This is another recipe from Charmaine Solomon’s The Complete Asian Cookbook which is this month’s feature cookbook on The Cook Book Guru. It is a recipe I make regularly. The only reason it has not featured on Passion Fruit Garden before is that the photos I have taken of the dish have left a lot to be desired. I am not particularly enamoured with the head photo but ….
This recipe is from the Vietnamese chapter of Charmaine’s book.
Now, before we start, I need to advise that I have modified the recipe somewhat. The recipe calls for a whole chicken, cut into Chinese-style pieces, to be marinated in the lemongrass, spring onion, salt and pepper and then cooked in a wok. But this just doesn’t work for me. I find that by the time the chicken pieces are cooked, the lemongrass and spring onions are burnt. I also don’t find the wings and drumsticks work as part of a stir-fry.
The thing that is interesting about this recipe is that, despite my initial issues, I have made it time and time again because I love the combination of flavours: peanuts, lemongrass and coriander.
- 4 chicken thighs, either on the bone or filleted. (I still can’t work out what is best for this recipe. In the photo above, I used thighs on the bone but, to be honest, the cut-up bits of bone and skin were a bit annoying. Next time, I am going for skinless thigh fillets. Over time, I have tried all bits of the chicken and I still don’t really know which I prefer.)
- 2-4 stems lemongrass, thinly sliced, white part only (If you have the small pieces you get from the supermarket, use four. If you have long stems from an Asian market, you may find two is enough.)
- 3 spring onions, thinly sliced
- salt, to taste
- ½ tsp coarsely ground black pepper
- 2 tbs* oil
- 2 fresh red chillies, seeded and chopped (if you like a bit of heat, leave the seeds in)
- 70g roasted peanuts, finely chopped, plus extra for decoration
- 2 tsp sugar
- 2 tbs* fish sauce
- ⅓ cup chopped coriander (This is not in the original recipe but I really like it. It really adds to the flavour. I always include it.)
*These are 20 mil tablespoons.
- If you have chicken thigh on the bone: using a cleaver, chop each thigh into three pieces. If using fillets: chop into 2.5cm square pieces.
- Bruise the sliced lemongrass using a mortar and pestle or give it a whizz in your food processor.
- Sprinkle the chicken with salt and pepper.
- Heat the oil in a wok or large, heavy-based frying pan.
- Add the chicken and stir-fry until about half cooked.
- Add the lemongrass, cook for a minute or two.
- Add the spring onions, cook for a minute or two.
- Add the chillies and stir-fry until the chicken is cooked.
- Add the peanuts, coriander & sugar.
- Add the fish sauce and stir well, making sure everything is combined.
- Serve with rice or noodles and decorated, if you wish, with a few peanuts and a coriander leaf or two.