Vietnamese Chicken Salad a.k.a.Vietnamese Jicamadas recipe

The chicken:

  • 1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 2 tablespoons salt
  • 1 teaspoon whole peppercorns
  • 3 cloves garlic, lightly smashed
  • 1 tablespoon coconut aminos or homemade substitute
  • 1 tablespoon lime juice
  • a few fresh basil leaves

The vegetables:

  • 1 medium to large jicama
  • 2 medium carrots, minced
  • 4 medium radishes, minced
  • 1 small jalapeno, minced
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 2 tablespoons dry roasted cashews, finely chopped
  • 6-8 large basil leaves, finely chopped (about 2 tablespoons)
  • 10 fresh mint leaves, finely chopped (about 1 1/2 tablespoons)
  • 1 tablespoon lime juice
  • 1 tablespoon rice vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoon olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon fish sauce (optional; I like Red Boat)
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • homemade mayo


  • Brine the chicken. Place a 1-gallon zipper storage bag inside a large bowl so the bag is standing up. Pour 4 cups of water into the bag, then add 3 cloves garlic, salt, and peppercorns. Stir with your hand to dissolve the salt, then add the chicken to the bag. This will look a bit unappetizing; avert your eyes. Seal the bag and place the bowl in the refrigerator for 2 hours, then rinse the chicken well and set aside until poaching time.
  • Prep the jicama. Wash and peel the jicama, cut it  in half, then slice into 1/4-inch thick ovals. Place in a covered container and place in the fridge to chill while you prep the rest of the ingredients. (I tried slicing the jicama very thinly with my mandoline, but the eating experience was much better with the thicker slices.)
  • Poach the chicken. Place the chicken in a single layer in a large pot. Add 2 cups water, coconut aminos, 1 tablespoon lime juice, and a few basil leaves. Bring to a boil, then turn the heat way down to a gentle simmer. Cover and simmer 10 minutes, then turn off heat, allowing the chicken to relax in the covered spa bath for 15-20 minutes. When the chicken is cooked, use two forks to shred it and set aside until it’s time to assemble the Jicamadas. While the chicken is cooking…
  • Prep the relish: In a large bowl, mix the carrots, radishes, jalapeo, garlic, cashews, basil, and mint until combined. Add the lime juice, rice vinegar, oil, and fish sauce. Toss with a rubber spatula to combine. Add salt and pepper to taste, then let the relish sit at room temperature so the flavors can meld.
  • Assemble the jicamadas: Spread an jicama slice with a little bit of mayo, then sprinkle lightly with salt and black pepper. Pile shredded chicken on the jicama, then top with a few spoonfuls of the relish. Repeat, repeat, repeat. Eat with your hands, licking your fingers often.