10410254_719650198104266_4796990061823501542_nA Vietnamese dish full of vibrant, punchy flavours that are lifted and brightened by the onion pickle.

Serves 2–3
3 chicken thighs, skin on and bone in
1 chicken stock cube
200g basmati rice
1 knob of butter
1 garlic clove, finely chopped
10 hot mint sprigs (or Thai sweet basil), chopped
A small handful of coriander, stalk on, chopped
A pinch of black pepper

For the onion pickle
1 red onion, thinly sliced
3 tbsp cider vinegar 
1 tbsp sugar
A pinch of sea salt
A pinch of black pepper

For the dipping sauce
2 tbsp fish sauce
2 tsp sugar
2cm piece of fresh ginger, finely chopped
1 bird’s eye chilli, finely chopped
1 garlic clove, finely chopped
1 tbsp cider vinegar

Chicken salad with onion pickle

1 First, make the pickle. Reserve one fifth of the onion, then combine the rest with the other ingredients and leave for at least 1 hour.

2 Next prepare the salad. Put 1.2 litres cold water and the chicken thighs in a saucepan over a medium heat and cover. Bring to the boil, then skim the froth from the surface. Add the stock and cook for 25–30 minutes (20 minutes into cooking, extract some stock – see step 3).

3 Wash and drain the rice. Finely chop the reserved onion. Melt the butter in a saucepan over a low heat and fry the onion and garlic. Add the rice, then stir until coated. After the chicken has been poaching for 20 minutes, decant 350ml of the stock and add it to the rice with a pinch of salt. Cover, then raise the heat to medium; this technique will cook the rice beautifully by steaming it. When the liquid comes to the boil, turn down the heat to low and cook for 15–20 minutes, stirring occasionally.

4 Next mix all the dipping sauce ingredients in a bowl with 2 tbsp of the poaching stock.

5 When the chicken has finished poaching, remove it from the pan and let it rest for 10 minutes while the rice is still cooking. Reserve the leftover stock for another time – allow it to cool completely, then refrigerate or freeze it.

6 Shred the chicken from the bones. Discard the skin. Mix the meat with the onion pickle (discarding the juices), mint, coriander and pepper. Serve at room temperature with the rice and dipping sauce.

Uyen Luu, My Vietnamese Kitchen (Ryland Peters & Small)