Monday, January 18, 2010

Diary of a Secret Housewife: Ga Ro-Ti (Vietnamese Roast Chicken)

My mom grew up in Saigon, so Vietnamese is as much our home cuisine as Chinese. So when I got tired of making my mother-in-law's roast chicken (a delicious recipe, just totally overplayed in our house since it's our routine shabbat meal), I thought I'd try out a Vietnamese version.

Since my mom's recipe for Vietnamese involves calling for takeout, my go-to source for all Vietnamese recipes is Andrea Nguyen's Into the Vietnamese Kitchen cookbook. For tonight's meal, I tried out her recipe for "garlicky oven-roasted chicken," or ga ro-ti.

Andrea's marinade calls for 4 large cloves of garlic, finely minced; 1 1/2 teaspoons sugar; 1/4 teaspoon salt; 3/4 teaspoon black pepper; 3 1/2 tablespoons Maggi; and 2 1/2 tablespoons canola oil.

I added a tablespoon of honey, because I'm sweet like that. And a squinch of Sriracha, because I'm hot like that.

I covered two kosher chicken legs with the marinade and put the whole concoction in the fridge. Andrea says you can leave it there for up to 24 hours. I marinated the chicken for about six hours, and it was flavorful and succulent. (The kosher chicken no doubt helped, so definitely spring for it even if you're not Chewish.)

About thirty minutes before roasting, I took the chicken out of the fridge and pre-heated the oven to 400 degrees. Place the chicken, skin side down, in an oven-safe dish or baking sheet.

After 15 minutes, turn the pieces over and continue to roast until the skin is browned. (Andrea says you should hear "sizzling" at this point, but I heard nothing but my rumbling tummy.) At this point, I basted the chicken with some of the marinade to keep it moist.

You can tell the chicken's done when the juices run clear when a piece is pricked at the meatiest part (or when the kitchen smells so unbelievably good that you can't stop yourself from eating the chicken asap).

The chicken was unfreakingbelievably awesome. The skin was brown and crispy, with a hint of heat from the Sriracha and a note of sweetness from the honey and sugar; the meat was juicy and tasty, redolent of garlic and the unami from the Maggi. Husband not only devoured the chicken, but sopped up all the pan juices with bits of stale bread scavenged from the bread box, declaring it the best. marinade. ever.

Oh yeah, I served the chicken with pho. Made from scratch. I'll tell you more about it in my next post.

Right now, I'm off to lick the roasting pan.

If you haven't visited Andrea's blog, Viet World Kitchen, you should. It's a feast for the eyes and the tummy.


Ravenous Couple January 18, 2010 at 2:08 PM  

this looks great--we also add honey to our recipe! Her book is a great resource.

emileee January 18, 2010 at 7:58 PM  

This sounded so good, I immediately started the marinade for tonight's dinner! I don't have maggi sauce though so I substituted with soy sauce. Hopefully it turns out okay!

Mrs. Hot Cocoa January 18, 2010 at 9:40 PM  

@ emileee: Let me know how it turns out!! Andrea Nguyen says you can sub in light soy sauce for the Maggi.

Chick in the Czech January 18, 2010 at 10:06 PM  

Oh yummy! That looks so tasty! I will have to try it sometime.

soapie January 19, 2010 at 1:37 AM  

wah that reads so delicious. it's such a simple recipe yet sounds so good. i will definitely try it! (btw i followed you here from weddinbee =)

nellie January 19, 2010 at 9:37 AM  

hi mrs. hc! so glad you shared your personal blog info. i'm loving all your posts! xoxo

Brandi January 19, 2010 at 11:12 AM  

YUM!!! Seriously still can't believe I didn't know your blog before. I'll definitely be here more often now ;)

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