Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Ga Xao Sa Ot

I like Sundays because that’s the day when my Mama would experiment with new recipes and I get to be the “guinea pig.” Well, not because I’m a glutton but because she trusts my judgement, or so she assured me. Doesn’t matter, as I know she won’t poison me. Not intentionally, at least. Teeheehee…

So, last weekend, Mama tried a Vietnamese recipe she obtained from her friend (the lady owns the laundromat in the suburb). Mama tried to stay true to the recipe and did very little improvisation. Well, I haven’t tasted the authentic version but must say I like this dish, although I think Mama should lessen or omit the fish sauce. As a true blue feline, I love fish (canned or fresh) but fish sauce I can do without. However, we can’t call it authentic Vietnamese if it doesn’t have fish sauce in it, right?

It’s hot! hot! hot! Mama exceeds the fiery scale by adding whole bird eye's chili in the dish.

Anyway, here’s the recipe for Ga Xao Sa Ot (Chicken with Lemongrass & Chili)

Ingredients: (serves 4)
450g skinless thigh fillets, cut into bite-size pieces
2 tbsp fish sauce (cut down to half or omit if you don’t fancy this pungent stuff)
1 tsp ground turmeric
2 stalks fresh lemongrass, finely chopped
2 big cloves garlic, minced
4 bird’s eye chilies, minced (Mama substituted this with 2 tsp chili paste and then put in 5 bird’s eye chilies [whole] at the same time as the spring onions)
1-inch piece of fresh ginger, minced
2 shallots, thinly sliced
Additional sea salt to taste
2 to 3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 tbsp brown sugar
2 stalks spring onions, sliced (reserve green part for garnish)
Fresh coriander leaves to garnish

1. Marinate chicken with all ingredients except the oil, spring onions, coriander and sugar. Cover and refrigerate for at least an hour. (Mama marinated this for two hours.)
2. Place a non-stick wok over high heat and add a generous amount of oil to fully coat the bottom. When oil is really hot, sprinkle sugar into the oil and swirl skillet around to make sure the sugar has dissolved.
3. When you no longer see the individual granules of sugar, throw chicken in and make sure each piece touches the skillet. Leave it alone for a while to allow the chicken to caramelize and then toss quickly to let the other side to cook.
4. At this point, you can make some room in the wok for the spring onions to fry (and the whole bird’s eye chilies, if using).
5. When all the pieces of chicken have caramelized to a beautiful golden brown, transfer to a plate and garnish with the fried spring onions.
6. Sprinkle the green part of the spring onions on top and place a generous amount of fresh coriander leaves around the chicken.
7. Serve with plain rice.

Our spring onion bush enjoys the city skyline everyday. 

Our bird eye’s chili – we have a bountiful harvest this season. This type would cost at least $25/kg at the shops.

Our ginger clump - – nothing beats home grown herbs and spices.

Mama serves a vegetable side dish too – it’s stir-fried pumpkin with snowpeas and capsicum. Yummmm….

That's me having a siesta in the garden after a hearty meal. Burp! Errr….excuse me.

Oh, sorry I didn't invite anyone to lunch. It was kinda impromptu. purrr....meow!


Lee said...

Hi Cat, wow! That looks real nice. Though I'm not to sure about pronouncing the name though.
I think two plates might do well with me.
Love your chili plants there....oh ya, we Winter you Summer.
Funny to think Winter in Summer.
Just heard on the radio to expect snow X'mas eve nite.

I love Vietnamese Pho beef noodles.
Askk Mama to get that recipie, when make it send me telegram.
Have fun, Cat, woof, woof, Cat.
ps, not too sure I like that cat at top of your blog, no hair!!!

Cat-from-Sydney said...

Uncle Lee,
How to telegram beef noodle soup? It's OK, we'll think of something. Maybe a Vietnamese lady wearing the high-slit traditional costume (I don't know the name of it...) will turn up on your doorstep making home delivery of the soup? Would you like that? *wink wink* purrr....meow!

Pi Bani said...

I tak tahan makan cili api lah. My tongue may be able to tahan, but my perut cannot!

Cat-from-Sydney said...

Aunty Pi,
Chilies are supposed to trigger the "happy' hormones in you. If you cannot take chili api, we'll heve to leave when we go to Vietnam lor! purrr....meow!

Naz in Norway said...

Whoah! truly truly menggoda :D
I would have made this if I were back in Norway. Now that I'm in Msia, I just use remote control. If you are ever in Penang, head for Indochina at Queensbay Mall.
Ah! if you are ever in the north, call me and I'll take you there :D

Packing my bags now. Sun, sea, lots of rest and good food.

Unknown said...

..sounds nice, cat..this old coot might just try it and surprised the missus..but tht fish sauce? its always part of the ingredients for Thai, Vietnamese or Loas..fries or soups..its an acquired taste which pakmat has acquired..but being too saltish, has lessened its usage..happy holidays..

Cat-from-Sydney said...

Aunty Naz,
Ours was home cooked using home grown ingredients. Can't beat that. I wonder if chili plants can grow in cold Moloy? Mama would be miserable if she can't plant her own chili, or basil, or coriander, or mint, or lemongrass, or ginger. Queensbay Mall sounds swell. purrr....meow!

Cat-from-Sydney said...

PakMat dear,
Yeah, surprise the missus once in a while. We wonder if we can replace the fish sauce with budu. What do you think? Try out the recipe and tell us what you think, OK? purrr....meow!

Ravenous Couple said...

this looks great! love that you used some of your own veggies.

Anonymous said...

Wow! Yum yum! Am salivating all over just by reading the recipe :D

Actually if you add some fresh mint leaves pun sedap I think.

mamasita said...

Cat..please tell your mama that she has done so well in keeping Malaysia at home in her veggie pots!
Cilli padi?? O my goodness! So gemuk2!

Cat-from-Sydney said...

Ravenous Couple,
Welcome to my world!
Swung by at your blog just now. My! My! My! It's making me ravenous. Everything looks yummy! My Mama said, I quote: "Can we swap recipes?" purrr....meow!

Cat-from-Sydney said...

Andrea luv,
Mama tried to stay true to the recipe. That's why though we have a healthy pot of mint growing in the garden, she didn't use them. We reserve those for our laksa or asam pedas days.
Ms Kate, stop salivating. Not good for your...ehem...street cred, you know? purrr....meow!

Cat-from-Sydney said...

Mamasita dear,
You haven't seen her broccoli and cauliflower. They are OBESE! If you could use that word to describe vegetables. hehehehe... purrr....meow!

~CovertOperations78~ said...

Wow, Kitties! Despite having settled in Australia, you really are Asians at heart. You can really take hot food! Keisha and her children Shadow and Mini-Me used to be able to take spicy food. Keisha was a canteen cat. I found her scavenging in the Shah Alam Court canteen, heavily pregnant and unable to fend for herself. She gave birth in my house and had the strangest habit of bringing home human food, including spicy food like KFC Hot and Spicy drumsticks (which a generous neighbour gave her!) to feed her kittens with. It scared the hell out of me. I didn't want them falling sick. Another friend has since adopted Keisha and after 2 years of kibbles and wet food, Keisha has lost her penchant for spicy food.

Cat-from-Sydney said...

Australia is, after all, in Asia. Geographically. It's really a melting pot now and Asian food is really becoming popular. Test case: a very funny Telstra (telco) TV adv that features names of Thai restaurant. And, there is a suburb in Sydney with those very names. If u ever come visit us, we can you to plenty Malaysian restaurants too. Sydney is also blessed with fertile soil and heaps of sunshine that makes planting chilies and lemongrass possible too. purrr....meow!

Cheqna said...

Should try your mama's recipe..that looks yummy..but to replace fish sauce with budu?

...budu sedap dgn ikan singgang wehhh..(alamak kecur liur pulak..hehehe...)

n I'm so jealous with ur mama's mini garden, i cant even make the cactuses that i bought last long...hehehe..


Cat-from-Sydney said...

I "help" her with the fertilizer too! It's organic. purrr....meow!