Vietnamese Chicken with Lime and Ginger

Great for a weeknight dinner, this Vietnamese baked chicken with lime is an easy meal that requires very little active work.  Measure, mince, and pour, then let it sit.  Once it’s finished marinating, all you have to do is cook it for half an hour. The ginger and garlic are warm and spicy, while the chili garlic sauce has a bit of a kick. The lime adds brightness and a citrusy tang that complements the spicy flavors and cools them down. 

The original recipe called for chili garlic paste, palm sugar, and fish sauce.  And, it’s true, those ingredients would be more authentic. However, they also violate my own rules about avoiding  hard-to-find or one use ingredients.  I don’t want to buy an entire bottle or brick of something (like palm sugar) just to have it sit there. And where would I even find palm sugar? Nope.

So, I cheated.  I used chili garlic sauce (not paste), swapped brown sugar for palm sugar, and ditched the fish sauce in favor of Worcestershire sauce (which does have some anchovies in it). I also wanted (for personal preference) to avoid all the salt in the fish sauce.

Marinating, even for a short time, helps the chicken absorb lots of flavor. 

When you’re ready to start cooking, just pour out the marinade, pop the chicken in the oven, and wait half an hour. Dinner is done!

 

Tip: Make extra rice and freeze it in little baggies. Then when you want rice another day, all you have to do is microwave it. One minute rice!




Vietnamese Baked Chicken with Lime Substitutions and Variations

  • add some soy sauce to the marinade
  • swap the lime zest for lemongrass (you can buy lemongrass paste, which is easier to find in western markets than the stalks)
  • chop up some cilantro and add that to the marinade
  • if you do like fish sauce, I’m told Red Boat and Three Crabs are good brands (avoid the Taste of Thai, it’s full of sugar)

More Chicken Recipes

Jewish chicken curry chitarneeJewish Chicken Curry Chitarnee

A Jewish curry? Yep.  It’s flavored with onions, lemon, and cardamom. It’s not spicy, more aromatic, tangy, and mellow.  Only one pot too. And since it’s got potatoes cooked along in that pot, the entire meal is one pot, not just the main course.

honey sticky garlic chickenHoney Sticky Garlic Chicken

Want to fight some nasty germs? This chicken will help. There’s chili garlic sauce, hot peppers, and garlic: all of which help clear your head. It’s also easy to make. Just brown the chicken and make a quick sauce.

peruvian roast chicken with green saucePeruvian Roast Chicken in Green Sauce Recipe

I just can’t stop eating this. The sauce has spicy peppers, earthy spinach, and citrusy lime, with just a touch of mayo to hold it all together.  Great for chicken, or for a veggie dip.

stir fry chicken peanut sauce recipeStir Fry Chicken with Peanut Sauce

You don’t have to go out for “takeout” food. Make it yourself at home. Eat it hot right away, or chill, add extra veggies, and transform it into a salad.

 




Garlic Ginger Turmeric Rice

An online food group I belong to is celebrating “rice month.” The idea is to highlight a recipe featuring, well rice.  Someone suggested that nearly every culture uses rice so everyone ought to be able to find something to fit the theme.  Unfortunately, I come from a long line of noodle and dumpling people.  So, at first I was stumped.  What could I possibly make for this challenge?  Then I had an idea.  I could borrow a “sister” culture!  Eastern European Jewish people focus heavily on noodles, but the Sephardim (from Asia, India, the Middle East, etc.) have plenty of rice dishes.  So, I looked through my cookbooks and found garlic ginger turmeric rice.

It’s a Bene Israel recipe, meaning that it was created by the Jewish population in India.  You might almost call it a pulao. I’ve adapted this recipe from The Book of Jewish Food.  Her version served six.  Mine is about three servings (because extra rice is always good; more on that later).

This particular rice dish is packed with garlic, ginger, green cardamon pods, and a pinch of turmeric for that beautiful yellow color. It’s tasty (and it fights germs too, which made it even more appealing since I’m still fighting the creeping crud!).  Don’t be put off by all the garlic and the ginger, both start out spicy and sharp but mellow and become almost sweet as they cook.  The cardamom adds a complex taste; it’s a bit minty, with a hint of citrus and a spicy/warm flavor.  The original calls for basmati rice (which I didn’t have), but ordinary long grain white rice will do just as well. If you use the basmati rice, rinse it several times before starting to cook it.

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Turn Your Garlic Ginger Turmeric Rice Side Dish into A Main Dish

As is, this is a side dish. But with a bit of extra effort, it can become a main dish too.  There are a couple of ways to do this. For example, you could make it more substantial by cooking up some chicken or adding leftover pre-cooked chicken to the rice. Or, cook up some spinach and fry and egg (in the same pan if you want), and add that to the top.  You can do the same thing with the leftovers a few days. later. Instant food!

The recipe says that for special occasions, this dish was often served topped with blanched almonds and raisins. While this wasn’t a fancy occasion, I decided to do it anyway. I didn’t have blanched almonds, so I just roughly chopped a few whole ones.  Soak the raisins in water a bit before you use them, in order to soften them.

More Rice Recipes

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Super easy to make, and has a surprise ingredient you probably don’t expect.  Maybe not pretty, but healthy and tasty! And uses pantry ingredients too.

 

black beans and rice recipe one personBlack Beans and Rice Recipe for One Person

A complete meal (and complete protein too). I’ve adapted this from a Cuban-Colombian friend’s recipe.  It can also be adjusted to make soup!

 

lamb merguez sausage with rice and vegetablesLamb Merguez Sausage with Rice and Vegetables

Bring some heat with spicy lamb sausage from Morocco. Don’t worry, the carrots, eggplant, and sweet spices tone it down.