Vietnamese Chicken Rice with Ginger Fish Sauce

Vietnamese Chicken Rice with Ginger Fish Sauce Recipe

If you're Vietnamese, you probably heard your mom telling you when you were a child not to waste food because it's "tội chết" (dreadfully sinful). Yesterday, I made gà muối ớt (salt and chile chicken) and there was no way I would toss the precious, flavorful chicken broth. So what to do with all the leftover broth? I made chicken rice with it.

The preparation is similar to making basmati rice, with the main difference being that jasmine rice is used. Jasmine rice is a lot trickier to cook though, because the rice will get mushy very quickly if you don’t keep an eye on it. 

I served the rice with nước mắm gừng, which is ginger-flavored fish sauce. I wanted to make the flavors more intense so I used pure sugar cane juice instead of regular water. This dipping sauce is so good, I could drink it all by itself!

Ingredients

Yields: 8 servings

6-¼ cups leftover Vietnamese chicken broth , as needed
3 cups Thai jasmine rice
1 tablespoon canola oil (or any neutral oil)
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1-½ teaspoons mushroom seasoning salt (or regular salt)
1 drizzle toasted sesame oil (optional)


Directions

Wash and rinse the jasmine rice thoroughly in several water baths. Unlike basmati rice, no soaking time is needed. Drain as much water as possible.

Fill a large pot with about 4 quarts of water. Bring to a boil. Add the rice. Bring the liquid back to a boil, then immediately lower the heat to a gentle boil. Cook for about 2 minutes. Drain the liquid from the rice (to get rid of the starch from the rice) using a fine mesh colander. Do NOT rinse. Discard the liquid.

Add 6 cups of chicken broth. Bring to a boil. Wait for the broth to come back to a boil , then let cook for about 2-3 minutes; place 2 long chopsticks across the pot and place the lid on top (letting a little steam out keeps the rice from boiling over, without letting all the liquid evaporate too quickly). Lower the heat to a bubbly simmer for about 8-10 minutes. Using chopsticks, create 3 evenly-spaced holes (forming a triangle) in the pot of rice and drizzle about ¼ to ½ cup of chicken broth into the rice. Place little mounds of butter all over the rice. Sprinkle with mushroom seasoning salt.

Seal the pot with an aluminum sheet and cover it. Cook on medium-low for another 10 minutes. Steam should escape from the pot. Turn off the heat and wait at least 5 minutes for the rice to set without removing the lid. All the chicken broth should be completely absorbed. Check doneness of the rice; the rice should be tender and fluffy. If not, add another ¼ to ½ cup of water or more broth (I didn't) and cook for another 5 minutes.

Gently fluff the rice using chopsticks (or a fork) without breaking the grains of rice. Cover one more time and allow to rest for another 5 minutes. The rice is ready.

Drizzle with sesame oil (if used).

Serve warm. You could also garnish with sautéed chopped green onions and serve nước mắm gừng on the side (recipe follows).

Bon appétit!


Tips

Mushroom seasoning salt brings a very distinct, earthy flavor to the rice. If you don't have any, you can always substitute regular salt. You can get mushroom seasoning salt at any gourmet specialty store or in most Korean stores. I find mine at the Marina -10122 Bandley Drive -Cupertino, CA 95014.

I buy the Ba Cô Gái (Three Ladies) brand of jasmine rice. I love the wonderful scent and texture of the rice. You can find it in most Asian stores in the Bay Area. Try Dai Thanh Asian market on 420 S 2nd Street, San Jose.

If you don't use US measures, 3 cups of jasmine rice equal 4 lon gạo (Vietnamese standard rice cup measurement).

You can find nước mắm (Vietnamese fish sauce) in any Asian market or in most grocery stores.

How to make nước mắm gừng: Bring 6 tablespoons fresh sugar cane juice (or regular water) to a near-boil. Dissolve 2 tablespoons of grated palm sugar. Let the liquid cool to room temperature. Add the juice of 2 limes, 1 cloves of finely minced garlic (or pickled garlic for a milder flavor), 1 tablespoon freshly grated ginger and 1 finely chopped red Thai chile (to taste). Let all the flavors combine for at least 30 minutes. If you like, strain through a fine mesh. Finish with ¼ cup fish sauce. Voilà!

Published By: Jacqueline Pham on June 22, 2011.


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