Thursday, April 16, 2015

Thit Ga Bop Rau Ram- Hue Chicken Salad

A love story, or why did the chicken cross the road? Hmmm, sometimes, the road finds us.  A lovely woman came back into my life, and when she brings you a chicken, make chicken salad! If it slaps you into tomorrow, hang on and marry her!

I have spent more than half my life in a kitchen, so when An and I began dating, I figured I could woo her with dinner (or lose her, pending my cooking skills!) With a little luck, I was able to steal her heart! Eventually, she chose a special night to cook.  Her mother taught her this dish, and I was hooked.  

I have eaten many Vietnamese chicken salads, but the herbs and zesty onion make this my favorite.  I am not including any measurements as it is all to taste.  I prefer a huge amount of herbs and lime juice.  You can add other garnishes also, including thinly sliced chiles, fried onions, or cracked black pepper.  I add all of the above.  

When I make this, it is not as good as hers, but then again the student rarely passes the teacher.

1 Whole Chicken, rinsed and rubbed with lemon
Red Onion, thinly sliced
Green Onion, thinly sliced
Rice Vinegar
Rau Ram
Roasted Peanuts

In a large pot of boiling water, add ginger, peppercorns, and garlic with the chicken.  Poach for about 30 minutes until cooked through.  While the chicken is cooking, toss the onions with a small amount of rice wine vinegar.  Remove the chicken and let it cool.  Strain the liquids and chill quickly.  Save this for a nice light chicken stock.

When the chicken has cooled, remove the skin and shred.  Then continue shredding the meat.  When all the meat has been picked, toss some of it with the onions and skin.  Add some herbs and nuoc cham.  Continue the process until you have a nice salad.  Garnish with peanuts, lime juice and more nuoc cham.

While eating or cooking, we love music.  Sometimes it appears that our life revolves around music and concerts.  We scan the national tours hoping to find the next groups to visit New Orleans, also looking forward to the upcoming festivals trying to relive our youth through music!  

We enjoy debating on which song or band rules certain genres or decades.  Power ballads are a favorite topic, and the discussion never ends.  So in honor of the John Cusack movie High Fidelity, I will make a list of my top five power ballads in order of greatness.  An will disagree, but that will only lead to a grand discussion about Sebastian Bach's greatness or the vocal ability of Klaus Meine!

Top Five Power Ballad's

1) Home Sweet Home- Motley Crue
2) I Remember You- Skid Row
3) Still Loving You- The Scorpions
4) November Rain- Guns N Roses
5) Don't Know What You Got Til Its Gone- Cinderella

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