You could poach a chicken yourself, but I like the fact that some of the work is already done for you. A lovely white flaky fish would also work well in place of the chicken.
To make this a cracking vegetarian salad, replace the meat and seafood with some daikon radish, Chinese celery and cucumber and use tamari instead of fish sauce for the dressing.
1 small roasted or barbecued free-range chicken, organic if possible
6 cooked large king prawns, peeled and deveined
1 carrot, julienned
200g shredded cabbage
1 small red onion, cut into thin rings
40g fragrant mixed herbs, such as Vietnamese mint, mint and coriander
1½ tablespoons crispy fried shallots, plus 2 teaspoons to serve
1½ tablespoons crushed roasted unsalted peanuts, plus 2 teaspoons to serve
Nuoc cham dressing
2 long fresh red chillies, finely chopped
1 garlic clove, finely chopped
1 tablespoon caster (superfine) sugar
60ml fish sauce
2 tablespoons rice vinegar
2 tablespoons lime juice
To make the dressing, pound the chillies, garlic and sugar in a mortar with a pestle. Add the fish sauce, rice vinegar and 60ml water and stir to dissolve the sugar. Set aside for about 15 minutes for the flavours to mingle. Stir in the lime juice and taste to check the balance of flavours.
Pull the chicken meat off the bones, tear it into bite-sized pieces and add it to a large bowl. Cut the prawns in half lengthways and add them to the bowl.
Add the carrot, cabbage, onion, herbs, fried shallots and peanuts to the bowl. Pour the dressing over the salad, mix well and transfer to a large serving bowl. Serve immediately, garnished with the extra fried shallots and peanuts.