Vietnamese Lemongrass and Chilli Chicken Recipe:
Gao xao xa ot, the Vietnamese lemongrass and chilli chicken is a street favourite recipe that makes a soulful dinner recipe.
We think of fast, fresh and simple and Vietnamese cuisine in the same gulp of air. Vietnamese after all is the Cuisine that the world raves over as being the healthiest, and thats not withe no reason. The use of freshest ingredients, aromatic herbs, minimal amount of oil, distinctive spices, excess of soy sauce, fish sauce, lemongrass, coriander, chilli, lime and with choice of veggies or meat are the characteristics of this cuisine.
The lemongrass chilli chicken, better known as ‘Gao xao xa ot’ is an aromatic chicken stir fry that’s a street favourite across central Vietnam, has taken my family’s fancy off late. I’ve already cooked this one thrice in last one week, which I guess explains precisely how awesome it is. It makes a perfect dinner when served over plain boiled rice or a spicy garlic chilli stir fried rice.
It’s not just this chicken but also the whole steamed chicken (Ga noung lu) tofu crusted in lemongrass (dau hu xa ot), fish patties in baguette (Banh mi cha ca) and their fresh salads that I have been in love with this season and luckily the food movement in Delhi leaves no dearth of places where we can grab true Asian flavours. And trust me, give it a try once and you’ll agree that Vietnamese is ‘the’ flavour for summers, fast, fresh and simple. And not without a reason I’ve put Vietnam on the top of my travel list now, are you listening Mr. H ??##??
Ingredients (Serves 2):
- 4 boneless chicken thighs, cut each into bite size pieces
- 7-8 spring onion, bulbs sliced and greens chopped
- 4 cloves of garlic, roughly chopped
- 1-2 stems of lemon grass, use the white part only, finely chopped
- 1-2 red chillies, Chinese, chopped
- 1 tsp Demerara sugar or castor sugar, or 1 tsp honey
- Springs of fresh coriander
- 2 & 1/2 tbsp Fish sauce, try real Thai
- 1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
- 2 tsp vegetable oil
- A cup of water
- ½ tsp hot paprika pwd, optional
- 1-2 green chillies, thinly sliced, optional
- 1 tsp salt, 1 tsp dry hot chilli pwd, 2 tbsp lemon juice
- Steamed rice or stir fried chilli-garlic rice
- Start of by marinating the chicken cubes in sugar, fish sauce and paprika pwd. Marinate overnight in the fridge or about 2 hrs on the shelf.
- Now prepare the chilli dressing to serve by making a mound of chilli pwd and salt and then pour the lemon juice over it and its done, keep aside.
- Now heat warm up the wok and then add oil and chopped lemongrass together in the wok. Allow to heat so that the lemongrass flavours infuse, don’t burn it will take only 30 sec aprox. Then add chopped red chillies, garlic and toss for a min.
- Add half the sliced spring onion bulbs and sliced green chillies fry for another 30 secs, then add the marinated chicken pieces, retain the liquid, and stir fry on high heat for 3-4 minutes until the chicken takes a little caramelised colour.
- The measure a cup of liquid along with the retained marinade liquid and water and pour over the chicken, allow cooking until the chicken pieces are cooked through and the liquid has almost reduced to 1/4th.
- Finish off with the remaining spring onions and coriander springs and just give a toss and remove from heat.
- Serve over a bed of rice and a drizzle of tangy chilli dressing.
Dos and Don’ts:
- Do not use extra green chilli, the authentic recipe does not call for it, i use it for the extra heat.
- Make sure you use thigh pieces; breast pieces would go dry and not give you a succulent chicken on cooking.
- Try the recipe with beef or pork, only adjust the meat cooking time and some extra sock if required.