One of the most typical symbols of Vietnamese culinary culture is a tray of traditional foods during Tet festival, first, to memorize our ancestors, and second, to attend the family reunion, enhance the family’s spirit specifically. And on that tray of traditional foods, there should be the two most basic ingredients of the wet rice civilization: chicken and sticky rice. Chef Khau Van Duong (Rex Hotel, one of the oldest hotels in Ho Chi Minh City) created a unique and creative dish that combines those two ingredients: chicken stuffed with five-color sticky rice. The most special aspect of this dish is that the chicken is not only stuffed with many ingredients to obtain a more flavorful taste but also coated on the outside with malt, an ingredient made from the malted barley of Quang Ngai Province to not only bring about a silky well-browned crust and a smoky texture but also keep the heat inside the chicken. By using this technique, when the dish is served, a crispy sound of the crackling malt is created whenever you use your chopsticks to split out the chicken meat. Moreover, the sticky rice has a gorgeous color and each ingredient has a special fragrance: the pungency of the pandan leaves, the mealiness of the green beans and the charming scent of the magenta leaves. The texture of this dish also modifies the natural Five Element Theory. Within these five different types of sticky rice, the white-color one is the most unique because it perfectly has the aroma of glutinous rice, which is very fragrant and chewy. This is not only a dish, but it tells us the story of family reunion and reveals a humane tradition of Vietnam as well.
STUFFED CHICKEN WITH FIVE-COLOR STICKY RICEPrint This
- INGREDIENTS FOR THE CHICKEN
- 4 chicken thighs (0.8 - 1kg or 1
- deboned chicken, about 1.2kg)
- 2g salt
- 2g seasoning powder
- 2g ground black pepper
- INGREDIENTS FOR THE STUFFING
- 100g ground lean pork
- 100g pork paste
- 50g chicken liver
- 20g minced shallots
- 50g minced onions
- 20g black fungus soaked to swell,
- cut into shoestrings
- 500ml cooking oil
- 3g seasoning powder
- 5g sugar
- 2g salt
- 2g ground black pepper
- 1g ground white pepper
- 10g malt
- 5ml lime extract
- INGREDIENTS FOR THE FIVE-COLOR STICKY RICE
- 1kg glutinous rice
- 50g ground “gac” pulp
- 70g unshelled mung beans
- 1.2 liters of water
- 200g pandan leaves
- 400g grated coconut flesh
- 200g magenta leaves
- 10g salt
- 150g sugar
- 1 liter of warm water
Preparation: Clean and dry the chicken thighs thoroughly, debone them, then remove some of their meat, and marinate them with 2g ground pepper, 2g seasoning powder and 2g salt. Boil 200g magenta leaves with 1 liter of water and 5g salt; reduce the heat and continue to boil for 30 minutes until it turns dark purple; strain it to attain 200ml magenta leaves extract. Finely chop 200g pandan leaves, put them in a blender, add 200ml water, and blend them well, strain them to get 200ml pandan leaves extract. Mix 400g flaked coconut flesh with 300ml warm water then squeeze to extract the coconut milk.
Make the stuffing: Put the ground pork, kneaded pork paste, finely choped chicken liver into a big bowl, marinate this mixture with 20g shallots, 50g onions, 20g black fungus, 3g seasoning powder, 5g sugar, 2g salt, 2g ground pepper and 1g ground white pepper, then mix all the ingredients together and knead the mixture until they hold together well.
Stuff and steam the chicken: Put each chicken thigh onto the chopping board, stuff it with the stuffing mixture, roll it over and use the cling film to wrap each roll tightly then steam them on medium heat for about 30 to 40 minutes. Prick the chicken with a toothpick, if the liquid extracted is transparently yellow, the chicken is cooked. If you use a whole chicken, stuff the mixture into the body cavity, sew it thoroughly and steam it (the steaming time depends on the size of the chicken). Take out the chicken thighs and leave to cool.
Soak the glutinous rice: Wash the sticky rice thoroughly and divide it into five equal portions, 200g each. Add 200ml warm magenta leaves extract into a portion and soak it in 3 hours. Add 200ml pandan leaves extract into another portion and soak it in 3 hours. Mix 70g unshelled mung beans with a portion of sticky rice then soak it in warm water for 3 hours. Soak the two remaining portions in warm water for 3 hours.
Steam the sticky rice: Take the sticky rice out and drain it, add 1g salt into each portion. Take out the seeds from the Gac pulp then grind it thoroughly. Mix one portion of sticky rice with 50g Gac pulp to obtain a red mixture, keep the remaining portion for the white-colored part of the sticky rice. Fill a large steamer a third full of water, and boil it on high heat. There must be a steamer tray with small holes so that the sticky rice won’t fall into the water. Separately put the five portions of sticky rice into the steamer to avoid the color from spreading. Close the lid and cook them on high heat until they evaporate evenly. After 15 minutes, remove the lid, if the sticky rice is cooked through, slowly spoon over the coconut milk on each portion of sticky rice, and then gently turn the sticky rice over repeatedly to prevent the colors from spreading. Close the lid and steam them for 20 more minutes. After 20 minutes, remove the lid and turn the rice over again to make sure that the sticky rice has a chewy texture. If the sticky rice is not somewhat dry, spoon over some more coconut milk; if it is soft, sprinkle 30g sugar on each portion and mix it thoroughly, cover the lid again and steam for 5 more minutes until the sugar is completely dissolved. Sprinkle with more sugar to taste. When the sticky rice is cooked, turn off the heat, remove the lid so that the water on the lid won’t fall down onto the rice.
Waterfall fry: Dissolve 10g malt in the extract of 1 lime of medium size, brush this mixture over the chicken skin. Put a pan on the stove, add 500ml cooking oil, wait until the oil is heated through, put the chicken into a big spider, spoon the hot cooking oil all over the chicken until it has a deep golden color. Finally, cut the chicken into bite-size pieces.
Place the chicken on a plate, serve with hot sticky rice.
The chicken should be barely cooked through, deep golden, not too dry or too chewy; the stuffing should stick together in the chicken cavity and have nutty and delicious taste.
The sticky rice should be gummy soft, not too dry or too watery; it should have the aroma of the coconut milk and a gently sweet flavor. Each portion of sticky rice should have a bright and separate color.
It’s better to choose old magenta leaves because they give better color for the extract.
Boil the magenta leaves with a little bit of salt.
If there is too much sticky rice, steam each portion separately.
Spoon over the coconut milk slowly so that the sticky rice won’t be watery
EFFECTS OF THIS DISH
This dish helps tonify Qi and blood, nourish the essence, calm spirit, consolidate sperms, create marrow, enhance the immune system and the body resistance, improve blood circulation, relieve constipation and pain, supply essential amino acids, trace minerals and vitamins, enhance eyesight and create breast milk. This dish is very beneficial for the people with asthenic body syndrome, weakened immune system, neurasthenia, blood deficiency, fatigue and stress, lack of strength, women with irregular menstruation, pregnant women with insufficient breast milk, asthenic body syndrome, children with loss of appetite, malnutrition, people with kidney diseases and very little sperm, erectile dysfunction, backache, weak eyesight, retinal pigment degeneration, decrease in memory power, bone break, osteoporosis, edema, numbness of limbs, dry cough, constipation and diabetes.
KHAU VAN DUONG Rex Hotel Saigon (Ho Chi Minh City) Runner-up in the Southern Regional semifinal round of the Golden Spoon Awards 2013