What a nice Saturday morning! For once there is not a cloud in the sky. I hear a little bird chirping, it almost feels like spring truly is on her way. The frozen left over snow isn’t even bothering me!
Bonaparte still has his cold and the prep work for our dinner has already been started. Tonight, I’m making my version of Vietnamese Lemongrass Chicken. My friend and ex-coworker, Nam, gave me a basic recipe a while back, and I’ve added and improvised to fit our tastes! I’ve written the recipe down for you in the best way that I could. It’s funny-when I’m cooking a meal, I’ll follow exact instructions the first time I make it—then I’ll play with it from then on. Luckily Bonaparte and I both like our spicy food “spicy”! Just like us–woo woo!
I also want to say that sometimes lemongrass can be difficult to find. I’ve been lucky in finding it at Wegman’s. I’ve been even luckier to have another ex-coworker give me some from his garden.
Lemongrass stalks–they can be difficult at times to track down!
What I did find was a “condensed” version of lemongrass in a squeezable tube. I use it when I cannot find the real deal.
This is a GREAT alternative to the actual stalks of lemongrass.
Now, listen to me on this. Please. Real lemongrass is very fibrous, and is difficult to cut thinly. It is used for flavor because it is extremely aromatic—and it gives a lovely, lovely taste to the dish you are making—so my advice is this: If you see a recipe that calls for lemongrass, hunt that stuff out because it is needed. However, if you can find the squeeze tube of lemongrass, purchase it! You still get that great aromatic flavor without the fibrous feel and texture of the stalks.
Here’s my recipe:
Ingreeds: 1 pound of boneless, skinless chicken thighs and 1 pound of boneless, skinless chicken breasts. 2 ounces fish sauce. 2 ounces Chicken Stock. 1/2 teaspoon of sugar. 2 ounces Grapeseed oil. 1 red onion, peeled and cut into larger pieces. 1 glove of elephant garlic, peeled. Lemongrass (either the tube or 2 stalks of lemongrass 1 stalk minced and the other stalk cut thinly on the diagonal for garnish). 4 or 5 serrano peppers, sliced-3 for the marinade and the rest for garnish. 2 ounces of Sake or other rice wine. 2 tablespoons of fermented red pepper paste (can be found in the Asian aisle of supermarkets). 1/2 cup of Coconut milk (you can use the lite kind if you want)2 green onions, sliced and cut on the diagonal. 2 tablespoons roasted, salted peanuts, chopped for the garnish.
It may look like a lot of ingredients, but after the initial purchase, you’ll have these on hand for future use. It’s all good!
For the most part, I cut the fat off the chicken, but I leave some on–a little is good for flavor!
NOTE: I realize this looks like a ton of ingredients, but you will have them for a long time—so it’s good for future cooking purposes. Also, if you chopping skills are garbage like mine are kitchen shears are the way to go. I swear to you, I use shears for cutting meat, and the green onion and so many things. Just wanted to share that with youJ
- First make the marinade. Get a large bowl. Into the bowl, measure out the fish sauce, stock, oil, fermented pepper paste, a good squeeze of the tube of lemongrass—or one stalk of the minced lemon grass, the sake, the sliced serranos, the green onion (set aside a few slices for garnish) and sugar. Whisk together and put it aside.
OK—next make a paste out of the peeled clove of elephant garlic (As I’ve stated yesterday, I like elephant garlic because it’s milder). Cut the clove lengthwise in half and discard that middle stem. Continue cutting the garlic and place it in a mortar of a mortar and pestle set. (If you don’t have a mortar and pestle you can make a paste by chopping and pounding down with the blade of a knife). Sprinkle a bit of salt to speed of the making of the paste. Add the paste to the marinade mix and incorporate by additional whisking.
Cut the chicken on about 2 to 3 inch chunks and add to the marinade.
Cover with plastic wrap and place in the fridge for at least 2 hours.
ANOTHER NOTE: See this “Stretch-tite” plastic wrap? I purchased it at Wegman’s on a whim. It was $2.89 for 250 feet. I’m so disappointed in “Glad Wrap” it doesn’t cling! Anyway, this “Stretch-tite” brand is amazing!!! The “cling” is greatness and it sticks solid. I’m sold on this stuff! Just wanted to share!
While the prep work is being done, take the red onion, peel it, cut it into big pieces and put it in a Ziploc bag and place in the fridge—this way you’ll have less work to do later!
Cooking time! Pour a tablespoon of grapeseed oil into a Dutch oven and sweat the red onion.
When the onion is transparent, take the chicken from the marinade and brown the chicken.
DON’T THROW THE MARINADE OUT! After the chicken browns, add the marinade. Add the Coconut milk and cook for about a half hour on a low heat. If you want, you can add more pepper past to taste or play around with the recipe.
Serve on a platter, spoon some of the sauce over the chicken, and put the rest of the sauce in a gravy boat. Top with chopped peanuts, the remainder of the green onion, lemongrass and sliced peppers. Serve with Jasmine rice on the side.
Jasmine rice–yum. So aromatic!
I will post a picture of the completed dish tomorrow. The food is cooking now and we will be eating later on this evening. The good thing is that you can make this ahead of time and reheat before serving!
Remember the bookcase we purchased for the family room? Well, we purchased its twin! I put a deposit on it during the week. We went to Vintage Home and paid the remaining balance earlier this afternoon. The moving company we use will be delivering it next week! I’m so excited!
We watched the first two episode of House of Cards last night. It’s somewhat slow but hopefully the pace will get faster!
….and speaking of
Spacey spicy, I’ve used so many hot peppers this weekend that…..I can only give you a song by…..the………………Red Hot Chili Peppers! (One of the greatest American bands of all time!) XOXOXOXO!
I gave my recipe away—Give it Away!