Vietnamese cuisine sounds intimidating, I know. But please believe it is the farthest thing from difficult. Most recipes are delicious, light, healthy, and absolutely elegant. Understandably so, it is an Asian country, in a hot climate with a strong french influence.
My sweet chicken sautee with coconut rice and fresh veggies is a wonderful summer meal. You and your family are only 30 minutes from a gourmet meal from Nam Viet. I find it easiest to make the carrots, then the rice and then the chicken. Mostly because the carrots pickle to perfection, the rice bubbles away, all the while you leisurely mix some chicken in a hot pan.
Now, if you don't have fish sauce use half soy and half worchestire sauce. If you don't have Thai basil, use regular. The most important part is that the chicken carmelizes. I realize that not all cooks are greedily drawn to the market grabbing anything new and exciting. I realize that I am strange and find my pantry and place of solace and beauty. But, it is the qualities that makes us friendly and the quirks that make us lovely.
30-minute Easy Pickled Carrots
3 carrots julienned or match sticked
1 cup of white vinegar
½ cup of white sugar
Mix all ingredients in a bowl. Let sit for 30 minutes. Drain to serve. Delish…
1 cup of rice
2 cups of coconut milk (1 16oz can)
Combine ingredients in rice cooker. Push button on. Oh how I love technology. Fluff with fork when ready to serve.
2 tablespoons fish sauce
3 garlic cloves, crushed
1 tablespoon fresh grated ginger
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons plus 1 1/2 teaspoons sugar
1 1/2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs
3 tablespoons cooking oil
2 fresh lemongrass stalks, tender inner white bulbs only, minced1 large shallot, thinly sliced
Chopped veggies, cilantro, Thai basil and peanuts for garnishing
1. In a small bowl, combine the fish sauce, garlic, ginger, salt, and sugar.
2.Slice the shallots into thin half moons and add the minced lemongrass. Cook in a hot wok with oil until the shallots are tender and the lemongrass is fragrant. Add the chicken and sautee until cooked through but still tender.
3. Add the sauce to the hot wok and coat chicken. Cook this delicious concoction until the ginger and garlic are fragrant. Turn the heat off add some of the Thai basil and cilantro and deeply inhale.
4. Serve over rice noodles, coconut rice, with chopped veg and peanuts. I love to make pickled carrots (see below) and add slices of cucumber, chopped green onions, and chopped peanuts. All under a heaping mound of cilantro and Thai basil.
As always, happy cooking, much love, and many blessings.