{Salad days} Viet-Russian Potato Salad & Chicken cabbage salad with tamarind dressing


Did I tell you my discovery this summer? Salad! Yeap, the simple, humble salads. I used to dislike salads.

Growing up in Vietnamese food culture, I was spoiled with the choices of veggies for meals. But most of the veggies are cooked, and we just did not embrace salad much.

 This (already gone, technically) summer, I made a switch and developed a “thing” for main meal salads. Initially, the effort was to get 5 serves of vegetables in my diet. Since then, I have developed a love for the refreshing and light flavours and texture of different kinds of salad. My favourites are chickpeas and cabbage coleslaw, wrapped with a warm tortilla for lunch. It is delicious and filling without making me feel sleepy after lunch.


 Gardening, too, has made me appreciate vegetables even more. Home-grown tomatoes, oh my god. How sweet, juicy and pretty are they? My summer staple has been quinoa, toasted bread cubes and chopped tomato salad. We have enjoyed it almost every summer lunch.

 Unfortunately, main meal salads are still a no go at our family dinner table. It must come from habits. But certain someone regards fresh vegetables as raw and dull *sigh*. (This comes from a household when even lettuce is cooked to dead!!) I have sneaked in salad here or there though. Tomato salad with pasta, burghul salad with grilled meat, zucchini “carpaccio” … It is getting there, somewhere. I just hope vegetables will get more love as time goes by.

 So, here they are. My two favourite salads. The first one is a crowd pleaser, a creamy potato salad. I’ve sneaked in some blanched broccoli for good measure. The second one, chicken cabbage salad with tamarind dressing, is my staple. I love the natural sweetness and tartness of tamarind here. A departure from the much loved Vietnamese cabbage chicken salad (goi ga), but in a good way.

Potato & broccoli salad. For our summer dinner

Viet-Russian Potato Salad 
 Salad Nga (Russian salad), as we call it in Vietnam. This is a favourite when I grew up. You won’t find a party without it. I’ve change the recipe a bit, adding broccoli and edible petals from my garden. Light, creamy, tasty and inspiring
5 large potatoes (I used a creamy flesh variety) 
5 small gherkins, finely diced 
Kernels from a corn cob, lightly boiled 
½ red capsicum, de-seeded and diced finely 
4 tablespoon mayonnaise (low-fat works fine)
 4 tablespoon sour cream (low-fat works fine) 
½ teaspoon salt 
½ teaspoon paprika 
 100g brocolli, cut into florets, blanched 
(optional) 60g of Vietnamese style meat loaf, diced 
 Peel the potato and boil them in salted water until soft. Drain and mash. 
 Combine the mashed potatoes with cooked corn kernels, diced gherkins, diced Vietnamese meat loaf (optional), mayonnaise and sour cream, salt and paprika. Adjust seasoning to your taste. 
Mount the potato mixture onto a serving plate. Decorate with blanched broccoli and edible petals if you have any. 


 Chicken, cabbage and pear salad with tamarind dressing 
 I ate this for lunch very often. They make great filling for rice paper rolls, too. 
 Ingredients (serve 2-3) 
¼ small purple cabbage 
1 pear 
60g sesame seeds, toasted lightly 
100g cooked chicken breast, shredded 
 Tamarind dressing 
2 tablespoon tamarind paste (found in Asian shops) 
4 tablespoons warm chicken broth or water 
2 tablespoons olive oil 
2 teaspoon honey grain mustard 
1-2 teaspoons raw sugar 
2tsp salt 
 Herbs – chopped coriander, parsley etc. 
 Clean the cabbage, and shred finely. Slice the pear (peel the skin beforehand if it bothers you). 
Make the dressing by combining all the ingredients together. Whisk to combine. Taste to see if it needs adjustment. 
 Toss the cabbage, chicken and pear with the dressing mixture. Just before serving, mix in the herbs and toasted sesame seeds.

48 Responses to {Salad days} Viet-Russian Potato Salad & Chicken cabbage salad with tamarind dressing

  1. Johanna GGG says:

    I sympathise – I love main meal salads more than E. Potato salads are particularly good for a quick meal – my neighbour gave me some old potatoes recently that made lovely potato salads. But my favourite this year has been one with potato, corn, kidney beans, capsicum and a smoky vinaigrette! I love your addition of broccoli and am interested in the pear in the chicken salad – just the weather

  2. Tina @ bitemeshowme says:

    You put the salad together so nicely that it looks to pretty to break up! haha

  3. kankana says:

    both the salad looks so vibrant and seriously yummy! Love the idea of tamarind dressing.

  4. PickYin says:

    I love certain type of salads, especially Thai ones with chilies and raw mango/papaya. We never go through the produce quick enough to economically make them at home though.

  5. Rosa's Yummy Yums says:

    Two wonderful salad! I'd love to taste both of them.

  6. Nami | Just One Cookbook says:

    I want to try your chicken, cabbage and pear salad with tamarind dressing! Tamarind dressing sounds so good!! I've heard Japanese potato salad is similar to Russian potato salad. Both salads look so beautiful and delicious Anh! Pinned!

  7. Jennifer (Delicieux) says:

    I've never really been a salad person either, but this year I've slowly started getting into salads. That Russian potato salad sounds really interesting. I've never heard of it before. Do you serve it hot or cold?

  8. Hannah says:

    Oh my gosh, I've never heard of a cold mashed potato salad! Fabulous!

  9. Yuri says:

    Anh, I love your creative salad! Gorgeous pictures and descriptions make my stomach make sounds!!

  10. lacaffettierarosa says:

    My partner would eat nothing but salad, if left on his own. I guess it never was a challenge for us to make a main meal of it. Many of the salads I prepare do surprise guests though, because they just don't expect them to be tasty and interesting! I'll add those two to my rotation, they look beautiful.

  11. Angie's Recipes says:

    I always love salads! And this would definitely make my lunch!

  12. Sylvie @ Gourmande in the Kitchen says:

    The cabbage salad with tamarind dressing is intriguing, I'm not very familiar with tamarind and would love to know what it tastes like in a salad like this.

  13. Winston says:

    Delicious!! I think I'm the same with you too, Anh. Growing up I've only had my veggies cooked and no other way. So, it did take a bit of time for me to warm up to the ideas of salads but I've fully embraced it now! Right now, I love tasting the different varieties of salads (there's so many!). So, if they're good enough for you, I'm sure they're more than good enough

  14. Deeps @ Naughty Curry says:

    looks absolutely delecious, and this coming from someone who is not a big salad lover. u grow ur own veggies? oh how i envy u! :)

  15. Paaka Shaale says:

    Oh i just loved the cabbage salad. The colour is so tempting :)

  16. Cocoa and Lavender says:

    Anh – these both sound so good! I especially cannot wait to try the cabbage salad with the tamarind dressing. I love just about anything with tamarind! And, as always, your photos are beautiful! ~ David

  17. sliceofmylyfe says:

    The salad looks too beautiful to eat. Gorgeous colours

  18. Gourmet Secrets says:

    Wow what a great post.I am impressed at here.can you more share with me.I have many ideas for you.I will come back as soon.

  19. El says:

    They both look delicious. I can't wait too try them!

  20. Nic@diningwithastud says:

    What beautiful salads :)

  21. tania@mykitchenstories says:

    It is very annoying when you just want to eat certain things and you can't. I love all salads and would have them every night of the week summer or winter!

  22. SavoringTime in the Kitchen says:

    I love salads during warm weather and both of these look delicious! Soon it will be our turn for warm weather 😉

  23. Ambika says:

    Love the bright green broccoli in the potato salad. And tamarind dressing?? Sounds very interesting!! Would love to use that dressing in my salads..

  24. Kiran @ KiranTarun.com says:

    I love salads, and both looks sumptuous!! Great idea with tamarind dressing — such wonderful flavors :)

  25. The Café Sucré Farine says:

    Beautiful! I'm making this pear/tamarind salad today! I think I have all the ingredients except the cabbage so I"ll be running to the market for purple cabbage – can't wait!

  26. erin @ yummy supper says:

    Anh, Your salads look lovely. I am especially interested in your tamarind dressing. I never use tamarind at home and I think I need too. I also love your use of cabbage and pears together.

  27. WokandSpoon says:

    Veggies tend to be cooked in our house too. I stir fry lettuce with garlic and soya sauce! Lovely salads.

  28. Little Corner of Mine says:

    Wonderful salads! I have no problem eating salad out side but I don't make it at home, except for the yearly raw fish salad that I made for the Chinese New Year. 😛

  29. Sarah (Snippets of Thyme) says:

    Beautiful salads. I like the one with the chicken and pears with cabbage. My daughter wants me to make more salads and I never seem to do anything different or unique with ours. Thank you for the ideas.

  30. chinmayie @ love food eat says:

    I too started enjoying salads only recently. I am still very picky about what salads i like though…

  31. Food For Tots says:

    Both salads look so eye pleasing and refreshing! I must eat more salad too.

  32. Dolly says:

    Nice presentation, i;ve never heard of this salad before.

  33. Shulie says:

    Love the flavors and colors in these recipe Anh. Seems like you put on your twitter cutting back time to a good use. I would never think of a Viet-Russian fusion!

  34. Anna @ The Littlest Anchovy says:

    Beautiful salads Anh! I am in a big salad mood these days myself. LOVE the look of the chicken, cabbage and pear salad in particular.

  35. Cakebrain says:

    i almost forgot! you're coming out of summer…and we're coming out of winter! :) well, now it's about time that we're getting into the salads too! lovely colours and i'm sure it tastes so good!

  36. Russell at Chasing Delicious says:

    Gorgeous dishes! I love the colors in both. Yum.

  37. nancy at good food matters says:

    Both of your favorite salads look beautiful and delicious. The chicken-cabbage-pear especially appeals to me for its creativity, and brilliant color.

  38. Agnes says:

    Lovely! I've developed a real love for vegetables in the past several months too. :)

  39. Katia says:

    Both salads look so good and vibrant, and your pictures are great!

  40. Sukaina says:

    I love tamarind and thinks it's a great salad dressing!We like to have our with a cabbage and carrot slaw!I'm envious of your green thumb!

  41. Amy (Savory Moments) says:

    Both of these are so creative and look really colorful and inviting to eat!

  42. Jo says:

    Gorgeous pictures and the purple cabage really stands out!

  43. Grandma Kat says:

    This sounds like a winner to me! I'm excited to give it a try later today or tomorrow for me and my hubby.

  44. Pavithra Elangovan says:

    Awesome pictures ! Both cabbage and the broccoli are really beautiful.. Brilliant post.

  45. Biren @ Roti n Rice says:

    Both salads look vibrant and full of flavor. We do a lot of stir fries at home but I try to incorporate salads into the meal when we grill meats in the summer. You are so right about home grown tomatoes. They are just the best!

  46. maryjoe says:

    Chicken cabbage salad with tamarind dressing seems to be lovely and yummy…These pictures grab ma mind,i may opt

  47. Ola says:

    Both look very tasty!

  48. ginger and scotch says:

    i am intrigued by the Viet-Russian salad – what makes it Russian?

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