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Cambodian-Style Chicken Salad

Nite Yun’s Nyam Sach Moan

From Noodle Soup Epiphanies
by Sarah Henry, photography by Robin Jolin


(Cambodian-style chicken salad)
This Khmer dish is served at festive occasions, such as weddings, New Year’s parties, and other celebrations. The fish sauce gives it a distinctly Cambodian flavor. Yun gives it a Northern California twist by including seasonal greens and other vegetables beyond the common cabbage.
Serves 4–6

1 chicken breast
2 cups chicken stock
2 cloves garlic, crushed
4–5 sprigs thyme

For sweet fish sauce dressing:
¼ cup fish sauce
¼ cup vinegar
¼ cup sugar
1 cup water
2 cloves garlic, thinly sliced

For salad:
½ head cabbage, shredded
2 handfuls of loose organic greens (mizuna or arugula)
2 red bell peppers, thinly sliced
1 bunch mint, leaves only
1 bunch Thai basil, leaves only
1 Persian cucumber, thinly sliced
1 bird’s eye chili, chopped
2 tablespoons crushed roasted peanuts

To poach the chicken breast, place stock, garlic, and thyme into a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Bring to a boil, add chicken, return to boil, and then reduce heat to low. Simmer, covered, for 15 minutes or until chicken is just cooked through. Turn off heat and leave chicken in liquid for 5 minutes. Remove meat from liquid and allow to cool on a plate. Then shred chicken into strips.

To make the sweet fish sauce dressing, place ingredients into a jar and stir until sugar dissolves. 

Assemble salad ingredients in a large bowl, adding shredded poached chicken and sweet fish sauce dressing to taste. Toss thoroughly. Serve topped with crushed peanuts.

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