Spicy Chicken with Mint and Ginger (Ga Chien)
1 1/2 teaspoons ground white pepper
1/2 red onion, finely chopped
6 cloves garlic, finely minced
1/4 cup chopped fresh Vietnamese coriander leaves
1/3 cup roughly chopped fresh mint leaves
1 tablespoon finely grated fresh ginger
1/4 cup fish sauce, nuoc nam
1-3 fresh Thai bird chile, finely chopped to your taste
1 1/2 teaspoons date palm sugar
2 pounds bone-in skin-on chicken thighs (about 6
Fresh mint and cilantro leaves to garnish
Make the marinade: Place ingredients in a glass bowl - 1 tablespoon of the oil, the white pepper, onion, garlic, coriander leaves, mint leaves, ginger, fish sauce, chile and sugar. Stir well until the sugar is dissolved.
Trim off excess fat on the chicken thighs, rinse, and pat them dry. Place them in a large bowl and pour the marinade on top. Rub the marinade all over the chicken until each piece is evenly coated. Cover and refrigerate for 4 hours or overnight.
Remove the chicken from the refrigerator 30 minutes before cooking. Wipe the marinade off the chicken and reserve marinade.
Heat a large heavy skillet, add the oil, add the chicken thighs one layer deep sin side down..
Reduce the heat to medium and cook the chicken for 5-6 minutes until skin is golden brown. Turn over and cook the other side for about 10 to 15 minutes until the chicken is cooked. Test the chicken for doneness by pricking it with a fork; when the juices run clear, remove the chicken from the pan and keep warm.
Pour off the fat and return the pan to medium heat.
Spoon in the reserved marinade and stir to bring up the brown bits on bottom of pan, cooking 2-3 minutes.
Add 1/2 cup water and bring to a boil. Turn down and simmer for a few more minutes. Return the chicken to the pan to reheat if necessary.
Serve the chicken with steamed rice and garnish with fresh cilantro and mint leaves. Drizzle the pan sauce over the chicken and serve.
Look for Vietnamese coriander leaves and Thai bird chiles in Asian markets.
Adapted from "The Little Saigon Cookbook," by Ann Le
Note: This recipe can be made using chicken wing sections for finger food and served as an appetizer with drinks.
For a healthier version I have used skinless chicken thighs, or chicken tenders on skewers and grilled and it tastes great.
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