I don’t really buy women’s magazines…BUT if I do, I’d always go for the cheap sales where it’s like RM1 a copy (old issues of course) or I buy current Women’s Weekly, cause they come with a section on Home and Cooking. Each copy of this magazine has a page of recipe cards. The cards have perforated lines so you can easily tear them off the page into 4 recipe cards. Being a little uninspired lately, I went through my box of these cards last week and I can’t believe how many I have and never bothered to try out any of the recipes. I have cards like dating back to 2001.
Now I don’t know what makes this chicken recipe Vietnamese, it’s certainly something I’ve never seen on a Vietnamese menu. They use lemongrass in the ingredients but I don’t think that’s suffice to call it Vietnamese. I adapted the recipe to many changes and add-ons so that’s why I decided not to stick with the original name because it might not seem so Vietnamese after that. Rather I chose the name Aromatics because the bulk of its main ingredients are just that.
It’s a rather dry dish with thick coatings of the aromatics all over the chicken. The taste is certainly a big wow with the addition of chilli. I like it. It’s a nice change and the lemongrass and ginger certainly made the kitchen smell really good.
If you’re not too into hot spicy, you can skip the chilli, or use the milder, normal red chillies. I used bird’s eye chillies here and only used about 4 pieces. That’s enough for the tongue to go wagging. I pounded the aromatics using the conventional pestle and mortar to get a fine paste enough to marinade the chicken. If your food processor can do the job for you, then go ahead and use it. My food processor didn’t grind up the lemongrass very well so I opted for old-school pounding instead.
AROMATIC CHILLI CHICKEN RECIPE
1 Chicken breast, sliced to bite-sized pieces
3 cloves garlic, chopped finely
1 tablespoon Shaoxing Rice Wine
2 tablespoons Fish Sauce
2 tablespoons Garlic Chilli Sauce
1 tablespoon Light Soya Sauce
2 teaspoons Sesame oil
Pounded to fine paste;
2 thumb-sized pieces of ginger
2 lemongrass, the lower part without the leaves
4 garlic cloves
4 bird’s eye chillies, sliced (optional)
1. Pound the aromatics into a fine paste. Mix the pounded paste with the Shaoxing wine, fish sauce, garlic chilli sauce, light soy sauce and sesame oil. Mix well together.
2. With the chicken in a sandwich bag, pour in the mixture. Rub it around to throroughly coat all the chicken pieces.
3. Leave it to marinade overnight or at least 3 hours.
4. Heat wok with sunflower oil. Not too much oil, you want it to be a dry stir-fry.
5. Add chopped garlic and stir fry. Add marinaded chicken along with all the chunky pieces of ginger and lemongrass.
6. Stir fry till the chicken is cooked and fragrant. Add few dashes of white pepper. Add your bird’s eye chillies and scallions. Toss it around to coat.
7. Dish and garnish with more chillies and scallions on top.