 cup canola oil
  • 3 large shallots, thinly sliced
Chicken
  • 1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 1 clove garlic, smashed
  • 1 carrot, cut into chunks
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 teaspoon whole black peppercorns
  • 1 cup white wine
Salad
  • 1 large shallot, thinly sliced
  • juice of 2 limes
  • 1 tablespoon fish sauce (The Solo Club uses Red Boat brand)
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 to 1 Thai red chili, seeded and finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup coarsely chopped fresh mint leaves
  • 1/2 cup coarsely chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1/4 cup coarsely chopped fresh Thai basil
  • 1/3 cup finely chopped roasted peanuts

Directions

For the shallots
  1. Heat canola oil in a saucepan over medium heat. Add the shallots and fry for 10 minutes, until crisp and browned. Remove with a slotted spoon and transfer to paper towels to drain the excess oil. Season with salt.

  2. Strain the oil through a fine-mesh strainer to remove any particles, and set both the fried shallots and the shallot oil aside.

For the chicken
  1. Set chicken in an even layer in the bottom of a large saucepan. Add the garlic, carrot, bay leaf, peppercorns, and white wine. Add enough cold water to cover by 1 inch. Bring to a simmer over medium-high heat, reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and cook for 10 to 15 minutes, or until cooked through and temperature reads 160°F on a meat thermometer. Remove from heat and allow to cool in the liquid before cutting or tearing into bite-size chunks.

For the salad
  1. Place sliced shallots in a bowl and cover with cold water. Allow to soak for 10 minutes (this makes them fresh and crunchy with a less stringent flavor).

  2. In a large bowl, whisk together lime juice, fish sauce, salt, 2 tablespoons of the reserved shallot oil, and chopped chile. Add cooked chicken and soaked shallots, tossing to coat. Allow to stand for 10 minutes. Taste and add more shallot oil or lime juice if desired. Add mint, cilantro, Thai basil, peanuts, and fried shallots. Toss to combine. Divide among plates and serve.