I’m not at home right now–YAY for European travel!–but I’m quite certain it’s hot at home. And July in Virginia is not the good kind of hot. It’s not a dry heat, particularly where I live. It’s muggy and soupy, and walking around outside feels like WADING. It’s purely gross, and the only antidote, besides scads of liquids and the gentle blessing of air conditioning, is cold food.
I’ve been making Nigella’s Vietnamese Chicken and Mint Salad for years. It’s dead easy; it gets better the longer it sits, and it’s happy to lie around in the fridge waiting to be picked at with a fork when you’re too tired to actually EAT. I have added a few tweaks:
*I don’t make this with fish sauce because to my taste, that is an abomination. I LOATHE fish sauce. A little extra soy will give it the salty boost it needs.
*A touch of heat is a lovely thing. A touch of heat with some vinegary sharpness is DIVINE. In spite of the chili already called for, this one cries out for some sriracha. You could also do fresh jalapeno if you’re very hardcore.
*Buy pre-roasted chicken from your grocer’s deli. No point in heating up your own kitchen and you absolutely cannot tell the difference.
*Buy pre-shredded cabbage. Because sometimes it’s just too hot to pick up a knife.
*I sub a few green onions for the medium onion called for. I like them better in this salad. If I were going for a proper, grown-up onion, I’d choose red and marinate the slices in bit of the lime juice first to knock back the bite.
*Yes, you really do need that much mint. If you’re utterly opposed to mint, I’d go with cilantro.