Lemongrass Meets Cayenne Pepper
Caramelized Sugar Meets Fish Sauce
This classic Vietnamese dish demonstrates the classic use of Caramelized Sugar in Vietnamese cuisine, as well as the roles Lemongrass and moderate amounts of Hot Red Pepper can play. This dish serves about 8. Recipe adapted from Bach Ngo. The use of Nuoc Mam or Fish Sauce is also typical.
Fried Chicken with Lemongrass and Cayenne Pepper
Ga Xao Sa Ot
1 stalk fresh Lemongrass
4 Chicken Thighs or Legs
2 tablespoons Nuoc Mam Fish Sauce
2 tablespoons Sugar
Freshly ground Black Pepper
3 cloves Garlic
1 tablespoon Vegetable Oil
¼ teaspoon Cayenne Pepper
1 teaspoon Caramelized Sugar
To make the Caramelized Sugar: Put 1 tablespoon plain granulated white Sugar and ¼ cup Water in a dry pan over hgh heat. When it begins to brown, start to stir, then stir constantly. When the Sugar turns brown and steam begins to form, stir well, remove from the heat and add another 2 tablespoons of water. Continue to stir, return to high heat for about 5 minutes. Add a few drops of Lemon juice, stir quickly a few times and remove from the heat and let cool.
To prepare the Lemongrass: If you are using fresh Lemongrass, discard the outer leaves and upper two-thirds of the stalk, then chop finely. If fresh Lemongrassis not available, and you are using the dried variety, it must first be soaked in hot Water for 2 hours then drained and chopped finely.
To Make the Chicken: First bone the Chicken Thighs or Legs and cut them into cubes about an inch square. Chop the Garlic finely.
Combine 1 tablespoon of the Fish Sauce with the Sugar, Black Pepper, 2 cloves of Garlic and the Lemongrass. Sprinkle over the Chicken cubes and let it marinate half an hour.
Then heat the oil over a high flame and stir in the remaining garlic. Add the Chicken pieces and continue stirring for 5 minutes. Lower the heat to medium and add the remaining tablespoon of Fish Sauce, the Cayenne Pepper and Caramelized Sugar. Cook, stirring, for another 5 minutes, and then serve with Rice.
For a similar Vietnamese dish, see the link for Lemongrass Chicken in this site.