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As mentioned in another post, my son bought me a beautiful cookbook filled with the foods and stories of Vietnam. I have been taking great pleasure in looking at the photos while reading the stories and recipes. One thing I did notice was that none of the recipes contain any salt or pepper, all the flavors come from sauces, herbs, and chilies. Sugar and limes are used for sweet and sour components, Everything is so very balanced.
The cookbook, The Foods of Vietnam, is divided into regions. When the author arrives at the region of Bac Ha, he tells a tale of the market or bazaar where everything is sold from livestock to clothing.
Of course, as in every market, there are booths with food, ready to eat. Simmering pots of interesting smells. One of the cooks, he tells us, is making a local specialty called Thang co. In response to his puzzled look, she gives him a plate. He’s intrigued. It has, as he puts it, every texture imaginable. Some bits are soft, some chewy, some gelatinous, crunchy and boney, all combine on the same plate. “what is this” he asks. She explains it is a slow cooked stew – of horse guts, horse penis, along with medicinal barks and herbs.
OK, I’m not going to go there. But I will go to this simple and delicious recipe for Bac Ha Chicken Cooked in Ginger. Served with some steamed jasmine rice, I think it’s a meal that the whole family will love. I’ve modified it slightly, just cause that’s what I do, but overall it’s just chicken thighs, marinated in fish and oyster sauce with a great deal of minced ginger and garlic, that is then quickly stir-fried with some green onion and jalapeño. Nothing scary there! Just great flavor, and a meal, on the table, in about 30 minutes.
So take a quick trip to the Bac Ha region, and enjoy this chicken cooked in ginger.
Mix the fish sauce, oyster sauce, and sugar together in a bowl, until the sugar is dissolved. Add the garlic and ginger, mix then add the chicken pieces. Massage the marinade into the chicken until it's well covered, then let it sit for 20 minutes.
Heat the oil in a wok or large skillet over , heat; when hot add the marinated chicken pieces; (there should not be much liquid in the bowl; if there is, do not add the liquid, only the chicken with the ginger and garlic clinging to it); stir-fry until the chicken is cooked, about 5 minutes, add the white parts of the green onion, along with the jalapeño and stir-fry for 2 - 3 minutes. Add the chicken broth and allow to simmer, vigorously, for 5 minutes; add the slurry and let thicken. Stir in half the cilantro and green onion tops; allow to wilt. Serve topped with remaining cilantro and the sliced green onion tops.
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