Friday, July 29, 2016

Vietnam On My Mind & Ga Xao Xa Ot

ga xao xa ot
Ga xao xa ot/Vietnamese lemongrass chilli chicken
Since my younger son is touring Vietnam with an American band, New Fame, I have been on a virtual exploration of Vietnamese cuisine.  A book on the same that I had ordered online should soon be here and I can delve deeper. Today also happens to be his birthday.:) He has been sending me several images about this fascinating country that I would love to visit some day. Hope you enjoy going through these shots...
The area they are living in...Ho Chi Minh
Rain clouds over Ho Chi Minh

Just a few of the delicious food pictures

Lady Buddha in Da Nang, Central Vietnam

Another shot from Da Nang
I looked up a few older issues of  BBC Food/India magazine and came across this simple recipe of chilli chicken and lemongrass. The recipe was written by Tracy Lister, author of the book Koto: A Culinary Journey Through Vietnam.

5 chicken thigh fillets
2 1/2  tbsp fish sauce
1 tsp black pepper, freshly ground
1 tsp caster sugar
2tbsp vegetable oil
2 stems lemongrass, white part only, finely chopped
1 red chilli, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
90 ml water
10 spring onions, sliced
A handful of coriander sprigs, roughly chopped
  • Cut each chicken fillet into 6 cubes. Marinate the pieces for half an hour with the fish sauce, pepper and sugar.
  • Heat the oil in a wok (or a kadhai) over medium heat and fry the lemongrass, chilli and garlic. Stir for a few minutes till fragrant. Add the chicken and toss for 3-4 minutes till the chicken is lightly coloured.
  •  Add the water and turn the heat up to high to finish the cooking process. Check to see that the chicken is cooked through. Add the spring onions and coriander and give it a final toss.
Spring onions are not available in our parts during this season. So I left that out. I added five chillies instead of one. The lemon grass that I'm growing has very tender stalks so it didn't turn out as fragrant as I'd have liked it to be. Another cardinal sin I committed was using chicken breast pieces. Thigh fillets are best as chicken breasts dry out faster. But I had to make do with the latter as that was what I had in stock.
If you are interested in the lime, chilli and salt mix that is also served with this dish, here it is.
1 tsp sea salt
4-6 bird's eyes chillies or 2 tsp pepper, freshly grated
2 lime wedges, juiced
Place the salt in a mound in a dipping bowl. Add the chillies or pepper and then squeeze over the lime juice. Stir with a chopstick.

This is one dish I'd love to try out again. Despite the drawbacks in my dish, the taste was still great!
 I'm adding a link to a video where my son is doing what he loves best....drumming!
Whiplash (Movie Track) Drum Cover

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