• 6 garlic cloves, peeled and sliced
  • 1 large shallot, roughly chopped
  • 1 tbsp minced fresh root ginger
  • 2 tsp maple syrup
  • 4 tbsp dark soy sauce
  • 4 tbsp Thai fish sauce (nampla)
  • ½ tsp Chinese five-spice powder
  • 8 skinless chicken fillets
  • 1 tbsp rapeseed oil
  • 100g (4oz) green beans, trimmed and sliced into 2cm (1in) lengths
  • 275g (10oz) mixed baby salad leaves
  • 225g (8oz) cherry plum tomatoes,
  • halved or quartered
  • 1 small red pepper, halved, seeded and diced
  • 1 large carrot, julienned into fine shreds


  • juice of 1 lime
  • 2 tbsp extra virgin rapeseed oil
  • sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

Neven's Crunchy Vietnamese Chicken Salad


  1. To make the marinade, place the garlic in a mini blender or pestle and mortar along with the shallot, ginger and maple syrup, then work to a paste.
  2. Transfer to a small bowl and whisk in the soy sauce, Thai fish sauce, five spice powder and several grinds of pepper.
  3. Arrange the chicken thighs in a shallow, non-metallic dish and pour over the marinade, turning until well coated. Cover and chill for at least 2 hours or overnight is best. Bring back to room temperature before cooking and wipe off any excess marinade with kitchen paper. Reserve any remaining marinade.
  4. Heat a large frying pan over a medium heat. Pour in the rapeseed oil, then add the chicken thighs, skin side down.
  5. Cook for 20–30 minutes, until the skin is golden and crispy. Don’t be tempted to touch them while they are cooking or shake the pan occasionally – just leave them alone and you will produce the most fantastic crisp skin and succulent flesh.
  6. If you think that they are starting to catch and burn a little around the edges, add a couple tablespoons of the reserved marinade. When you can see that they are nicely browned and that the flesh is almost but not quite cooked through, turn them over and cook for another 5–6 minutes, until completely cooked through and tender.
  7. Remove from the heat and leave to rest in a warm place for 5 minutes.