Ga xao dam gung sa: chicken with lemongrass and macerated ginger
A childhood favourite. A wonderful mix, tart and spicy and redolent with the smell of lemongrass (recipe from Bach Ngo's Classic Cuisine of Vietnam).
(aka gà xào dầm gừng sả, lit. fried chicken with pickled ginger and lemongrass)
Yes, it looks gooey (that would be the cornstarch plus a liberal appliance of high heat), but it’s so very yummy. The flavours of the lemongrass, ginger and vinegar all combine for an explosion of taste right where it matters. My sis’s favourite dish when she was younger. Not my favourite dish (I tend more towards the shrimp and crab end of the spectrum), but it’s still such good comfort food.
- 300g chicken
- 1 stalk lemongrass
- 2 tablespoons fish sauce
- 2 tablespoons ginger, pounded with mortar and pestle<
- 2 tablespoons rice vinegar
- 6 tablespoons water
- 1 teaspoon cornstarch
- ½ teaspoon sugar
- 3 cloves garlic
- 1 large onion
- Sprinkling of black pepper
- Mix the ginger and the vinegar. Set aside.
- Prepare the lemongrass stalk: discard any dried outer leaves, discard the upper two-thirds of the stalk, and slice the remainder paper-thin. Slice the chicken into bite-sized pieces. Put the chicken in a bowl along with 1 tablespoon of the fish sauce, and sprinkle black pepper. Add the lemongrass. Mix, and set aside.
- Mix the cornstarch, sugar, water and remaining fish sauce, and set aside.
- Chop the garlic, and slice the onion into wedges.
- In a large-bottom casserole dish on medium fire, put in oil, and fry the garlic for ~30s, until fragrant. Add the onion, and cook until soft. Add the chicken, and fry for 5 minutes, stirring constantly. Cover, and cook for an additional 5 minutes. Then stir in the ginger-vinegar mixture and the cornstarch-fish sauce-sugar one. Mix well. Cover again, and cook for 5 minutes. Then uncover, set heat until the sauce boils, and finish off by congealing the sauce (basically, make the cornstarch boil and thicken).
- Serve with rice.