Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Lemongrass and Chili Chicken

The other night I asked An for some suggestions regarding a few chicken dishes that I was considering.  We started talking about various ideas, and eventually she said that this type of recipe was frequently used in her home as a "go-to" dinner.  Simple, flavorful, slightly exotic, and a real crowd pleaser- all the characteristics I needed!  

Remember, this is a suggested recipe and variations can be just as wonderful.  Turmeric, coconut water (in place of chicken stock), or various peppers can all change the flavor accordingly.  My version is a sweet and spicy glaze that is enhanced by the use of a homemade roasted chili paste (similar to sambal oelek).

Note- Charles Phan's Vietnamese Home Cooking has a wonderful recipe for roasted chile paste which has become a staple in our home.  I used it in this recipe, and the link to an article featuring it is listed below.  The ingredients are easily available from your local Asian market, and I use miso for the bean paste.  I add some extra red chili flakes, and the heat is perfect.   Try different peppers or more garlic!  Just enjoy it! 

Ga Xao Xa Ot- Lemongrass and Chili Chicken

2 lbs. chicken thighs, boneless, cut into 1 inch cubes 
3 tbsp fish sauce
1.5 tbsp sugar
½ piece of lemongrass, minced
1 Thai chili, minced

3 cloves garlic, minced
½ piece of lemongrass, minced
1 jalapeno, sliced thinly on a bias
1 red onion, thinly sliced
2 tbsp rice wine
1 cup chicken stock
cilantro, peanuts, rice

Marinate chicken for about 2-4 hours prior to cooking.  In a very hot pan or wok, add oil, sear chicken until lightly browned.  Add garlic and lemongrass, stir fry for a minute until toasted, then add jalapeno and onion.  Cook for another 2 minutes and deglaze with wine.  Reduce and stir in chile paste.  Coat the chicken very well and pour in the chicken stock.  Reduce until it is slightly thick.  Serve in rice bowls and sprinkle with cilantro leaves and roasted peanuts.

Below photo is simmering roasted chili paste

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