Lemongrass BBQ Chicken

lemongrass chicken bbq dish

This recipe's contributor lived abroad in the UK and EU for years at a time as a working artist and student. She eased the adjustment of living in new cities by cooking familiar, in her case Vietnamese, comfort food. One of her favorites is Lemongrass BBQ Chicken, which is traditionally grilled to get a smoky, char flavor, but since her European apartments only had stoves or ovens she had to tweak the cooking method. She succeeded, bestowing something altogether salty, sweet, and fishy to the land of bread and cheese.

cartoon airplane with frog holding fish sauce and a chicken out the windows

Ingredients

Chicken and Marinade
1.75 pounds highest-quality chicken thighs
3 Tablespoons minced lemongrass
1/2 medium white onion
3 cloves garlic
1-square-inch piece (17 g) fresh ginger
3 Tablespoons (63 g) honey
1 1/2 teaspoons fish sauce
1 1/2 Tablespoons soy sauce
1 Tablespoon sesame oil
3 Tablespoons canola oil
to taste:
black pepper, freshly ground
fresh cilantro

Rice
at least 1 cup (190 g) Jasmine rice

Pickled Carrots - Make 1 day ahead
~3/4 cups (100 g) julienned carrots
~3/4 cups (100 g) julienned daikon
9 Tablespoons (112 g) granulated sugar
1 cup (230 g) rice wine vinegar

Vegetarian Nuoc' Mam Dipping Sauce
3 heaping Tablespoons (62 g) raw sugar
Approximately 2/3 cup (136 g) balsamic vinegar
3 Tablespoons (58 g) soy sauce
2 2/3 Tablespoons (40g) water

Toasted Sesame Seeds (Optional)
desired amount sesame seeds

Instructions

Serves 4


TOPPINGS AND SIDES

Pickled Carrots - Make 1 day ahead
In a large, heatproof, sealable container, mix:
~3/4 cups (100 g) julienned carrots
~3/4 cups (100 g) julienned daikon
In a saucepan, mix:
9 Tablespoons (112 g) granulated sugar
1 cup (230 g) rice wine vinegar
Heat the sugar-vinegar mixture over medium heat until hot to the touch. Pour it over the julienned vegetables, let cool, cover, and refrigerate overnight.

Vegetarian Nuoc' Mam Dipping Sauce
In a sealable container, combine:
3 heaping Tablespoons (62 g) raw sugar
Approximately 2/3 cup (136 g) balsamic vinegar
3 Tablespoons (58 g) soy sauce
2 2/3 Tablespoons (40g) water
Shake the container until the sugar dissolves. Adjust ingredient amounts to taste. Store in the fridge but let come to room temperature before serving.

Toasted Sesame Seeds (Optional)
Heat an un-oiled pan over medium heat. Add:
desired amount sesame seeds
Cook for ~3 minutes, stirring often so they brown evenly. Pour the toasted seeds onto a plate to cool. Store leftover seeds in the fridge.


MARINADE

Combine in a sealable plastic bag or plastic-wrapped bowl:
3 Tablespoons minced lemongrass
1/2 medium white onion, minced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1-square-inch piece (17 g) fresh ginger, grated
3 Tablespoons (63 g) honey
1 1/2 teaspoons fish sauce
1 1/2 Tablespoons soy sauce
1 Tablespoon sesame oil
to taste: black pepper, freshly ground

Taste the marinade, and adjust the ingredient amounts to achieve your preferred balance of sweet and salty. Add:
1.75 pounds highest-quality chicken thighs, diced into 2-inch pieces
Coat the chicken cubes evenly in the marinade and refrigerate for 40 minutes. Then take out of the fridge and let sit at room temperature for 20 minutes (this prevents the chicken from sticking to the hot pan during cooking).


COOKING

Rice
According to package instructions, cook:
at least 1 cup (190 g) Jasmine rice

Chicken
Heat in a large lidded pan or wok over medium-high heat:
3 Tablespoons canola oil
Dump the chicken cubes and all of the marinade into the pan, partially cover with the lid, and cook for 1.5 minutes without stirring. The marinade will boil aggressively. Keep heat at medium-high. Take off the lid and stir-fry for 3 minutes or until all the sides are browned and the chicken is no longer pink inside, registering at 165 degrees F / 75 degrees C. Immediately remove from heat to avoid overcooking.


ASSEMBLY

Dish the chicken, rice, and pickled veggies into heated bowls. Garnish with:
toasted sesame seeds (if using)
fresh cilantro, chopped
Pour the Vegetarian Nuoc' Mam Dipping Sauce into personal dipping bowls or a bowl everyone can spoon from to drizzle it over their chicken.

 
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