Vietnamese Ginger Chicken Recipe
In the past, when a recipe called for nước mắm, I would always find a substitute. Fish sauce can have such a strong aroma, but since my cousin Aline told me about a new pure, first press fish sauce, I've become obsessed and have been cooking a lot of dishes with it.
I realize I already posted a ginger chicken recipe ("gà kho gừng" in Vietnamese), but I've adjusted the chicken recipe so that the fish sauce becomes the highlight of the dish. No salt or caramel (sweetener) are needed and very little chile as well. The natural amber color from the fish sauce with julienned ginger and curry powder (mostly turmeric) make a flavorful and appealing dish.
Gà kho gừng is a simple and easy dish. No marinating time is needed. Good quality products are the only requirement and of course, a dash of your love and soul. I guarantee it always makes the meal tastes better!
Yields: 6 servings1-½ pounds chicken thighs (see tips), chopped in small pieces
2 lemons, freshly squeezed
4 tablespoons canola oil (or any neutral oil)
1 (3-inch) chunk fresh ginger, peeled and finely shredded
2 cloves garlic, crushed and finely minced
3 tablespoons fish sauce, to taste
1 red Thai bird chile
3/4 teaspoon curry powder
½ teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon sesame oil (optional)
Prepping the chile: Using a paring knife, create a deep incision in the red Thai chile. For less heat, remove the seeds (don't forget to wear disposable gloves). Cut it in half on the bias. Set aside.
Prepping the chicken: Wash the chicken and drizzle with lemon juice. Pat dry using paper towels. There should be as little moisture as possible. Season the chicken with a little black pepper. Drizzle with about 1 tablespoon of oil.
Use a wok with its matching lid. Add 2 tablespoons of canola oil. Once the oil is hot, add the garlic and 2 tablespoons of shredded ginger and cook for 1-2 minutes until fragrant. Add the pieces of chicken. Sear the meat for 2-3 minutes on both sides. Add the red chile and cook for an additional minute.
Season with 2 tablespoons fish sauce and the curry powder. Stir well, then cover with about 1-½ cups hot water (I use a tea kettle). The liquid should barely cover the chicken. Bring to a boil, then lower the heat to a gentle simmer. Keep stirring often until the chicken is fully cooked.
Once the liquid is almost reduced, check the doneness of the meat (add another ½ cup of water and cook a bit longer if not fully cooked). Adjust seasoning with more fish sauce. There should be caramel-colored gravy at the bottom of the pan. Add black pepper and the remaining ginger. Toss well. Cover until ready to serve.
Remove and discard the pieces of red chile if you like and drizzle with sesame oil.
Serve immediately with jasmine rice.
You could use chicken breast but I think it's not as flavorful as dark meat.
My favorite fish sauce (nước mắm) is the Red Boat Fish Sauce brand. It's very flavorful and not overly salty. You can either buy online or at certain Asian store in San Jose. I found it at Lee's Sanwich and behind locked doors (so you have to ask) at some Asian supermarkets.Published By: on March 23, 2012.