Wednesday, 26 February 2014

luke nguyen's bac ha chicken in ginger

Isn’t it nice when a punt on a random experimental dish goes spectacularly right? I’m not sure what I was expecting, but looking at chopped up chicken thighs bubbling away in the wok, whilst skimming  gloopy fat off the top, I have to say I wasn’t amazingly confident.

It certainly looked nice in Delicious, as does the pomelo and crab salad next to it (maybe one for the summer), but they’d obviously opted not to feature a picture of boiled off chicken residue. Neither was I convinced once I realised the promised ‘flavour-packed’ dish was going to come from only 4 other ingredients: ginger, garlic, fish sauce and oyster sauce.

But clearly there are witches in Vietnamese kitchens because once ladled onto a bed of rice, with a good grind of black pepper and a sprinkling of fresh chilli on top, the finished dish is utterly, utterly gorgeous: the chicken is tender, and the sauce is salty and pungent, with fruity and fiery heat from the chilli and black pepper. It’s also very quick and super easy, if you don’t mind spending 5 minutes skimming and disposing of unpleasant-looking chicken scum. And who doesn’t?

bac ha chicken in ginger - Luke Nguyen, The Food of Vietnam c/o Delicious, January 2014

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