Friday, July 3, 2009

Ga Xao Xa Ot (Stir-fried Chicken with Lemongrass )

This one, for me, is a recipe in the making. I copied it from one of my fav cookbooks, "The Best of Vietnamese & Thai Cooking - Favorite Recipes from Lemon Grass Restaurant and Cafes" by Mia Pham, but made a few changes to the amounts of some of the ingredients; for instance, more chicken; more sugar; etc. I was a little bit disappointed in it, thinking it was too bland, even with the changes I made. Of course, I put my serving on the rice as soon as it was done, and consumed it right then - good, but like I said, bland. About 15 minutes later, as I was cleaning up the kitchen, and putting the leftovers away, I couldn't help but grab a bite or two more. Surprisingly, it was much smoother and better tasting. So, my personal recommendation would be to let it rest for about 5 minutes, at least (maybe more like 10), before eating.

Googling around, I found several recipes online for the same thing - none of them had julienned carrots (which I liked, and will keep in any version I make) or any cornstarch, and all of them had caramel sauce, which Pham's didn't. Also, it seemed like the chicken pieces were bigger, and most people used thighs; and there also seemed to be sort of a caramelized glaze on the chicken I saw in some photos. Some recipes even recommended marinating the chicken pieces in the sauce overnight.

So - I'm not positively saying I'll keep this one as is - that glazed chicken looked so good - I'm thinking that I'll try again without the chicken stock, until the chicken is cooked through, and without cornstarch either. And then when the chicken is done, I'm thinking to add the stock and a little water, and simmer it in the remaining sauce in the pan, with cornstarch added at that time, to make a sauce to drizzle on the rice. Because the sauce was yummy, and I think it would be divine on hot rice - there just wasn't enough of it. When I do this, I'll repost with the results and let ya know how it went.

In the meantime, this was fairly good but as is, I probably won't make it again in this exact same way. I'm posting it like Pham's directions said to make it, with the few minor changes I made to it (in ingredient amounts), and am calling it "Ga Sao Xa" like she did, since it's based on her recipe.

Ga Sao Xa

1 tsp cornstarch
3 Tbls water
1 1/2 pound skinless, boneless chicken breast, sliced 1/4 inch thick and 1 1/2 inches long
3 Tbls vegetable oil
10 whole dried chilis
1/4 cup finely minced lemon grass
2 Tbls minced garlic
2 1/2 Tbls sugar
1 tsp ground chili paste
1 fresh red Thai chili, sliced thin
1/2 cup chicken broth
1 Tbls fish sauce
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 onion, sliced into thin wedges
1 cup julienned carrots, blanched and shocked in ice water and drained
fresh cilantro sprigs for garnish (which I forgot, lol)

Combine cornstarch and water, stir until dissolved; add chicken slices and set aside. Heat the oil on low heat; add dried chilis and cook until puffed, about 30 seconds or so. Remove and drain on paper towels. Increase heat to high and add lemon grass, garlic, sugar, chili paste, and fresh chili and cook until fragrant, stirring, about 1 minute. Add chicken, stirring to separate, and cook 3-4 minutes until opaque. Add chicken stock, fish sauce, salt, onion, and carrots, and cook an additional 3-4 minutes. Add reserved chilis and cilantro, and serve.


No comments:

Post a Comment