The Book of 100 Verses for Dishes, written by the lady-in-waiting Dang Thi Bich (maiden name Truong), one of the gentlewomen in the imperial palace of the old days, has been continuously handed down from generation to generation to the present. This book is considered a very important culinary handbook that has ever been written in poetic form. It is a cookbook that contains charming, beautiful, romantic, profound and subtle poems that teach housewives very complex culinary techniques. With such complexity in cooking methods, we should think of the sophisticated ways of giving names to dishes. Usually the names of European dishes contain all the ingredients included, for example, “Sautéed then bruléed lamb with holy basil leaves served with mixed mashed potatoes, garlic and pumpkin sauce”. Meanwhile the way of naming Vietnamese dishes is separated into two types. The most basic way is based on the main ingredients and the cooking techniques, for example, Stew Hock, Grilled Snakehead Fish, etc. The second way is to give a hint of the meaning of the dish, which means giving that dish an absolutely irrelevant name that requires people to guess at the real meaning, for example, Gathering of Phyllocactus or Phoenix Royal Visitation. Nowadays, too complex names are simplified, but chefs still prefer to use meaningful names, especially for dishes on special occasions. The “Wealthy” Chicken is such a dish. It is not only a normal dish to serve but also a greeting to wish for a merry happy new year.
THE “WEALTHY” CHICKENPrint This
- INGREDIENTS FOR THE CHICKEN
- 2 deboned chicken thigh
- quarters (600g)
- 100g pork paste
- 2 chicken sausages
- 100g carrots
- 200g potatoes
- 5g garlic
- 10g shallots
- 10g green peppercorns
- 1g ground black pepper
- 300ml cooking oil
- 100g roasted cashews
- INGREDIENTS FOR THE SAUCE
- 50g peas
- 10g green peppercorns
- 50g onions
- 50g potatoes
- 20g unsalted butter
- 50g mashed tomatoes
- 500ml coconut water
- 50ml fresh milk
- 30ml Sim (Rose myrtle) wine
- 2g salt
Prepare the ingredients for the chicken: Clean the deboned chicken quarters and drain them. Quarter the sausage lengthwise. Cut the carrots into 1cm-thick shoestrings. Peel the potatoes and finely cut them into thin strips. Mince the garlic and shallots. Separate the berries from the stems of the green pepper.
Prepare the ingredients for the sauce: Finely chop the onions. Remove the stems of the green pepper and smash the berries. Peel and dice the potatoes.
Make the fillings and steam the chicken: Marinate the chicken with ground pepper, shallots and garlic to enhance fragrance. Mix the green pepper with pork paste. Spread a marinated chicken thigh on a plate, brush over the pork paste, put the sausage and carrots horizontally on the chicken thigh and roll it. Use a cling film to tightly wrap it so that the fillings won’t spread out when it is steamed. Do the same with the remaining thighs. After that, steam the chicken thighs for 40 minutes. When they are soft enough, pierce through with a toothpick; if the juice that escapes runs clear, they are cooked through. Take them out and set them aside to cool down.
Fry the potatoes and the chicken: Add 300ml cooking oil into a pan, when the oil is heated through, add the potato strips and fry them until they are crispy, take them out and let them drain the oil away. After frying the potatoes, pour the remaining oil into a bowl, only keep a thin layer, add the chicken and sauté them until they are evenly golden.
Make the sauce: Put the butter into a hot pan and leave it to melt, add the onions and stir-fry until they are fragrant, add the tomatoes and continue to stir-fry on low heat for about two minutes then add the Sim wine and cook until the wine is thoroughly reduced. Add the coconut water, potatoes and boil them up, skim off the foam, reduce the heat, cook for ten more minutes until the potatoes are fork-tender. Turn off the heat and transfer the mixture to a blender and grind it thoroughly, then transfer it to a pot. Put the pot on the stove, add the peas and smashed green pepper and cook properly. When the peas are gummy soft, add 2g salt and the fresh milk, stir it constantly, season to taste and turn off the heat.
Cut the chicken into bite-size pieces and place them on a serving plate, spoon over the hot sauce and sprinkle the salted cashew nuts.
Decorate the dish with fried potatoes and small green cilantro leaves, serve with bread.
The chicken should be evenly cooked; the fried potatoes are golden and crispy, the sauce is fragrant and slightly gelatinous and the taste of the dish is naturally sweet and pleasing to your palate.
Trim a little bit lean meat off the chicken thigh so that it is easier to roll.
The thighs can be replaced by breasts but the chicken breast will be drier as it is steamed.
After cutting the potatoes, soak them in water to prevent them from turning dark; therefore, they will have a more beautiful color when fried.
Poach the potatoes in boiling water with a bit of corn starch or tapioca starch before frying will make the potatoes crispier, and tastier, and prevent the oil from penetrating into the potatoes.
EFFECTS OF THIS DISH
This dish is useful for people with asthenia body syndrome, poisoned body syndrome, bacterial infection, for old people and children who have just recovered from sicknesses, loss of appetite, people with high blood pressure, arteriosclerosis, high blood cholesterol, obesity, gout, numbness of limbs, constipation, thirst, high body heat and weak eyesight.
LE VAN BOI Ngoc Linh Restaurant (Gia Lai Province) Runner-up in the Southern regional semifinal round of the Golden Spoon Awards 2013