Friday, 27 June 2014

Lemongrass Chicken (Ga xao xa ot) : AFF Indochina


There is an abundance of Basil in my garden and that means it is time to cook Vietnamese dishes! I know I am a little slow to jump on the Indochina bandwagon. There are so many blog events that I want to take part in but time is a constraint. My cooking/baking only takes place during the weekends and there is a limit to what I can do during those two days. 




I am cooking from the book Quick & Easy Vietnamese Home Cooking for Everyone, a birthday present from my auntie way back in 2002. Good grief! That was 12 years ago! Well, better late than never and now this cookbook is being put to good use.



One ingredient in this recipe is coconut water which is not difficult to find. I can always buy the ready cut coconut from Aeon. But I find that a hassle and I soon discovered that we can now get packaged coconut water. How convenient!



Instead of adding water to the dish, the chicken is simmered in coconut water. Even though I added only 1/4 cup of coconut water as recommended in the recipe, my chicken bled a lot of water grrr...What I did was I removed the chicken and continued to simmer the sauce. What is lovely about using coconut water is that it cooks down and becomes syruppy and thick. And it tastes really good.



This dish is worth trying and if you can't get coconut water, just use plain old water or chicken stock and add some sugar for sweetness. But really, the coconut water is amazingly good so try to use it.











Lemongrass Chicken 
Recipe source : Quick & Easy Vietnamese Cooking for Everyone (page 46)
(My notes in red)

Ingredients :
- 285g chicken, cut into bite-sized pieces (I used 500g)
- 2 tbsp cornstarch (I omitted)
- 1 tbsp vegetable oil (I used more!)
- 2 tsp salt (I omitted)

Sauce ingredients :
- 2 tbsp chopped lemongrass
- 1 tbsp Vietnamese soy sauce or teriyaki sauce (I used 2 tbsp light soya sauce)
- 1/2 tbsp each fish sauce and sugar (I used 1 tbsp fish sauce and omitted the sugar)
- 1 tsp chili flakes (I omitted)
- 1 tsp chopped garlic (I used 1 tbsp)
- 2 dried chilies (I used 4)

- 1/2 red onion, diced (1 used 1 big onion)
- 16-20 Thai basil leaves
- 1/4 cup coconut water

Method :
1. Sprinkle chicken with salt and cornstarch (I skipped this)
2. Combine sauce ingredients in a small bowl.
3. Heat oil in a wok and saute chicken over medium heat until lightly browned.
4. Add cooking sauce and stir for a minute.
5. Stir in onions, basil and coconut water.
6. Simmer until chicken is cooked and sauce is thickened.



I am submitting this post to Asian Food Fest - Indochina hosted by Kelly Siew Cooks.




This post is also linked to Cook-Your-Books #13 hosted by Joyce of Kitchen Flavours.

50 comments:

  1. Hi Phong Hong, I used to cook chicken with basil leaves and lemongrass but without the coconut water. Didn't know this is a Vietnamese dish. Will try your version of adding coconut water one day. Thanks for sharing, Phong Hong and you have a great weekend ahead. Warmest regards ;)

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    1. Hi Ivy! This is my first time cooking using coconut water and it was a revelation. If you have a chance, do try it too!

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  2. Hi Phong Hong...

    I used to have a whole load of basil leaves in front of my house. Then I gatal tangan go and cabut that thing. Now... I got not even one piece of leaf there. Padan muka kan! Hahaha... Nak tanam balik, that place is fully occupied. And to make things worse, I am a worst gardener! Pegang apa pun boleh kong! Hahahahaha....

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    1. Hello Mama! Usually it is like that lah. We have something, then buang. Then bila nak pakai baru menyesal, betul tak? Itu pun the basil plant was newly planted some months ago because the old one died. My plants also kong once in a while hah..hah....

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  3. I saw a few recipes using coconut water and wondered about the taste land what cooking with it would be like. Glad to read about your experience as I haven't got to trying them out yet. The chicken must be delicious with an interesting combination of flavors.

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    1. LHB, the chicken was very tasty and the coconut water gave it a very special taste. It had sweetness of course and a certain something that I can't describe!

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  4. Hi PH,
    You know,I bookmarked your lemongrass cheese cake,lemongrass prawn.....Now lemongrass chicken again even the other 2 I haven't try yet!
    Should I call you "Lemongrass Queen" ? Hah.......Hah......
    I know this lemongrass chicken must be very yummy,so.........bookmark again,Thanks.

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    1. Aunty Young, please don't try the lemongrass cheesecake hah...hah...hah....the prawns and chicken are good. And especially you must use coconut water for this chicken dish.

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  5. Morning Phong Hong.. Gonna be honest.. Not a fan of lemongrass, BUT I know it taste different after cooking, not so much lemongrass "smell" already.. Maybe it's just me, when I see the word lemongrass, I "mm hoi wai" liao.. Hehehehe.. But I remembered previously the lemongrass cheesecake that you baked, hmm, that one was a different story.. That one I ok pulak.. But I think the lemongrass taste in your chicken dish is mild, and I think I can accept lah, since you have teriyaki sauce and garlic and all to "cover" the lemongrass taste, hehe..

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    1. Hi Louiz! Aiya, don't like lemongrass? I also don't fancy the smell when it is raw but when cooked in curry or this type of dish, it is nice. The lemongrass cheesecake not as nice as this chicken lah..hah..hah...Don't worry, the lemongrass taste is very mild and can taste more of the basil leaves. The "chap" is very good due to the coconut water. You will sure take spoon and drink :)

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  6. Gosh!!! I can imagine the flavours in that dish. Bet it is truly awesome! Lemon grass. Thai basil... Yum! Yum!

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    1. Arthur, this is a very tasty dish and the coconut water lends another dimension to it.

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  7. Woah ... you have cooking my favourite dishes lately.

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    1. Hi Chris! Yeah, I can see you like lemongrass :)

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  8. Wish that i can cook as good as you...

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  9. Oh good of using the coconut juice instead of water. Bet this dish taste awesome delicious.

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    1. Mel, the coconut water made it truly awesome. If you have a chance, try it!

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  10. Oh Phong Hong, never thought of using coconut water to cook la! What a good idea... always use santan but why not the water.. hmmm.. the chicken must be very tasty! Yes, last time I ordered a plate of minced chicken, they cook it with lots of basil and chilies.. but don't think they put the coconut water...
    I like drinking it... cos I know it helps cool down my body especially one time I had shingles, I drank one coconut for a few days in a row... it helps!

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    1. Hi Claire! When I had chicken pox, I also drank coconut water until I got scared of coconut water hah..hah...If you have a chance, try this dish and use coconut water. It is very good.

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  11. those sure looks yummy!

    *drool*

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    1. Thanks, Lina! And please wipe off your drool hah..hah...

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  12. Oh PH, I bet this is a delicious dish. It has all my fav ingredients. Must try this dish soon. Thanks for sharing.

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    1. Veronica, you must cook this dish because it is really flavourful and delicious!

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  13. Hi Phong Hong, so it's coconut water ... not coconut milk used. I got scared of drinking coconut water too ... my childhood kampung life where coconuts were plucked from trees and consumed immediately. And I love to eat the small yellow 'heart'. Hmm interesting as rarely come across recipes using coconut water. Thanks for sharing.

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    1. Hi Karen! Yes, coconut water and it is unbelievably good! Oh, I do remember the small yellow "heart"! My grandpa taught me to eat it but somehow I didn't like it hah....hah...

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  14. Hi Phong Hong, this must be very aromatic and tasty with the basil leaves. Many Vietnamese dishes uses coconut water instead of coconut milk. Why?

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    1. Hi Kimmy! They do use coconut milk for their curries. As for the coconut water, once you try it, you will understand why the Vietnamese use it their cooking. It really taste good once boiled till thick. Do try it!

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  15. cuz, your photos are so atas these days....love the basil....but winter now, makan carrot aje! I used frozen serai for cooking for the first time...not bad la...just add fish sauce, chilli, lots of lime juice and daun limau purut to marinade wings ...sedap....

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    1. Yes, ah? I have improved a little bit lah....Winter - so nice and cold. I am sweating over here! Must try your chicken wings recipe. I have daun limau purut in my garden.

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  16. Hi Phong Hong, first of all sorry for the poll thing.. the website keep redirecting to the poll result.. I've spent the whole morning and afternoon trying to fix that.. temporarily tweaked until they revert back to me.. you can now go to my latest post again.. sorry for the frustration :)

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    1. No worries, SK! These things happen :) Anyway I was able to access using Explorer but very slow.

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  17. oh, so you have tons of Basil growing in your garden and you seem not able to stop them from growing (like Small Kucing)?? haha, then you've gotta cook lots of Vietnamese and Thai perhaps?? hehehe.. okaylah, this lemongrass chicken with basil looks good, and you use coconut water to cook that too.. (and not the cheap coconut water bought from pasar malam, but this RM8 a packet of Tropicana coconut water somemore!!!) hmmm.. lovely and delicious, guess this is another great dish to go with rice, haha~~

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    1. So SK, you have bought that expensive coconut water hah,,hah,,,It really makes a difference cooking with coconut water. I don't mind spending that RM8 once in a while and any leftover juice, I just drink it cold from the fridge. Ah...so cooling....

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  18. as you have said-better late than never:)
    I also have the habit of coming back to long time forgotten books
    ps. Polish strawberries are usually very sweat and they have amazing smell, I wish I could send you one:)

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    1. Hi Ola, I wish I could taste those Polish strawberries :)

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  19. Another lemongrass dish! I think I'll love this!
    Looks yummy!

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    1. Hi Hayley! Yes, yummy dish and you will love to scoop the gravy on your rice!

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  20. I adore anything with lemongrass, but I've not tried simmering chicken in coconut water. Yummy......

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    1. Shirley, try it someday. I think you will like the taste!

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  21. hi phong hong, i've seen a couple of vietnamese chicken recipes that use coconut water too, i guess it brings more aroma to the dish..totally understand about not enough time to take part in this and that event! i know! LOL! btw, i never knew abt the packaged coconut water..nowadays really convenient, air kelapa pun got packaged one.

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    1. Lena, can get from Tesco. But I think it is pricey.

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  22. Phong Hong, I think it's a 'heavenly' pairing with the lemongrass, which is an intensive lemony flavor, and the genius coconut water...which we have and abundance of at our local supermarket, which some of it is kept refrigerated and is mostly consumed by drinking it...so why not cook some delicious foods with it. I love your creativity in finding the most amazing exotic Asian recipes, and take your 'spin' on it to make it even better...I really admire your creativity, you have such a passion for colorful, tasty, and beautiful cuisine!

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    1. Elisabeth, thank for your generous compliments! You really motivate me to try more new recipes! Lemongrass is very commonly used in Asian cooking and I love it in this type of dishes and curries. But I don't really like in drinks though.

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  23. Lemongrass goes so well with chicken! I have seen that packed Coconut Water and wonder how it tastes, maybe I'll get it next time! Thank you for your submission!

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    1. Hi Kelly! I had fun and got to eat really good dishes with this event!

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  24. Hi Phong Hong
    Your basil plants are doing great! I have discarded many of mine to make way for other plants! :(
    The chicken dish looks really delicious, I can imagine how good it is with rice! This definitely calls for more rice! There goes the diet!!! :)

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    1. Hi Joyce! These basil were the ones I planted from cuttings I bought from Tesco. By the way, my rosemary plants died sobs!

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  25. Phong Hong,
    This dish sure sedaplicious !!
    The other day I was thinking to cook the Vietnam caramelize pork which cook with coconut water too but time is too short :p
    mui

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    1. mui mui, can always cook it another time and share with us!

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